Hi gang! So for this week I wanted to share with you a recent trip to another fine dining restaurant. This time our stop is in Little Italy in beautiful downtown San Diego. Let me tell you that I’ve been really excited for this one because I’m a huge fan of the TV show Top Chef on Bravo and when Richard Blais, winner of Top Chef All-Stars opened Juniper & Ivy in my home town, you know I had to try his food!
These again were shot with my Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge. First off I have to apologize in that some of the food dishes I’m going to speak about I totally forgot to take pictures of (I know…shame on me), but they were so good that I had to include them in my restaurant review.
So let’s begin…below was the nicest tasting bottle of wine we got that evening. It was a nice Malbec but a bit pricey which you’ll see is a common trend at this restaurant. I believe we paid around $75 for this bottle. It was definitely good but I may go with a mixed drink next time around.
Now on to the food! So let’s start with the Raw section of their menu. The first dish is the Halibut Ceviche which is comprised of pickled jalapeño, sesame seeds, and avocado puree. If you’re a fan of ceviche, I think you’ll really enjoy this. Definitely restaurant quality ceviche.
Next on the tasting menu was the Fanny Bay Oysters. I’m a huge fan of oysters and these did not disappoint. Served with kimchi, cocktail pearls, and a red wine mignonette on top of fresh oysters made for a tasty dish. I’ll be totally honest though, I would have been just as happy to have oysters and mignonette aloneAre any of you out there fans of poke or tartare? If so, then I think Ahi Tuna Tartare is a must try for you. This one was made up of plum, forno beets, ginger vin, and elephant garlic chips. Very very fresh fish was used in making this dish (which they should be) which you can taste the quality within the first bite. If you’re not a fan of fish or raw things though this dish may not be for you.The next section which I wanted to talk about was the Snacks Section. Here I did the bone-head move of enjoying my time with my friends instead of taking pics 😉 Seriously though these dishes were so good I had to mention them even though I may incur all of your wrath for not having photos.
The first one I’d like to talk about was the Deviled Eggs. These are a must get just because they look and taste like a deviled egg, but I’m not sure there were any eggs in the making of this fine dish. Instead (use your imagination) what was presented was an egg looking dish made with white meringue, yolk mousse, and mustard see caviar. This dish was the most fun to discuss at the table!
The second “snack” was the Beef Tongue Quesadilla. Made with chato’s pico, pinto beans, black garlic, and of course beef tongue this dish was surprisingly good! I’ve had beef tongue before and this was the best that I’ve ever had. If you’re not a foodie then you may have a hard time with the thought of eating tongue, but if you didn’t know what it’s made out of you would enjoy eating this dish
So now let’s discuss the “Small” Plates. The first small plate was the Baja Papaya. This dish was papaya served with house prosciutto, aged balsamic, and delicious olive oil. This was really good and may change the way I eat papaya from now on.
This next dish was probably one of the biggest hits at our table…The Almond Wood Grilled Carrots. This is actually the dish that more people order at the restaurant. I can see why too. The pickled apricot puree, grilled peanut oil, and jalapeño chimichurri served with the carrots made for an amazing tasting dish! At first I was like they’re just carrots, but then I tasted them and can honestly say “Order this dish!!!”Finally for our main dish and what the menu calls a “Plate” was the Bone in Prime Ribeye. This was a really great tasting steak, but didn’t really taste like magic until you pour that jus over it. I don’t know what it was made out of, but it really made the dish for me. Oh before I forget this dish was cast iron seared served with austin’s A2, Sea H2O potatoes, and pickled onion rings. Great tasting dish, but I can’t say that it’s the best steak I’ve ever eaten and at $53 a plate I kind of wanted to be wowed more
Finally we can get to my favorite portions of our meal which are the desserts or what they refer to as “Last Chance”. We had someone with us that had dietary restrictions so the first dish pictured was just a scoop of raspberry sorbet. Again it was good, but expensive in that it was $9 for that
For this next one was the Yodel which is devil’s cake, white chocolate, hazelnut brittle, and hot chocolate. This was really good. Unfortunately I can’t say too much more about it because I only had a bite, but I’m definitely going to get it next timeFinally for our last dish is the Pretzel. I know you’re thinking I got the wrong dessert, but remember, this is Richard Blais, and everything is never what it seems. This “pretzel” was made with butterscotch, dark chocolate ice cream, pecans, and some kind of toast underneath. This one was really tasty although I’ll probably go for the Yodel next time I visitSo that’s it my friends! Overall it’s a great experience at Juniper & Ivy. It’s a little expensive in my opinion for what you get, but when you include the great service, the ambience/vibe of the place I can say that I had a great time and will definitely be back.
Oh yeah…one more picture. Chef Blais was kind enough to sit and chat with us which made my time there all worth it!