If you were able to secure reservations this week for San Diego Restaurant Week, mark your calendars for our second one June 22 – June 27, 2008. Also, American Express is offering a one-week extensionto quite a few SDRW restaurants from February 3 through 8, 2008.
We geared up for dinner at 1500 Ocean at Hotel del Coronado. Originally, our reservation was at 7:15pm and then I was able to change it to 6:15pm (I made our reservations through OpenTable.com) so we (I) wouldn’t be starving when dinner time came around. Because we left early to stop by House of Blues to get tickets for Dave Atell (which is all sold out), we ended up at Hotel Del pretty early (like, 20 minutes early). We checked in just to let them know we were there and they ended up seating us right away. 1500 Ocean is one of those places that will call you to confirm your reservation and if you miss their call and don’t call back you risk losing your spot. I have mixed feelings about this, but since I’ve never lost a reservation and I like getting that confirmation, I guess I like the practice.
You’ll see no pictures here from our meal because I feel way too silly bringing out my camera at such a fancy place. I do wish I had gotten some pictures of the silly O.C.-like women next to us who smelled like cigarettes and talked about the blonde’s date in the bathroom. I also noticed there were quite a few younger couple in the restaurant. I suspect SDRW is the only time they will be in 1500 Ocean. I’m not even sure when we’ll go back… not because of the food, just because of the price. Appetizers are all over $10 and the entrees range between $30 and $40. Let me just say that $40 for the 3-course meal was a bargain. And, while they have an extensive wine list, it’s also pretty pricey. T opted for the $25 wine pairing, since a single glass of red wine would have been at least $18 anyway. I had iced tea. I couldn’t bear spending $14 on a glass of white wine.
The decor is nice and elegant, but not as stuffy as I expected. Polished wood beams span the ceiling and it’s pretty cozy. We started with the bread basket that included tiny baguettes (very hard and crusty, yet good) and round little biscuit dollops. Those were so good, I’m amazed I was able to resist scarfing them all down. The butter is served (cold) with lovely flakes of black sea salt. The service, from the time we sat down to the time we left, was absolutely delightful.
I chose the honey and lime cured yellowtail and T had the celery root soup. The soup came piping hot with mushroom garnish and a swirl of the chive oil – rich but not too heavy and silky smooth. The yellowtail came out looking so beautiful I really do wish I had taken a picture. Three pieces of yellowtail, each rolled and topped with julienned jicama (and maybe radish) with an artistic line of avocado mousse on the plate. The yellowtail had the slightest hint of the honey and lime, but was really just meltingly soft and fresh. I saw a plate of the burrata and beet go by and it also looked tasty.
For dinner, T chose the flat iron steak and I had the seared diver scallops. I debated quite hard on the duck confit, but I know how much T loves scallops and I figured the duck would be lovely and perfect anyway. I was curious how well they could do scallops, so I went with it. The steak came medium rare, sliced and arranged over mashed potatoes with hunks of bacon in it. It was meaty and tender and mouth-watering. Really good. The scallops came perfectly seared – golden brown on the outside but buttery soft on the inside. The brussel sprouts and squash puree were good accompaniments, but the almond brown butter is what I was scraping up. I was a pretty happy girl after that plate.
I had heard wonderful things about the chocolate chipotle cake at 1500 Ocean. So, of course, I had to try it. T picked the mango creme brulee, which was nicely bruleed and served in a shallow dish to maximize the cripsy sugar offerings. The rest was more like a subtle mango mousse – silky and creamy but not as decadent as traditional creme brulee. Now, the cake came warm and definitely had a chile kick to it. There was a banana slice in the middle and on top (the top one was bruleed) which was nice, but didn’t really add anything. The caramel ice cream, by itself, was wonderful, but when you ate it after a bite of cake it became the perfect dessert. So, if the chocolate chipotle cake always comes with caramel ice cream, definitely go for it. Otherwise, go get a scoop of something fun from Mootime Creamery and hang out by the fire pits outside.
On the way to our car, we noticed that the new wine/cheese bar, eno, is open. The menu looks a little pricey, but it also looks intriguing and the space looks very fun. It would be worth the drive to check it out and have a fun night.