Epicurean Adventures

Epicurean Adventures

A constellation of star chefs, communal meals, and wine dinners please palates in La Jolla

Posted on May 1, 2018

With so many updates on the La Jolla dining front lately, it can be tough to keep track. We’ve rounded up some of the exciting culinary developments on the scene in the jewel by the sea.

Star Chef

Prep Kitchen has appointed Chef Joseph Elevado as Chief Culinary Officer to oversee its entire culinary team. “We will be creating dishes that complement the restaurants’ approachable style while integrating fun, innovative techniques and flavors,” explains Elevado, who was a key creator as an executive chef in the Nobu empire under Chef Nobu Matsuhisa. He has earned multiple Forbes Five Star, AAA Five Diamond, and Mobil Four and Five Star accolades in his career. Prep Kitchen has locations in La Jolla, Little Italy, Del Mar, and soon a fourth in San Marcos. prepkitchenlajolla.com

Epicurean Adventures

Chef Joseph Elevado

Nautilus Neighbor

From the restaurateurs behind Pillbox Tavern in Solana Beach, Nautilus Tavern (6830 La Jolla Boulevard) aims to fill La Jolla’s niche for an elevated neighborhood bar and grill with cuisine including an array of sandwiches and wings smothered in house-made sauces. With two spacious patios and a coastal chic environment, the eatery offers forward-thinking cocktails and scratch-made favorites to delight discerning palates. 858.750.2056, nautilustavern.com

Epicurean Adventures

Nautilus Tavern

All-Star Lineup 

The Lodge at Torrey Pines’ Executive Chef Jeff Jackson is putting a new spin on A.R. Valentien’s annual Artisan Table series. While the focus remains on sharing a communal meal of seasonal bounty, each dinner features a guest chef, who will work with The Lodge’s culinary team to craft a unique menu or explore a culinary theme. Each will be an intimate 40-person gathering, starting with a meet-and-greet reception followed by dinner with wine pairings. The all-star chef lineup includes Timothy Kolanko (May 3), Drew Deckman (June 7), Jason McLeod (July 12), Shihomi Borillo and Andrew Spurgin (August 9), and Paul Arias (September 13). Kolanko and Deckman will break from their usual fare. Kolanko, an alumnus of The Lodge’s culinary team, will develop a menu that reflects his recent visit to Malaysia and India. Deckman and Jackson’s collaboration will feature a French menu that pays tribute to the late Paul Bocuse, a mentor and friend to both. McLeod’s menu will have a surf and turf theme borrowing from his Little Italy restaurants, Ironside Fish & Oyster, and Born and Raised. Spurgin and Borillo will feature Japanese fare, and every course of Arias’ menu will include seafood. 858.453.4420, lodgetorreypines.com/event-calendar

Epicurean Adventures

A.R. Valentien

Celebrate the Sea

The Marine Room ushers in the season with two special dining experiences. The “Le Voyage” Table Tasting Dinner, available Wednesday and Thursday evenings, takes diners on a global culinary journey with a six-course, prix fixe tasting menu designed by Executive Chef Bernard Guillas and Chef de Cuisine Ron Oliver. The menu showcases signature dishes including Ocean Trilogy (Lobster Medallion, Ahi Tuna Tartare, Hiramasa Sashimi), Maine Diver Scallop and Hudson Valley Foie, Cervena Farm Elk Medallion, and a “Share the Love” dessert quintet. The monthly evolution of the Le Voyage menu will feature unique ingredients provided by nature’s local bounty. 

The restaurant also welcomes back its high tide season, offering opportunities to witness eye-level waves crashing against the protected floor-to-ceiling windows. High Tide Dinners are set to take place starting in late May and will continue on select dates through early October. 858.459.7222, marineroom.com 

Divine Wine

La Valencia’s monthly wine dinner series is in full swing at The Med. Each event begins with a chef-hosted reception followed by a five-course dinner with wine pairings. Showcasing La V’s culinary team, led by Chef Alex Emery, the menus infuse classic cooking styles with modern sensibilities to bring out the best of seasonal ingredients, sustainable seafood and meats, and handcrafted cheeses and charcuterie. Upcoming dinners feature Cakebread Cellars (May 10), Frank Family (June 14), Pahlmeyer (July 12), Veuve Clicquot (August 9), Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars (September 13), Grgich Hills (October 11), and Moet & Chandon (November 8). 858.454.0771

Take Two

For 17 years, noted chef Jean Michel Diot offered La Jolla diners a deliciously upscale dining experience at Tapenade. His new venture, Bistro Du Marché, works closely with farmers to incorporate the finest local flavors for the restaurant. Led by Chef Alain Delahaye, Bistro du Marché infuses quality ingredients and rigorous French technique into every dish, emphasizing the blending of haute gastronomic expertise, seasonality, and the traditional “cuisine de terroir” found in bistros in France. 858.551.7500, bistrodumarche.net

True Food

Westfield UTC’s True Food Kitchen has debuted its all-new spring seasonal menu, available through July 10. The restaurant, established with the help of renowned physician, Dr. Andrew Weil, focuses on anti-inflammatory cuisine to avoid and counteract chronic inflammation. New menu highlights include Spring Asparagus Toast, Miso Glazed Eggplant, and a Strawberry & Rhubarb Crisp. In the cocktail department, consider the Basil Collins (lemon-infused vodka, cucumber, basil) or the Farmers Market Sangria (organic white wine, spiced brandy, lime, pineapple), and for non-alcoholic sips, the Sparkling Honeydew (honeydew, ginger honey, lime). truefoodkitchen.com

Epicurean Adventures

True Food Kitchen

Thai On The Way

Nearly 33 years after establishing its original location on India Street in Mission Hills, Saffron Thai is opening a second location next month at 1055 Torrey Pines Road. A longtime La Jolla resident, Yu is excited to open a new restaurant in her neighborhood. “I’m thrilled to expand Saffron to La Jolla,” says founder Su-Mei Yu. “Customers have been asking me for years to add more locations, but I haven’t found the right opportunity until now.” 

The expansion comes just over a year after Yu joined forces with Karina’s Group (Karina’s Mexican Seafood, Savoie Italian Eatery, Karina’s Ceviches & More). The space, which previously housed Chipotle, will undergo a facelift to reflect the fresh look of the recently remodeled location on India Street. Food and drink offerings will include Yu’s famous salad rolls, Thai grilled chicken, stir-fried noodles, curries, soups, salads, and new additions such as healthy Thai tacos and curry wraps. saffronthai.com 

Epicurean Adventures

Saffron Thai