Juniper and Ivy in San Diego, Ca is Trendy, Fun and really Fantastic!
When I heard that Chef Richard Blais of Top Chef fame was opening a new hotspot in San Diego, I had to go and moved it to the top of my dining bucket list.
Juniper and Ivy sits on the edge of the Little Italy neighborhood in San Diego. The restaurant is very cool and has an energetic heartbeat all its own. The atmosphere is electric and everyone was enjoying themselves and the food. Some reviews have said the restaurant is noisy, honestly it is, but in a fun way. I knew going in that it wasn’t a quiet and romantic spot and that isn’t what we went for, we wanted fun and fabulous food.
The menu is eclectic, with very innovative and creative dishes. We had a hard time deciding what to eat, so the decision was made that we would eat our way around the menu, sharing every dish. It left us completely stuffed, but yet we wanted more. So join me as we take a trip around a chunk of the menu at Juniper and Ivy.
Dig in… we started with the Heirloom Tomato Tart. Well, actually we started with a glass of wine, that paired perfectly with our first dishes. The crunchy tart shell was filled with a mozzarella mouse and creamy basil topped with these tiny heirloom tomatoes. We are off to a great fresh start.
Next up, the Buttermilk Biscuit topped with a pat of smoked butter and salt. The biscuit was flaky and once that butter seeped into the crevices, it was perfect. Whew, we take a breath and a few sips of wine and here comes the next dish.
Carne Cruda Asada toast….this was brought to the table on a rustic wood plank and wow, we couldn’t wait to dig in. The bread was the base for the chopped meat, seasoned with jalapeno and cotija cheese. Topping the dish was perfectly cooked quail eggs, amazing. The flavors were intense and it was seasoned so well, there wasn’t anything missing in each and every juicy bite.
How unique is a dish called the Donut Peach, well unique it was and so great! This peach was grilled and served with a smoky burrata cheese. On the side was wild rocket greens tossed with an ice wine dressing and topped with blood walnuts. I could eat this every day.
Squash Blossom Rellano was next to the table. Also served on a rustic wood plate, these squash blossoms were filled with a creamy white cheddar cheese, dipped into a light tempura batter and fried. Served underneath the blossoms was a poblano tomatillo sauce, can I lick the plate clean? Please!
This was our main dinner I guess you could say, Corn Agnolotti. The housemade pasta was cooked al dente, then filled with a corn puree, sitting over a nice broth served with fresh corn and mushrooms. It was again another dish that was seasoned so well.
At this point, we are pretty well filled to the brim, but how you can have an amazing meal and not finish with dessert? So here goes…..
Isn’t it just beautiful? This plate had it all, panna cotta, a cool sorbet, a sauce, cookie and crunchy coconut. Although, it looks a bit heavy, it really wasn’t. The dish was light and refreshing, a great end to a fabulous meal. We didn’t even make a dent in the menu, so we have to go back.
The servers were all having fun, all were so friendly and helpful. Our server Kate explained each dish so well down to the last detail and flavors. You just know she has tasted it and is educated in each dish, it’s unique seasonings and preparation. She was also helpful in recommending the wines that we would enjoy.
Well done Chef Richard Blais and Juniper and Ivy. We can’t wait to take our next trip around the menu.
With summer here, if you find yourself in the San Diego area, really try and get a reservation and experience the restaurant for yourselves, I think you will love it. There is some street parking if you can find it, just watch the signs for parking times. But for the very reasonable price of $5 plus gratuity, they will gladly valet park your car.
Here are a few shots of the interior of the restaurant.