Juniper and Ivy, San Diego
February 23, 2016
Juniper and Ivy opened two years ago between Ivy and Juniper Streets in San Diego’s Little Italy. It features “Refined American Food with Left Coast Edge” in a high-energy ambiance. Linda and I went for dinner on February 8, 2016.
We did not get lost en route and so arrived early for our reservation. They installed us in comfortable seats in the bar area. We had already enjoyed glasses of Mumm Napa while watching the sunset over the Pacific Ocean from the balcony of our room at the Hotel del Coronado, so, for our wait I ordered a glass of 2011 Queciabella Mongrana Sangiovese Blend (Tuscany.) Nice.
But we were soon seated in the midst of the dining room. This photo of the view from my seat is a little blurred, which reflects the vibrancy of the ambiance.
You can see the open kitchen along the long side of the room.
We investigated the interesting menu which is divided into squares such as: raw, snacks, pasta, toast etc. After some discussion with our amiable, well-informed server, Rosalba, we made our choices. From the eclectic wine list we chose a bottle of 2012 Gramercy Cellars “L’Idiot du Village” (Columbia Valley) Mourvèdre/Syrah Blend.
This wine had character and went well with the cuisine.
Cheddar Cheese/Chive Gougères arrived.
The first three plates were to share.
Our “Raw” starter was
SHARK SAUCE / TOSTADA
The yellowtail tuna sashimi was good, but the “shark sauce” was spicier than we had anticipated or than what was good for the mild tuna.
Our “Toast” starter was
AHI TUNA TARTARE
“BLT” AIOLI / PICKLED ONION /
POINT LOMA BABY KALE
This was very good. The tuna was more flavorful and substantial than in the previous course. The aïoli underneath was just right. (I do not know why it was “BLT.”)
Our “Snack” starter was
ACORN SQUASH FRIES
GARAM MASALA /
BLACK GARLIC KETCHUP
We enjoyed this unusual dish. The squash had been roasted, sliced, coated and deep fried.
Linda’s main course was
SHORT RIB RAVIOLI / CREAMED KALE /
ONION SOUBISE / BEEF FAT VINAIGRETTE
The ravioli filled with short rib were contrast to the tender, very nicely seared tuna. Very good combination of flavors. That is a braised parsnip across the middle.
My main course was
BRAISED PORK SHOULDER
O’HENRY SWEET POTATO /
WHITE MISO / BABY BOK CHOY
The substantial chunks of pork shoulder had been braised until they were falling apart, but still had good pork flavor. The white miso sauce underneath went well. The bok choy had been braised enough that it did not add the needed contrasting texture crunch, but the sweet potato chips did.
The mignardises were brownie bites that were not too sweet.
I took these photos of the kitchen from the bar area on the mezzanine in front as we were leaving.
And here is Linda coming out of the front door.
We had an enjoyable meal. The cuisine was always interesting and mostly quite successful. The service was very good and the pace rapid. The noise level was moderately high, but not conversation-limiting.