San Diego Restaurant Week is back! From September 25 through October 2, over 150 participating restaurants around San Diego are offering prix fixe lunch and dinner menus that showcase their signature cuisine. This year, I had the opportunity to preview the SDRW menu at 1500 Ocean, located at the Hotel del Coronado.
1500 Ocean is quite a beautiful restaurant, with sleek and classic décor. We were presented with the SDRW menu, which features a 3-course meal for $50 with some items requiring a surcharge. I also took a look at the regular menu and was happy that all of the items featured for restaurant week are the exact same as the regular menu!
Our meal started out with some nice warm bread and butter – there were regular dinner rolls as well as pumpernickel.
Goat Cheese & Sun-dried Tomato Tart
We were then treated to an amuse bouche, a mini tart with goat cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, and chives in a phyllo dough. I loved this delicate little bite that was full of flavor – a perfect amuse bouche to whet my appetite!
Hamachi Crudo [+$6]
My dinner date chose the Hamachi Crudo for his appetizer. Slices of raw yellowtail, accompanied by black radish, serrano chilis, coconut, and a carrot-tangerine puree. The flavor combination was quite creative, though I felt that it was just a tad heavy and overpowered the delicate hamachi a bit. Still though, the fish was excellent quality, and we both enjoyed this.
Market Oysters [+$6]
I chose the plate of oysters for my appetizer – the selection that day were Kumiai Oysters, which are on the smaller side but with a sweet finish. They were served with a strawberry mignonette, which provided a wonderful acidity to balance out the flavors. I enjoyed these a lot!
Throughout our meal, we were pleasantly surprised by a few extra items that the kitchen sent out for us to try! After our appetizers, we were treated to a “bonus” course of some of the restaurant’s favorite items.
Dungeness Crab & Squid Ink Tonarelli [+$6]
I actually have a mild crab allergy that I developed when I was 21, but I didn’t have the heart to tell our waiter and send this back. Plus, crab was one of my favorite shellfish… So I had to have a few bites. (Obviously, don’t be like me and give in to temptation if you have a serious allergy to anything!) The squid ink pasta was cooked to a nice al dente and topped with Dungeness crab, roasted red pepper, asparagus, and scallions, and served with a yellow Thai coconut curry. I was initially skeptical about the pairing of squid ink and crab with yellow curry, but surprisingly it was quite nice. I’m also happy to report that the few bites of crab that I had (which were delicious, btw!) didn’t cause any skin reaction! Hooray :)
Seared Foie Gras [$23]
The other dish that we were treated to was the Seared Foie Gras, one of the restaurant’s signature items (and unfortunately not part of the RW menu). Seared Hudson Valley foie gras is paired with a fig cornbread pudding, greens, pickled onions, onion jam, and macadamia nuts. I loved this dish – the seared foie gras was rich yet not overwhelming, and the fig cornbread pudding was simply amazing. The flavors were really well-balanced – sweetness from the fig, cornbread, and onions, tartness from the pickled onions, bitterness from the greens – all worked so well together with the rich and decadent foie gras. My date, who is very wary of liver, actually raved about this as well which definitely says a lot (even though I was kind of secretly hoping that he wouldn’t like it so that I would get more… hehe).
Now onto the entrees from the RW menu:
Seared Day Boat Scallops
1500 Ocean is not messing around with their scallops – these were jumbo sized, seared lightly and served over a bed of forbidden black rice and accompanied by heirloom carrots, snow peas, Thai basil, and Calamansi (citrus) butter sauce. The scallops were tender and delicate, though a tad on the salty side.
Duo of Duck
The duo of duck features two pieces of seared duck breast and a confit duck leg, served with smoked stone-ground polenta, broccolini, and duck jus. The duck was cooked perfectly – the confit duck leg was pull-apart tender, and the duck breast was seared to a perfect medium. It also wasn’t too gamey yet still flavorful. I also enjoyed the smooth and creamy polenta, but the broccolini was a bit undercooked for my liking (though I tend to prefer my veggies on the soft side).
As part of the RW menu, you can order any of their sides which normally run between $11 and $13 for $9 each. We were again surprised with two of the kitchen’s favorite side dishes:
Blistered Green Beans [+$9]
Blistered green beans prepared with pancetta, chili oil, peanuts, and Thai basil – when we saw this dish, both of us assumed that it would taste similar to Chinese-style string beans, but they actually tasted quite different. The beans were crisp and fresh, and I liked the crispy pancetta.
Pommes Puree [+$9]
Our other side dish was the Pommes Puree, aka potato mousseline, aka mashed potatoes but with even more butter. The puree was super smooth and quite buttery, but the roasted tomatoes, basil, and pine nuts definitely helped to cut the richness and complemented the flavors very nicely.
Finally, it was time for dessert! I was already quite full at this point, but like my date said, there is always room for dessert…
The chocolate stout torte is one of the restaurant’s signature desserts, and I was glad that they offered it on the RW menu. A smooth and fluffy chocolate cake is topped with Mexican hot chocolate sauce and accompanied by coffee meringue, butterscotch mousse, pretzel dust, and buttermilk ice cream. I loved everything about this dessert except for the pretzel dust – it felt a bit out of place, and the flavors didn’t match the rest of the components. However, everything else was decadent and delicious!
Pistachio Crème Brûlée
The other dessert that we chose off of the RW menu was the pistachio crème brûlée, which was served with a dried cherry and pistachio shortbread cookie. The crème brûlée itself was good though not super memorable, but I really loved that shortbread cookie! I never knew that cherry plus pistachio was such a winning combination – well, now I’m enlightened.
We were actually presented with one more dessert…
Spring Stone Fruit & Goat Cheese Panna Cotta [$14]
This one is available on the regular menu only. The dessert was beautifully plated – goat cheese panna cotta, served with blackberry gelée, plum mousse, white peach champagne sorbet, and a blackberry gastrique sauce. Though the goat cheese flavor in the panna cotta was quite strong when I ate it by itself, when combined with the rest of the components, it worked really nicely. Even though we were quite full, we still polished this off completely.
Overall, we had a wonderful meal at 1500 Ocean. In addition to the SDRW sneak peek, the restaurant also gave us a generous sampling of many of their specialties. I felt that their dishes had a creative and unique touch and were definitely very flavorful and delicious. If you’re still looking for a place to check out during Restaurant Week, I highly recommend 1500 Ocean! As a reminder, Restaurant Week runs September 25 through October 2 – you can see the full list of participating restaurants here.
Disclaimer: I was invited to 1500 Ocean for a preview of their Restaurant Week menu, and my meal was complimentary. I was not otherwise compensated for this post, and all opinions and content are my own.
(Inside Hotel Del Coronado)
1500 Orange Ave, Coronado, CA 92118