Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Not New, Not L.A., Not Newsworthy. San Diego's Blue Point Coastal Cuisine

Blue Point Coastal Cuisine
565 Fifth Ave.
San Diego, CA

Last weekend, in San Diego for a family birthday party, a few members of aforementioned family got together in the Gas Lamp neighborhood for dinner at Blue Point. Blue Point, as mentioned in the title of this post, is neither new nor very newsworthy. But the food is good, and I have never eaten anything there I have been unhappy with.

Chef Jonathan Hale has cooked at Blue Point since 2001. Born in India and raised in London, Hale started his career in the kitchen after a stint as a waiter and a degree from CIA, NYC. After CIA, he worked as Chef Tournant (swing chef, working whatever station needed) at the Renaissance Restaurant in Aspen, then under Chef Jean-Marie Josselin at A Pacific Cafe in Hawaii. He cooked under Josselin 7 years, then moved to San Diego to helm Blue Point, the first sea food restaurant in the Gas Lamp neighborhood. I find his food to be consistent from dish to dish and visit to visit, something I haven't found elsewhere in that neighborhood.

We started off with a Saturday night round of martinis...regular olives, bleu cheese stuffed olives and one vodka on the rocks. Serving martinis in these OG smallish glasses with a mini-carafe of vodka on the side is thoughtful and pic worthy. Martinis used to be served in small glasses, and I even own some old school martini coupes. I rarely use them, because like everyone else nowadays I am used to martinis as big as my head. Talk about vanity sizing. Finish more than one of these, and you are sure to consider yourself king of the universe.

Smoked salmon and dill amuse-bouche. Served in stainless steel spoons, this was simple and delicious. No complicated recipe, no foam, no test tubes. Just smoked salmon.

We must have been hungry because D and I devoured our oysters before I remembered to take a pic with my new camera. How long will I keep working this with "my new camera" angle? If habits are firmly ingrained, a good long time. I pretended I was new at my job for two years. Two years! Before people finally started laughing at me, then eventually probably just talked behind my back. Not really, my co-workers are awesome. Fanny Bay, Blue Point, Miyagi. Two of each.

Mixed baby green salad with beets and Maytag bleu cheese. This was thoughtfully split for us without asking. We never mind sharing a plate, but this was a little salad perfection and I am glad I didn't have to share. There was the perfect amount of Maytag to get a little tiny bit in every single bite.

Halibut. I was torn about whether or not to have the halibut. I have eaten two amazing life altering halibut this summer, both cooked sous-vide. The first was at the tomato tasting media event at Cafe Pinot, cooked by Chef Kevin Meehan. The second was just last week at BondST, cooked by Chef Brian Redzikowski. Blue Point's halibut was not sous-vide, and therefore it did not also have that creamy succulent texture. It had instead the meatier, flakier mouthfeel and was wonderful crusted with lobster meat and bread crumbs and served with green beans and carrots sitting in a black truffle vinaigrette.

D ordered Chef Hale's self-proclaimed specialty, dayboat scallops. Pan-seared, with goat cheese and portobello ravioli. You can see the ruffled edges of the green ravioli topping the scallops. Both of us would have liked to have seen the scallops cooked a little darker, more of a sear. But it was delicious, I tasted it.

There do not seem to be any blog reviews of Blue Point Coastal Cuisine. However, users at Trip Advisor give them good ratings, as does Yahoo Travel, and our manic friends over at Yelp and the fine contributors at Opentable.

Thanks to J & H for a wonderful dinner, the food was almost as much a treat as your company. H, sorry you got drunk and felt like crap the next day. Hope you're feeling better by now! ;-) (You're fun when you're tipsy!)

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