Juniper and Ivy


Lamb Belly


Ahi Tuna


Buttermilk Biscuit


BBQ Carrots


Yodel


German Chocolate


Carmelized Brioche


Foie Gras Cookies

Was visiting family in San Diego yesterday and finally got to dine at Juniper and Ivy. Took at 5:30 reservation (partially due to the fact that we had a five year old in tow) and the place was fairly packed and booming within a half hour. Service was great, especially with the little one to take into consideration. I was initially concerned with the fact that the food came out rather quickly, but it certainly did not suffer. Highlights were the ahi (which had the seemingly incongruous accompaniments of a short rib ravioli and cream-style kale, but were rather harmonious), the bbq carrots (the jalapeno chutney that dressed them would make an awesome bottled condiment), and that pretty darned perfect buttermilk biscuit. The desserts were all good but very SWEEEET!!! Blais and his pastry team seem to like a fair amount of sugar in your face.

As a long time Top Chef watcher, I was always skeptical of Blais need to push innovation through the competitions, and if it really did produce on-the-ground delicious food. My experiences with modernist food have been from one extreme to the other: really great or puzzlingly disappointing. Blais is the real deal. The whimsy that is inherent on the menu actually results in some tasty food. All of us at the table want to come back and try more stuff on the menu.

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Thanks for the review. This place seems well liked in San Diego and for the most part on this board. Crack shack is pretty good too.

The buzz at Crack Shack next door was palpable! Something good must be going on over there. I’ll try to check it out on my next trip down South.

Crack Shack is great. I really like that place, esp. the soft serve ice cream. Just awesome.

Haven’t been to J&I in over a year but we had dinner there last weekend. We started with cocktails at the bar while we waited for our table and were seated shortly after finishing our drinks. The dinner itself was mostly good to very good and we decided to share everything as tapas for our meal. The noise wasn’t too bad and we were able to have easy conversations with each other and our waitress who was very knowledgeable about the menu and helped us determine the best order for each item to come out of the kitchen

First up, the complimentary gougeres were great, even better than the ones I make, as their green onion and buttermilk additions I think really make these cheesey puffs pop. Next the scorched sweet pea pods with fresh mint and a cotija buttermilk dressing was brilliant. These were sweet sour, bitter, salty, and tangy all at the same time and one of our favorites of the night. 3rd up were the yellowtail mini tostadas; just a fantastic and flavorful bite with great textures. The Stone Crab Toast that we ordered was next up, but unfortunately delivered to the table next to us by accident, so we had to wait a bit without anything on the table. While the kitchen made a new dish, we watched the table next to us immensely enjoying our crab toast (which they were comp’d). When our toasts were finally delivered, we agreed that while it was a pretty good dish (kind of like an open faced Crab Louie), there are other things we would order next time. The fresh made pea pasta with wood grilled shrimp, fresh peas, and a couple of very soft boiled quail eggs was cooked and sauced perfectly. Basically a shrimp carbonara, it was bursting with fresh pea flavor but still deeply rich and delicious. For our sixth tapas we had the grouper with califlower chowder that incorporated mussels and guanciale. This could have been a great dish, but was so over salted that it was a bit unpleasant bordering on inedible. All of these were complimented with a very pleasant and slightly effervescent dry granache blanc rose from Santa Barbara.

Finally the waitress asked for our feedback on all the items we tried and we gave her our favorites (the charred peas and the yellowtail tostadas) and least favorite (the grouper). Then for dessert we shared the Yodel and the fresh Banana Cremme with pineapple ice cream. The yodel was as rich and decadent as ever and the banana dessert delighted my wife. When the bill finally came she explained that the chef had tasted the grouper and concurred that it was entirely too salty and had it removed from the bill. All in all a highly enjoyable meal and we will be back.

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Thanks, great review.

I can’t recall a single wholly negative review about J&I, and your post reinforces that. It is indeed one of San Diego’s finest restaurants.

But: I don’t know how they’ll be able to stay in business without their most avid customer and vocal cheer-person, Honk, in town.

Unfortuantely they might go out of business with 20% of their revenue gone. J&I, Cafe Chloe, Georges and Solare are the four restaurants we will truely miss (and eat now as much as possible before the move)

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When do you leave?

6/26

How would you compare to other soft serve like Sweet Rose? I’ve wanted to try the soft serve but the last two times I’ve eaten at Crack Shack were around 9:30am. Not that I’m against soft serve at 10am.

I’ve never had Sweet Rose soft serve. I think my favorite soft serve in LA is from Mother Moo, Jon & Vinny, or Pitfire – all of which source it from Straus Family Creamery.

The J&I soft serve is a bit different in that, like in typical Blais fashion, it’s not just vanilla or chocolate, but churro, horchata, nutella, smoked vanilla and chocolate mole, etc. The texture is not as smooth or creamy as that from Straus, but if you want to be a little intrepid with your flavors, then J&I offers up a very good and interesting choice. Sort of like the Scoops (in LA) of soft-serve.

The best soft serve I’ve had in recent times was from Victory Garden in NYC, which uses goat milk to make their own soft serve.

Thanks will give it a try next time even at 10am. Would wash down the fries and chicken sandwich pretty well. The Pitfire soft serve is very good.

If you get a chance try Sweet Rose - they rotate 2 flavors very often based on seasonality (one might be a sorbet). They make a very creamy delicious soft serve. One of the flavors is usually fruit based.

Will do.

I do think Sweet Rose makes a very good basic vanilla ice cream.

You’re going to have to learn how to drive like a Masshole.

Driving in LA on a regular basis prepares you for everything traffic wise

Tru Dat

FIFY

We enjoyed a very nice meal at J&I last night. For those who haven’t been, this is a sizable restaurant, with the dining area at a lower level than the bar, which feels a bit like Cucina Urbana. It’s noisy, but the noise is mainly conversation, reflected by the concrete floor, exposed-ventilation system ducting and hard ceiling, and other hard surfaces. The noise didn’t bother us too much, though, because at least the music is in the background and subdued.

Some things on the menu change here, but others are staples; the majority can be shared. We started with two of their “snacks”. First up was smoked sturgeon, which consists of very mild, perfectly smoked fish on soft crackers. Very nice. Then their “stir fry” arancini, which look like spherical tater tots on the outside but are filled with a soft, flavorful interior mix including short rib. These were quite good, especially with the (decent but rather ordinaire) aioli dip.

Next up were two small plates, the BBQ carrots and scallop sausage. There’s a photo of the carrots in the OP on this thread. I liked them but my companion was disappointed. These are very thin young carrots – purple, white, and orange – that have been grilled and sauced and served on a bed of herbal mash. They almost look like asparagus the way they’re laid out on the plate.

The scallop “sausages” are a mix of scallops and other curried ingredients rolled inside a pastry-like “wrapper”. Round and short, they resemble thick sausage slices only in general shape and appearance. They were very good.

Lastly, we had two main plates, which we didn’t share. I had the SoCal chicken plate, which includes two cubes of white meat, a grilled chicken wing, and a delicious dressing topped by a sunny-side-up egg. I thought the chicken was a little plain, especially the wing. This is a good plate if you’re really hungry. My partner enjoyed the snapper, a small portion in a bowl with a thin butter sauce and other ingredients underneath.

For desert, we had the incredible Yodel, a long cylindrical roll described as devils cake, with a hard chocolate upper “crust” and hot chocolate syrup poured over. Not to be missed! There’s a picture of this earlier in this thread too, although “in person” it looks very much darker than in that photo. The little strawberry slices are the perfect accent.

We started with classic Tanqueray martinis while deciding what to order (and allowing a bottle of French Syrah to breathe). The Syrah went well with everything, including the desert, and didn’t break the bank.

Service was good although there were a couple of lapses. A nice meal, and I still recommend J&I in spite of the minor disappointments.

The entrees are the more conventional dishes, I would recommend to order next time 10-12 of the plates from all other parts of the menu (don’t miss the raw fish part and pasta). Recently the sous chef from Georges joined their team and he has some interesting dishes with a japanese spin