Happy Friday luvahs and friends! I’ve got another installment of Food Porn Friday coming your way, this time from Richard Blais of Top Chef fame!

Juniper and Ivy

2228 KETTNER BLVD | SAN DIEGO | CALIFORNIA 92101

The Vibe

We’re heading down the Southern California coast to San Diego’s lively Little Italy district to bring you the latest from Richard Blais’ eponymous restaurant Juniper and Ivy. Le hubs and I celebrated our 2year anniversary (first seen HERE) and wanted to pick a spot that was high on everyone’s hit list for food and ambiance. The interior itself is very industrial cool, with exposed beam ceilings, raw concrete walls mixed with rich walnut woods and sleek leather chairs.

Located right next door to the Crack Shack (also owned by Blais), the outskirts of Little Italy is lively, hip, and teeming with beautiful people. You can say that this is definitely an SD hotspot.


BUTTERMILK BISCUIT | OYSTERS & PEARLS

What to Order

I would consider the menu “New American” with hints of Blais’ molecular gastronomy mixed in for kicks. His style reminds me a LOT of Graham Elliot whose former Chicago flagship restaurant is still one of my MOST memorable meals ever (remember this post)? So I was super excited to taste-test Blais’ creations but sadly, the menu MISSED THE MARK on soooooo many dishes guys!

Honestly, the only dish I’d recommend is the buttermilk biscuit with smoked salt and butter (seen above), sorry!


MUSHROOM & CHEESE MADELEINE with SPICED DATE PUREE

What to Skip

I was so disappointed in everything we ordered and here’s why:

FOIE GRAS COOKIE w/ MISO / RHUBARB JAM

These tiny bites can be ordered by the single piece, which we did simply to sample the bite before ordering more. The foie gras cookie was dry and dense. The cookie cracked before I could taste the foie gras so C- for execution.

Amuse Bouche | DEVILED EGGS
CARNE CRUDA ASADA w/ QUAIL EGG / COTIJA / JALAPENO

Both of these dishes were SOOOOOO salty! We took one bite and returned it to the kitchen. The deviled eggs we kept on the table since they were complimentary but I’d return those too if I wanted to be a total bitch, lol.

KAMPACHI | MANGO CURRY SNOW

Any dish with a “snow” description will NOT last through your 9th or 10th foodie shot guys! Once we got to the kampachi it was sitting in a salty mound of cold curry. Epic fail since the flavors couldn’t even connect.

$37 for what you see above. I could get an 8oz petite filet at Mastro’s for this price. Unbelievable.


Know Before You Go

The restaurant is HUGE! There’s a cute bar at the front if you just wanted to stop in for a cocktail before hitting the next spot (which is what I recommend). There is plenty of free street parking as well as valet so beware since the area gets VERY congested with all the great eats nearby.

They DO take reservations so ask for a table in the main dining area AWAY from the expedition kitchen which can get rowdy at times.


The Verdict

Unimpressed. Which makes me sad to say since Richard Blais was and still is one of my favorite Top Chef contenders since we first saw him in 2010. BUT fear not babes, head right next door to Crack Shack instead of Juniper and Ivy, order the chicken oysters, and all shall be forgiven.

Richard Blais, you still da man but check on your Juniper and Ivy chefs! Someone is dropping the ball somewhere and I’m sure it ain’t you!

Have you tried Juniper and Ivy in San Diego? What’d you think?

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