The surf, the sand, the sunsets … and Jake’s Del Mar … such a treat!
By Kelley Carlson
Life’s a beach at Jake’s Del Mar with its sunny, smiling servers. Located just steps from the sand, bordering the north end of Powerhouse Park, Jake’s is “really about the people,” said partner and general manager Perry Ustick. “So many of the guests are friends of ours. We’ve developed great relationships over the years.”
In fact, “the biggest compliment we get is how friendly the staff is,” he said.
The staff also takes time to help the community. Each month, Jake’s sends volunteers to the San Diego Food Bank to sort through food and portion it out for families. And each night, Jake’s offers a Chef’s Special, in which chef Dustin Anselm creates an off-the-menu entree, and a portion of the proceeds is donated to the food bank. So far this year, the restaurant has raised $29,000, Jake’s has a long history with the Del Mar community. A century ago, it was the site of the Stratford Inn Garage; when that building had to be torn down, the wood trusses were saved and incorporated into the current structure, and can be seen overhead by restaurant guests. Artwork depicting Jake’s past and other local scenes are displayed on the walls.
Patrons of the 30-year-old restaurant can view the decor from the inside dining room, which features booths and round tables; the bar; and the deck, which has large windows that open and allow for ocean breezes.
Guests may also sit outdoors — there’s a patio with a retractable awning, heat lamps, and direct access to the beach and park.
Ustick describes the menu at Jake’s as eclectic — preparations range from South Pacific to Mediterranean, basic American to new American. And he emphasized that it’s not strictly a seafood restaurant, which some people mistakenly believe.
Sunday brunch includes dishes such as Lemon Ricotta Pancakes, Hawaiian “Loco Moco” and Vanilla Bean Custard French Toast. Later in the day, there’s Pecan Crusted Sea Bass, All Natural Filet Mignon and Tournedos of Beef Tenderloin, along with appetizers, soups and salads.
Ustick’s favorites include the Mixed Seafood Pot (Maine lobster, scallops, shrimp, fresh fish and saffron tomato broth) and Macadamia Nut Crusted Salmon. For dessert, there’s Kimo’s Original Hula Pie and Mango Raspberry Shortcake, among others.
Kids have their own special menu. They can choose from entrees such as tempura shrimp, hamburger, grilled chicken breast and mac and cheese — and they can color while they wait.
Happy hour is celebrated Monday through Saturday at Jake’s, and bistro items are priced at 40-percent to 50-percent off. Tuesdays, starting at 4 p.m., features appetizers and bottles of wine at a discount, along with $3 local beer specials. As part of its relationship with Duke’s restaurants in Hawaii, Jake’s offers Waikiki Wednesdays at 4 p.m. where patrons can order Duke’s Fish Tacos for $6 and Duke’s Mai Tais for $4.
For regular dining, Ustick said it’s best to make reservations, although guests can often walk in. There is self-seating at the bar.
“Take a walk on the beach, come in for happy hour, get a burger and beer for under $15,” Ustick said. “Or get a nice bottle of wine and have a three-, four-course meal. We’re here for whatever you need.”
Jake’s Del Mar
Address: 1660 Coast Blvd., Del Mar
The Vibe: Beach Casual, Eclectic
Signature Dishes: Crispy Calamari, Pecan Crusted Sea Bass, All Natural Filet Mignon, Tournedos of Beef Tenderloin, Kimo’s Original Hula Pie
Open Since: 1981
Hours: 11:30 a.m. to close Tuesday-Saturday; 10 a.m. to close Sunday; 4 p.m. to close Monday
Patio Seating: Yes
Take Out: No Happy Hour: 4-6 p.m. Monday-Friday; 2:30-4:30 p.m. Saturday
On The Menu Recipe
Each week you’ll find a recipe from the featured restaurant online at lajollalight.com. Just click Get The Recipe at the bottom of the story.
This week: Jake’s Sea Bass with Cous Cous.
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