Surf and turf is served in style at Pacific Beach’s JRDN
By Kelley Carlson
Near the Crystal Pier is a picturesque place where guests can sip on sunset-hued Chili Mango Margaritas while watching the sun descend beyond the horizon from the Sunset Patio.
JRDN (pronounced “Jordan,” in honor of the owner’s father and son) is a contemporary steak and seafood restaurant in the Tower 23 Hotel.
By day, it’s California casual — servers wear T-shirts emblazoned with the establishment’s logos, as customers nosh on salads, sandwiches and brunch menu items such as the Chicken and Biscuit and the Wild Mushroom and Potato Skillet. As dusk approaches, the waitstaff dons button-down shirts and the overall vibe becomes “West Coast hip,” as lounge/jazz music plays in the background.
In the bar/lounge, patrons enjoy bites and small plates, while glancing at scores from the day’s sporting events.
In the dining room (only open for dinner seating), a 70-foot-long “wave wall” changes colors, morphing from purples to blues to reds. Private events are held in the elegant Wine Room, which is accented in teak wood and highlighted by a 1,000-bottle wine wall. The front and Sunset patios are coveted for their ocean views. Those celebrating special occasions are seated at the VIP table (aka Table 401) where a crackling fire encourages romantic sparks during a dramatic sunset.
The California cuisine-oriented menu contains a variety of offerings. “The staff is very educated — they can give a menu tour from start to finish,” Executive Chef David Warner said. The list is occasionally changing, as Warner incorporates seasonal ingredients into the mix. “At the peak of a (growing) season is where we shine,” he said. “We’re harnessing the potential of ingredients.”
Right now, that would involve dishes like the Pumpkin Soup, sprinkled with pumpkin seeds and swirled with pumpkin seed oil and truffle butter in the middle. It’s served with crostini spread with goat cheese, swiss chard and garlic.
JRDN also works with local vendors to obtain seafood. It has a raw bar with selections such as Hamachi Sashimi, Alaskan King Crab and Oysters on the Half. Its most popular item is the Spanish-style Steamed Mussels in a broth of chorizo, garlic, chardonnay and herb butter. Customers receive a basket of baguettes for dipping, each slice contains melted butter, garlic, lemon zest and parsley.
There’s also a Pure Sizzle portion to the menu, highlighting entrees such as the Warm Potato and Burrata Salad that includes persimmon slices, garlic and a mound of burrata over greens; and the Pan Seared Striped Bass with a side of sweet potato gnocchi, both decorated with a foamy citrus veloute.
Another dish is the Cider Glazed Pork Belly (a favorite of Warner’s) featuring “melt-in-your-mouth” pork with a crispy skin and polenta. “We put the time in to prepare it, and it’s so rewarding,” Warner said. “It’s pure satisfaction.”
Vegetarians might opt for the JRDN Salad, in which they choose a type of green, a sauce and five toppings.
Meat lovers might lean toward Burning Up – a choice cut of steak, plus two sides, a “rub,” and sauce or “Chef’s Thunder” (caramelized sweet onions, blue cheese and aged balsamic).
As for desserts, patrons can look forward to sweets like the Bourbon Walnut Tart with brown sugar and bourbon ice cream, orange compote and marbled chocolate.
As Pacific Beach is notorious for its parking challenges, visitors may want to take advantage of valet parking, which is free for three hours with validation from the restaurant.
Address: 723 Felspar St., Pacific Beach
Phone: (858) 270-5736
The Vibe: Upscale casual, intimate
Signature Dish: Steamed Mussels
Open Since: 2005
Patio Seating: Yes
Happy Hour: 4-7 p.m. Monday-Friday; 7-10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
Lunch: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Friday
Dinner: 5-9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 5-9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday
Brunch: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
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: JRDN’s Sweet Potato Gnocchi
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Short URL: http://www.lajollalight.com/?p=118023