‘Top Chef’ Richard Blais scores another win with Juniper & Ivy in San Diego

By Kelley Carlson

Just two months after opening, Juniper & Ivy is flourishing. Located in the hot culinary scene of Little Italy, this much-buzzed-about restaurant is serving up “refined American food with Left Coast edge” with many positive reviews.

San Diego Chicken is served with asparagus, pickled pearl onions, morel mushrooms and a chocolate-hazelnut sauce. Photos by Kelley Carlson

The multi-level establishment is often lively and energetic, with an open kitchen and vantage points that overlook the dining areas.

Much of Juniper & Ivy’s success can be attributed to its culinary staff, led by celebrity Executive Chef Richard Blais (winner of Bravo’s “Top Chef: All Stars”) and Chef de Cuisine Jon Sloan.

“Richard is constantly pushing me and our chef team to do our best — we have a lot of talent in the kitchen, spearheaded by a talented chef,” Sloan said.

Their diverse menu changes daily, and in fact, only 20 percent of the offerings from Day 1 remain. “The restaurant is like anything else in life — it’s a constant process, always evolving,” Sloan said.

Starting at 4 p.m., guests can order snacks at the bar such as Our Buttermilk Biscuit, BBQ Abalone, Chicken Oysters and Dungeness Crab Beignet. These can be paired with cocktails created by renowned mixologist Jen Queen, who has concocted specialties such as Beast of Bourbon, with bone marrow bourbon, smoked vermouth and a savory herb cordial; and the Friendship Garden, a blend of gin, jasmine tea, black sesame and lemongrass orgeat with yuzu foam on top.

An hour later, Juniper & Ivy’s menu is blooming with options. There are “small plates” such as Suzie’s Farm Radishes and Slow Roasted Beets, the latter featuring chunks of the golden and red vegetables interspersed with brittle, strawberry slices, feta and lemon verbena.

Juniper & Ivy’s dining room is filled with contemporary décor and stylish furnishings.

Among the “raw” items is the Corvina, composed of small curls of white sea bass that are accented with fennel and topped with pickled celery. For pasta, a kitchen favorite is the Squid Ink Rigatoni. And for the entrée-sized “plates,” choices range from King Salmon to the juicy San Diego Chicken, prepared “coq au vin” style and presented with vegetables such as asparagus, pickled pearl onions and morel mushrooms, all in a swirl of chocolate and hazelnut sauce.

There is also a secret menu that guests can inquire about. Like the rest of the “standard” menu, this, too, changes, but recently, offerings have included the “In-N-Haute” burger, a play on an In-N-Out burger. The patty is created from beef mixed with dry-aged fat, then topped with grilled onions, mustard, animal-style sauce, pickles and served on brioche.

For dessert, the piece de resistance is the Yodel, a hollow tube of dark chocolate filled with devil’s cake and white chocolate pudding that rests on a bed of cake crumbles, hazelnut brittle, freeze-dried strawberries and crunchies. The tube melts as hot chocolate is poured over it. Patrons usually “melt” after tasting it.

Juniper & Ivy

2228 Kettner Blvd., San Diego

(619) 269-9036


The Vibe: Casual, modern, lively

Signature Dishes: Linguini Carbonara, Carne Cruda Asada, Octopus Terrine,
Shaved Asparagus, Garden & Grain, Yodel, San Diego Chicken

Open Since: 2014

Take Out: No

Reservations: Recommended

Patio Seating: Yes

Happy Hour: No

Hours: 4-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday,
4-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday

Hot chocolate sauce is poured over the Yodel Devil Cake.

—-Each week you’ll find a recipe from the featured  ‘On The Menu’ restaurant. This week’s recipe: Juniper & Ivy’s Beet Salad (Click link below)

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Posted by Staff on Apr 30, 2014. Filed under Food, Restaurants. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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