By Dave Schwab
If your taste runs towards tapas, especially those with a Southern flair, then the new La Jolla restaurant, Aquamoree, is your place.
And the new restaurant’s subterranean space at 1250 Prospect St. is where Pasquale on Prospect used to be.
Owned and operated by mother-son duo Sheila and Brandon Fortune, the pair described their restaurant’s cuisine, billed as “provocative,” as the “South meets California.”
“It’s come out West,” said Brandon of the cuisine he and his mother have brought from Atlanta and adapted for local palates. “We’ve taken some of our Southern menu favorites, and with his (Brandon’s) California culinary skills now, we just kind of put a little twist on things and made it very creative,” said Sheila.
A glance at Aquåmoree’s menu reveals the hybridized cuisine featuring shrimp corn dogs, designer pizzas, grits, truffled lobster, crab cakes and scalloped shrimp, all moderately priced.
“We’re not trying to compete with any of the fine dining establishments,” said Sheila. “But I think you’ll find the ingredients are on a par with some of the best restaurants you’ll eat at.”
Brandon’s just trying to be the new kid on the block and stick to what’s near and dear to his heart: the South.
“I just want to surround myself with the food and share that with the rest of the world,” he said.
Sheila said Aquamoree’s tapas are southern, not Spanish.
The pair talked tapas 101: “It’s just a small plate, a smaller portion, more European,” said Sheila.
“It’s an elegant appetizer,” said Brandon, adding he tries to take a three- or four-item entrée and shrink it down to a smaller-portion. As an example, he’ll combine meatloaf with mashed potatoes, green beans and ketchup to make a really unique dish.
The restaurant is also available for catering private parties.
IF YOU GO
• Address: 1250 Prospect St
• The Vibe: New Orleans feel
• Signature Dish: Papa's Catfish
• Hours: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily
• Web: www.aquamoree.com