Thursday, May 22, 2014

Dish Worth Driving To: Top of the Market San Diego

On a recent trip down to San Diego with The Mr., I redeemed a long-standing invitation from Chef Ivan Flowers and his team to dine at Top of the Market. You see, Chef Ivan and I had become buddies via social media in the past year, yet I had never had the opportunity to make it down to his restaurant on the bay! Knowing the reputation of the restaurant, I couldn't let this invite linger any longer. 

True to it's name, this fine dining eatery sit atop The Fish Market Seafood Restaurant on San Diego Bay. The crisp white linens, nautical fixtures and large windows framing the picturesque setting create the perfect atmosphere for a romantic meal for sure. 

We were first greeted by the restaurant's sommelier, Anne Estrada who poured us a delicious glass of NY Billecart Salmon Brut Reserve. These light bubbles were the perfect pour as we prepared for the feast to come. 

While the sun started to settle in behind the bay we were presented with our first of many courses. I enjoyed a seafood trio that included this stellar Ahi Poke with Sesame Mango Salpicon and Avocado Mousse. I mean seriously, I could eat this all day, every day. 

Up next was one of the most innovative dishes I've seen in a long time. Chef Ivan presented his "Faux Calamari". For those who are afraid of eating the tiny tentacled delicacies, this dish utilizes Roasted Trumpet Mushrooms lightly breaded and fried before being tossed with garlic, lemon, Parmesan and herb. Oh my word these suckers are addictive. 

Knowing that I was a "Scallop Connoisseur", Chef Ivan treated me to a taste of Pan Seared New Bedford Scallops with Asparagus Fritti and Lobster Rose Thermidor Sauce! Since these scallops were fresh from my old stomping grounds I had to post them on Instagram for the folks back home to see! Check it out for yourself here. This course was accompanied by a refreshing glass of 2011 Barat Chablis which was the perfect match for the buttery notes of both the scallops and the mushrooms. 

Next up was a dish that wins the title "Dish Worth Driving To". If there is one thing that I look for in a meal it's dynamic flavor. I love for my bites to have a hint of sweet along with a bit of savory. The Squid Ink Pasta with Pancetta at Top of the Market is exactly that. Fresh Squid Ink Pasta tossed in a chipotle cream with roasted sweet chili apples and tomato confit will seriously knock your socks off. 

Want to feel like you're in the know? This version of the Squid Ink Pasta is NOT on the menu but you can try it out if you ask for Chef Ivan to make it "the way that Kasey likes it"! 

Just when I thought that we had tapped out for the night we learned that we still had two more courses coming our way. 

Our next course was a lovely Thai Snapper Escabeche with Green Curry Quinelle and Black Truffle Caviar. Give me a spoon and a jar of that truffle caviar and I am one happy girl. 

For those of you who know my Mr. you'd know that there was no way he'd get behind that Snapper and some of these other dishes for that matter, so Chef Ivan graciously put together a "Meat and Potatoes" kind of menu just for him! During this course my beloved enjoyed a Roasted Prime Filet Mignon with Piquillo Peppers, Peruvian Potatoes, and a Sherry Herb Demi-Glace. It was so good he even snapped a photo on his own!

Snapper and Filet. That sounds like it would be the final course, right? WRONG! Just when I felt like I needed to un-zip my Lilly dress to let in a little extra room, a stunning Roasted Rack of Lamb arrived to the table. Beautifully presented with Garlic Basil Persillade, Baby Artichoke, and Potato Ragout. This course was paired off with a glass of 2011 Robert Biale Petite Sirah called "Royal Punishers" from Napa Valley.

Is your tummy rumbling yet? If so head on over to Top of the Market's website and book your reservation ASAP! You will not be disappointed! 

Have you dined at Top of the Market? Comment below and let me know what you thought! 

A huge thank you to Chef Ivan Flowers and his team for their hospitality! Can't wait to come back again soon! 

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