Restaurant Week Preview: Island Prime / San Diego, CA
Last week I was invited by McFarlane Productions to visit 1 of 7 San Diego area restaurants for a sneak peek at an upcoming menu made especially for San Diego Restaurant Week. San Diego Restaurant Week is in it’s sixth year and is held twice during the year to highlight and showcase the city as a premier dining destination. Over 180 restaurants will be participating in San Diego Restaurant Week, offering 3 course meals at a fixed price (either $20, $30, or $40). It’s a great way to explore our city’s many dining options for less!
My choice of the restaurants offered up to me was Island Prime, one of the restaurants in the Cohn Restaurant Group. The menu looked tasty, and I will be honest, I wanted an easy parking situation. I didn’t want to pay and arm and leg to park nor did I want to have to hunt for parking. Island Prime, located on Harbor Island with it’s own parking lot, offered what I was looking for. Hey, we all have to have our priorities in order, right?
Island Prime is a located in a prime location: right on Harbor Island with stunning views of Downtown San Diego and Coronado. The staff spoiled us by setting us up in a corner table, with a perfect view of the bay and the city. It was a stunning sight and throughout our dinner, Stacey and I would gaze out at the water and watch the occasional boat or stare at the pretty, pretty city lights.
If you ignore the reflections in the photo above, you can sort of see what I’m talking about.
Our waitress greeted us enthusiastically, showing us the drink menu and the wine menu after greeting us. She was particularly excited about their black bramble martini ($11 – left drink in the photo), a drink that has “house infused pineapple vodka shaken with fresh blackberries”. Stacey opted to try this drink after seeing how excited our waitress was about it. After drooling over many of their drink options, I decided on the maharaja ($11 – right drink in the photo), a martini with “house infused apricot vodka, licor 43 & chai syrup shaken with fresh lemon & lime”. My martini was very flavorful and I felt like I could taste each flavor in the drink – it was sweet and refreshing and didn’t taste anything at all like an alcoholic drink. With a pretty star anise floating in my drink, I sipped this slowly throughout our dinner to make it last as long as possible. Stacey’s martini was also delightfully refreshing with fresh fruit in it, also another drink that dangerously tastes nothing like an alcoholic beverage. Stacey was also very pleased to discover that her pineapple garnish was also infused with vodka. Her face lit up with a happy grin after chomping down on the pineapple.
For San Diego Restaurant Week, there are three options for each course. Additionally, if you’re a wine lover, you can get 3oz. wine pairing with each course for $55 (vs. the regular $40). For our appetizers and entree’s, Stacey and I got the same thing: the blt wedge salad and the 8oz. filet mignon. Our meals also came with freshly baked popovers and a delightedly sweet jalapeno butter (I think it might have been honey and jalapeno, but I’m not sure).
I can’t tell you how much I adored this blt wedge salad. Particularly the buttermilk-maytag blue cheese dressing. I’m not a big fan of tomatoes, either, but let me say that I ate them, just as a vessel for the dressing. After I had eaten every bit off of the plate, I demolished the remains of my popover and used it to soak up the rest of the dressing. So. freaking. tasty.
In little to no time after our salads, we were presented with these lovely dishes containing our main meal: 8oz. filet mignon, sea salt mashed potatoes and haricot verts (basically a French green bean). The filet mignon was so tender it almost melted in my mouth. The edges of the meat was crisp and flavorful and I lovingly smeared the mashed potatoes onto each bite. The haricot verts (I’m trying to resist calling them simply green beans) were sauteed in garlic and I don’t know what else, but they were flavorful and had a nice crisp, bite to them. Our mashed potatoes had that cute rosemary stem as a garnish and halfway through the meal, Stacey decided to de-stem it and sprinkle it on her potatoes. I followed suit and enjoyed the extra fusion of flavors. Try as I might, I was unable to clean my plate off entirely. Stacey though, kudos to her, succeeded where I could not. And yet there was still a third course in our future!
The manager came by to tell us that sadly, they were out of their apple crumb cheesecake. Instead we were treated to both of the remaining desserts that they did have for sampling: the chocolate hazelnut torte and the pineapple upside-down cake. I will say that, in addition to the parking situation, the idea of eating a chocolate hazelnut torte sounded so deliciously delightful that I could not pass it up.
The torte, with a raspberry coulis and a smattering of chocolate sauce falling down one side, was decadent. When I took a bite, it was surprisingly light and melted immediately in my mouth. It reminded me of cotton candy, but without the grainy texture or super sweetness. There were also crunchy little bits to chomp up in addition to the chocolaty goodness.
The pineapple upside-down cake came with cardamom ice cream and a rum caramel sauce. Being that I am not a big fan of pineapples, I ate around the pineapple, instead savoring the sweet cake and rum caramel sauce. I took a moment to just eat the caramel sauce as well, which was creamy and of course, delicious.
We stuffed ourselves silly. I congratulated myself on choosing a spot with easy parking as it quickly became a blessing as we waddled out of the restaurant, filled with goodness and the peace that only a quiet and serene evening overlooking the San Diego bay can give you. Thanks to McFarlane Productions for treating us to this spectacular meal and giving us the opportunity to showcase a meal for San Diego Restaurant Week!
Here’s the full menu that Island Prime is offering, along with the wine pairings:
|butternut squash soup||curtis cellars viognier|
|blt wedge salad||paul anhauser riesling|
|golden & red beet salad||gutzler white pinot|
|cedar plank roasted salmon||rumball sparkling shiraz|
|filet mignon||hedges bordeaux blend|
|roasted jidori chicken||valdepusa marques de grinon|
|chocolate hazelnut torte||ruby port|
|pineapple upside-down cake||late harvest gewurztraminer|
|apple crumb cheesecake||muscat|
Be sure to check out San Diego Restaurant Week’s website for a full listing of participating restaurants and their menus! Restaurant Week starts on Sunday, January 17th and ends Friday, January 22nd.
880 Harbor Island Dr.
San Diego, CA