kelvin at the w hotel / downtown – san diego, ca
Writing this post is making me hungry just reliving this dinner! I brought Stacey in tow with me to experience the food here, having no idea what a treat we were in for that evening. I had been invited to sample the menu at one of the new restaurants Downtown – Kelvin, which is situated inside of the newly renovated W Hotel. This new restaurant is headed by executive chef Kevin Harry. Chef Harry took the time to talk with us and present each dish to us to explain the dish which was a really nice personal touch. He pretty much fed us until we cried uncle – and it tempting to keep going, but there’s only so much room in your stomach… unless we’re talking about dessert. There’s also room for dessert!
[Dining room at the Kelvin in the W Hotel]
[Crazy pretty light fixtures]
One thing I can say about the Kelvin is that is pretty. And it’s cozy. And I love the light fixtures! I love the use of colors here.
[Complimentary bread and Pomegranate Mojitos]
Stacey and I started the night off with some tasty complimentary bread and some very minty pomegranate mojitos – that had pomegranate seeds floating through the drink. It was a nice fruity and minty way to start a meal.
After getting our drinks, we were introduced to chef Kevin Harry who asked about any allergies or diet restrictions. I told him of Stacey’s aversion to seafood but assured him that he could still bring seafood for to me.
Mmm, get the seafood into my belly!
And with that, we let Chef Harry take the reigns and bring us whatever he felt like putting before us to stuff into our faces.
[compressed watermelon with point reyes blue cheese, cilantro and saba drizzle]
The first thing Chef Harry brought out was this dish with these bright, colorful cubes. The cubes are compressed watermelon – the air is taken out of the watermelon to intensify the flavor of the watermelon. It’s paired with a rich, creamy, salty blue cheese and drizzled with saba, which is made from grape must (yeah, I had to Google it).
The sweet, refreshing watermelon paired so well with the blue cheese that I was really taken by surprise. It’s a unique twist on a salty-sweet combination that I found to be so original and refreshing.
[polano corn soup with spiced popcorn]
Our next dish was one of my favorites – a corn soup with popcorn! There’s a little drizzle of a spicy oil in for a nice kick and the creamy soup was simply delicious. The popcorn kernels adorning the top of the soup gave a little crispy element to the soup. The bottom started to soak up the flavor of the soup but was still crisp and crunchy enough to give that fun texture. Chunky pieces of potatoes and corn are in the soup contrasting with the creamy, rich broth.
[duck confit quesadillas]
[filled with mushrooms, caramelized onion, brie and duck confit with pico de gallo]
These uber cute little quesadillas were the next item to make their way to us. Filled with some of my favorite things – mushrooms, onions and brie – these were a delight to devour. The mixture of intense flavor melded together to create some magical bits of food. The duck confit was tender and melted the brie!
I love brie so much.
I think someone should open a brie restaurant.
[ropa vieja tacos – “torn clothes”]
[made with braised pork shoulder and served with jicama slaw and salsa verde]
One thing that Stacey and I took note of pretty early on were the sauces strewn across our plates. Not only were they pretty but they were delicious and added great flavor to the dishes presented to us. The salsa verde paired with these little rolled tacos was no exception. Pork shoulder is braised overnight and recooked in a sofrito-like sauce before being wrapped and fried to create these little nuggets of goodness.
[rum & lime pan flashed shrimp]
Our first seafood dish was the Rum & Lime Shrimp.
I want to eat this sauce every day for the rest of my life. Seriously.
It was sweet, delicious and full of so much flavor and goodness. Stacey even tried it (with the shrimp even!) and decided she loved it, too (though she did not love the shrimp – which meant I got to eat more of it…)
You should go out and eat this right now. Go on. I’ll wait.
The shrimp is paired with this avocado pineapple salsa, which I kept swirling around in the sauce just to eat more of the sauce.
Oh! I swoon over this sauce.
Okay, I’ll stop talking about it now.
[tequila marinated halibut with vanilla saffron sauce]
Chef Harry then brought out another seafood dish – this time something I didn’t see on the menu. This is a tequila marinated halibut with another incredibly delicious sauce.
Seriously. I want a package of all of these sauces so I can have them on demand in my house. Please?
The halibut was light and flaky with a nice overall sweetness. Swirled in the aromatic vanilla saffron sauce just gave the fish a wonderful sweet flavor that I loved. I also loved the striking color of the sauce on the plate. Pretty and delicious!
Also: Stacey, the non-seafood eater, actually ate two bites of this. I was a little flabbergasted.
[pork chop with homemade jalapeno apple sauce, carrots, a savory cheese bread pudding and port wine sauce]
Another dish not spotted on the menu arrived – the last dish before I cried uncle to leave room for dessert.
We were treated to a nicely grilled pork chop with homemade jalapeno apple sauce, carrots and a wonderful savory bread pudding.
[bite of juicy pork]
The pork chop was so tender and juicy. I’ve had a lot of dry pork chops in my life but this one turned them all on their heads. The apple sauce gave it a sweet slightly spicy kick. Stacey and I marveled at just how juicy and tender it was.
The savory bread pudding was also curious to me since I’d never had a savory bread pudding before. It had a cheese base, so it kind of reminded me of a souffle but with a denser texture.
[cafe con leche creme brulee]
The cafe con leche creme brulee was brought out as the first dessert. It was served in a coffee cup! This amused me. The top almost looked like a preserved top of boiling coffee.
[spoonful of creme brulee]
Breaking through the crispy top layer gets you down into the sweet, creamy creme brulee. The coffee flavor is pronounced but not overly strong – it does, indeed, tasty much like a creamy coffee with plenty of milk and sugar added – just how I like my coffee.
I found it to be kind of dreamy, actually.
Then we were served a UFO!
Okay. Not really.
But doesn’t it look like a flying saucer?
[banana hazelnut spring rolls]
What it actually contained were these banana hazelnut spring rolls covered in a cinnamon sugar mixture. These spring rolls are deep fried and served with a spicy chocolate on the bottom.
[spring roll innards]
I took a few bites before retreating back to finish the creme brulee. Bananas aren’t totally my thing, and cooked bananas kind of make me scrounge up nose and make a weird face.
Yeah, I know. I’m weird.
Stacey totally loved these though and especially enjoyed the dipping it into the spicy chocolate sitting at the bottom of the UFO plate. This dish is Stacey Approved (TM).
Totally stuffed, happy, and fully content with life, Chef Harry came back out to bid us adieu – and to leave us with these little parting gifts.
Freshly made mini churros! I love you, Chef Harry.
Stacey and I thoroughly enjoyed our outrageous night of dining – especially those insanely delicious sauces! I highly recommend you swing on by to check out these delicious dishes at Kelvin. With a blend of creativity and a twist on flavors, you’ll be sure to find a dish that will make your taste buds sing.
Disclaimer: I was invited to dine at the restaurant and the meal was complimentary. I was not paid for the review and all opinions are my own.
Kelvin Restaurant at the W Hotel
421 West B. Street
San Diego, CA 92101