san diego restaurant week preview at jsix / downtown – san diego, ca
San Diego Restaurant Week is back again starting September 15th and I was lucky enough to get invited to Jsix for a little restaurant week preview.
Jsix is situated in Downtown San Diego just a couple of blocks from Petco Park. It is adjacent to Hotel Solamar and provides a fun and inviting dining experience. I loved the inside of the restaurant with the sprawl of flowers on the ceiling as well as the hanging lanterns. Jsix has a very inviting and comfortable atmosphere that I really enjoyed!
One of the unique aspects of Jsix’s restaurant week offering is that they don’t limit the menu – instead, everything they normally offer is available as a three course meal for $30. You get to choose one entree, one main and one dessert. This is a great deal and a really wonderful way to explore their offerings.
[white wine and grapefruit mojito]
Laura was my cohort for the evening and we had a late dinner and grazed our way through a few courses. We did start off with a few drinks, though. For me, I tried a new white wine (a sauvignon blanc) that I just thought was okay. Laura tried the Grapefruit Mojito and thought that even though it was good, she’d rather just have a regular plain mojito.
[stuffed tempura squash blossoms]
The very first thing that jumped out at me were the tempura squash blossoms. The menu doesn’t describe what’s inside or what makes these different but we were told they were stuffed with a cheesy risotto to help the blossom keep it’s shape (instead of the usual cheese filling most places do).
The upper portion was indeed with a crazy creamy risotto. The bottom portion still has the squash attached which I loved. I don’t think I’ve ever had it with the baby squash still attached so it was a pleasant surprise. The squash was slightly firm but had a nice texture that went well with the rest of it. It managed to keep a nice crunch, which of course I loved. I’m like some kind of crunch monster, devouring all things crunchy! The green goddess dressing included here was also really delicious and had a garlicky flavor to it that my tastebuds really enjoyed.
[melon & pistachio soup]
This Melon & Pistachio soup was actually one of their daily specials not on the menu. It’s a cold soup and it was different and interesting enough for Laura and I to want to try it.
Our waiter obligingly found out what was in the soup for us, which was a blend of crenshaw melon, persian cucumber and pistachios. I caught a bit of the melon flavor at first while Laura mostly just tasted the cucumber. I could taste it as I continued sipping on it but didn’t really get much of the pistachio flavor.
It was a very refreshing soup, something really perfect for summer and any hot days that might accompany the rest of September!
[sweet corm agnolotti with melted leeks, maitake mushrooms, fried basil and herb oil]
These were formally called sweet corn ravioli and that’s what our waiter kept referring to them as! Agnolotti is actually still a form of ravioli though and they just changed the menu so I didn’t blame him! In any case, there are three of them tucked under that big pile of roasted corn, leeks and mushrooms. The “stuff” is all on top of the agnolotti while the pasta itself is simply filled (with I believe some kind of cheese). It’s almost kind of like an inside out ravioli. This was to Laura’s benefit though since she doesn’t like mushrooms (more for me, yay).
This tasted very fresh with a nice hint of sweetness from the roasted corn. The agnolotti was soft and tender and paired well with everything on the plate.
[mussels with lamb sausage]
One of the other daily specials we tried was the Mussels. We got a hearty portion of mussels paired with some lamb sausage in a white wine broth with some grilled sourdough bread.
The mussels and lamb sausage was a nice combination but I thought the broth/sauce was a little too heavy on the white wine – I felt like it could have used some other flavors in it as well. It was still good though but I did avoid the broth after a few bites.
[maine diver scallops & mortadella with gnocchi, maitake mushrooms, spinach, leep puree and crispy leeks]
This my friends…. this was my favorite dish of the night. Big, seared scallops, bits of mortadella and delicious, tender gnocchi… and mushrooms! Man, it was like all of my favorite things together in one big dish.
The incredibly large scallops had a nice, crusty sear on them and were plump and super sweet.
The tender gnocchi might have been my favorite of everything in the dish itself… light, soft and fluffy, there was no doubt in my mind that these were made in house.
The leek puree looked so similar to the greek goddess dressing from the squash blossoms that I kept expecting it to taste like that! It was tricking me.
The mortadella eaten only was quite salty, but eaten together with everything on the dish toned it down and ended up adding a depth of flavor to the whole dish. The crispy leeks were like tiny fried onion strings, adding a little bit of crunch.
[house made ice creams (from top left) cardamon chocolate, rocky road, tahitian vanilla and snickers]
Laura and I had a hard time choosing just what to have for dessert. Laura ended up asking our waiter if we could have little scoops to try all of the house made ice creams and he was totally cool with it. These are actually not the ones listed on the dessert menu, the flavors rotate and change on the chef’s whims and this is what they had in stock!
The Cardamon Chocolate was the most surprising and different one in the bunch. The cardamon is very apparent from the first bite, giving almost a spicy flavor to the chocolate. There was something soft and chewy in the ice cream and we found out it was dates! I thought it was ginger, but I think the flavor of the cardamon was just fooling me.
The Rocky Road was the richest one of the bunch and I stealthily avoided the mini marshmallows.
The Tahitian Vanilla was quite different as it tasted almost grainy… like you could taste the little bits of vanilla bean in the ice cream.
The Snickers was no surprise, but it was still quite tasty mixed in with a regular vanilla base.
The flavor we missing out but really wanted to try was a Hazelnut Brandy… it was still being made at the time. Oh well!
[walnut chocolate tart – with salted caramel, walnut crust and a chocolate top]
Of the two desserts, my sweet tooth liked this one just a little bit more, probably due to the presence of salted caramel.
It has a thick bottom crust made with ground walnuts and was almost cookie-like in texture. There was a layer of chewy salted caramel on top of that with walnuts mixed into the caramel and a thick chocolate ganache top. It had a little vanilla cream on top with caramel and chocolate sauce with additional walnuts.
Normally I’m not really all that into walnuts… but these were superb. The walnuts were roasted which gave them additional flavor and crunch. Really yummy and great for any sweet lover. Laura thought it was a bit on the rich side but I loved it.
I hope you’ll consider Jsix for your dining travels next week – remember, San Diego Restaurant Week runs from September 15th-20th and is a wonderful way to check out a few restaurants for a great price!
616 J Street
San Diego, CA 92101
Disclaimer: I was invited to dine at Jsix by the folks at McFarlane Promotions, Inc. Our meal at Jsix was complimentary. I was not further compensated for this review and all opinions expressed here are my own.