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D Bar – San Diego, California

D Bar Restaurant
3930 5th Avenue
San Diego, California 92103
http://www.dbarsandiego.com/home
D Bar San Diego

My weekend getaway trip to Southern California was graced with the fact that I would be coming down during both DineLA and San Diego Restaurant Week. It was a great surprise and I was not going to let the opportunity slip away. Recommendations from friends lead me to D Bar for dinner on a Sunday evening in beautiful San Diego. The $40 Pre Fixe Dinner Menu was enticing, but even more so was the Cocktail Flight for an additional $20. I was on vacation, why not?

3 Cocktail Flight included Julia Roberts, Golden Fashion, and a Salted Caramel Martini presented before each course

The Julia Roberts was a carbonated raspberry cocktail and was a delicious way to begin the evening. It reminded me of a Shirley Temple, but with raspberry instead. Delightful and my favorite of the trio.

The Golden Fashion was a miss for me, it had an orange syrup with whiskey that reminded me too much of medicine to be enjoyed. I passed up this drink after one sip.

The Salted Caramel Martini was just that, an adult version of a milkshake, and blended perfectly. The vanilla shake portion was frothy and the drink was topped with a piece of salted caramel candy, delicious and complimented my dessert very well.

20150118_213757_LLSNow on to the food…

First Course – Crispy Brussels with sriracha honey glaze and toasted hazelnuts (my pick) and Crüe fries with garlic parmesan fries, mac sauce, cheddar jack cheese, bacon, ranch and chives (boyfriend’s pick)

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These were some of the best Brussels I have had yet! They were crispy on the outside with a bite in the center and did not have any bitterness to it. The spicy sriracha honey sauce was unexpectedly an amazing touch to the dish that enhanced the sweetness of the veggies. The portion was large but I could not stop eating this, it was just too amazing. The crue fries on the other hand, were average fries. There was nothing special about these, although they weren’t terrible. The fries themselves were somewhat soggy and did not have crunch to them, and all the toppings pooled towards the bottom of the bowl, so it became a big greasy mess quickly.

Second Course – Pan Seared Seabass with a chunky sweet lime sauce, organic black rice pasta and tempura asparagus (my pick) and Lobster Bacon Mace & Cheese topped with cheese nibs, panko bread crumbs, and tempura fried lobster.

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My Asian-inspired Seabass dish was short of amazing, as it just reminded me of a homecooked meal that is trying to be elevated. The fish itself was somewhat dry and had some bones in it that I had to be careful to pick out. The sweet chili sauce was also not very spectacular. The black rice pasta reminded me of wood ear mushrooms instead of pasta, and it was pleasantly light. I wasn’t impressed by this dish.

My friend’s lobster bacon mac and cheese was also nothing too fancy, but the flavors and textures worked well together. The mac and cheese with 4 cheese was creamy and very rich, but was delightful with the crispy toppings and tempura lobster. The lobster didn’t have much flavor but it was fried well, with a light tempura batter that wasn’t greasy.

Entremet – Vanilla bean panna cotta with crumbled cookies and peach sorbet.

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This was a pleasant surprise to freshen up my tastebuds before dessert. It was perfectly portioned to cleanse my palate and the flavors kept me wanting for more – I would have enjoyed this as a dessert in itself! The creamy panna cotta had a subtle taste of vanilla bean and the peach sorbet was delicious. Of course, the crunchy cookies piqued my interest, I’m a sucker for contrasting flavors and textures.

Third Course – Ch Ch Ch Churros! with a dark chocolate dipping sauce and homemade dulcey ice cream (my pick), Molten Cake Thingy Everybody Has with flourless 64% chocolate, macerated raspberries, and Sicilian pistachio ice cream, and Chocolate Soufflé with chocolate sauce, Nutella filled beignets, and cinnamon coffee ice cream.

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20150118_214758_LLS20150118_214837_LLSThese desserts…were to die for! I knew coming in that this restaurant was known for its decadent desserts, but I didn’t know to what extent. The owner and executive pastry chef, Keegan Gerhard, is an award winning pastry chef and the familiar host of the Food Network series Food Network Challenge, which I am all too familiar with. I was not let down at all by his wonderful desserts.

For starters, the churros were the best I have ever had, hands down. Prior to this trip, I had a two-year craving for fresh churros that I could not satisfy and was ready to give up when I saw it on the menu. I knew I had to order it and I was blown away. Each churro was so delicate that it almost flaked apart in my hands, and the textures were crunchy and soft at the same time – perfection! I did not care too much for the rich dark chocolate sauce, I just wanted to enjoy my churros. The dulcey ice cream was also heavenly, a light caramel flavor with a hint of saltiness that ended my dinner on a very lovely note.

My friends recommended the molten lava cake, claiming it was the reason they wanted to return to this restaurant. I did not find it to be exceptional, I’ve had better. The cake itself was too dense to my liking, even with the pistachio ice cream on top. It was a brave attempt since it was flourless, but I enjoyed my churros 100 times more.

The soufflé, in my opinion, was better than the molten lava cake. It was light and airy, and the chocolate cream sauce that was poured in right before serving created a warm contrast that together was creamy and rich. The beighnets were too dense for my liking and even with nutella inside, I could not finish one of them. The cinnamon coffee ice cream was something else! It had a strong coffee flavor with subtle hints of warm cinnamon, and the bits of coffee beans inside the ice cream was wonderful! Coffee and chocolate, another classic combination. All the chocolate, coffee, and creamy flavors were not overbearing for me, since it was presented in different ways and textures.

D Bar was a great restaurant that was worth the trip down to sunny San Diego. I would highly recommend coming back to try the wonderful dessert creations that Chef Gerhard has come up with, you will not be disappointed! The dessert dishes were the highlights of the nights for me, and I will be dreaming about those churros for a long time…

~Nicole

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