Tucked away near the water's edge in La Jolla is a cozy restaurant with a modest appearance. This small restaurant with its white steps and white wrap around patio is nestled at the bottom of a hill just below Prospect Street. It's location on the quiet corner of Ocean Boulevard with only waves as neighbors might be easy to miss. With a front row view of rolling waves and the blue horizon, one could think that this might be the restaurant's main draw with its cuisine playing a supporting role. However, not even the majesty of the powerful Pacific Ocean can upstage Brockton Villa's masterfully crafted dishes.
We are still in the midst of San Diego's Restaurant Week, and so far, it has been a great experience. As our last meal for this week long event, we are looking forward to our final Restaurant Week dinner.
Like all our previous restaurant visits which came through recommendations, Brockton Villa also came as a suggestion by Benjamin. Also, for this visit, we will be joined by our friend Meriel!
The night of our final meal arrives as we make the short drive to La Jolla. The street in front Brockton Villa is very quiet with plenty of parking. Unlike the noisy Prospect Street only one block up, Ocean Boulevard is mostly silent except for the gentle sound of waves breaking nearby. Arriving to the bottom of the white softly lit steps, we stand for a moment taking in the restaurant. I see that the winding steps lead into very cozy looking restaurant. Excitedly, we head in.
Reaching the top of the steps, we are greeted by a friendly hostess who promptly leads us through the restaurant, and to a table, comfortably tucked away on the patio. From across the street, I can hear the soft crash of the waves breaking against the La Jolla Cove rocks.
Handing us the Restaurant Week menus, our friendly and knowledgable server explains the different dishes while subtly making some recommendations. Once our stream of questions, triggered by her recommendations, is answered, she steps away to grab the bottle of wine that we'd just ordered. Returning shortly, she presents, then pours the wine. Having been a server myself, I really enjoy seeing wine properly presented to a table. I think it really says something about the service and the restaurant.
We are ready to order. For the first course, we order a Crab Stack and Epic Chowder. The second course is an order of the Pan Seared Halibut, the Flat Iron Steak and two Ciopinnos. For the final course, dessert, we order one of each items: The "World Famous" Coast Toast, the Espresso Cake, and the Deconstructed Salted CaramelApple Cheesecake.
The appetizers arrive. The plating is very thoughtful and delicate. Excitedly, we take turns trying each dish.
"WOW! Unbelievably good!" I say.
The Crab Stack is savory and rich without being heavy. The flavors are so balanced.
Next, we try the Epic Chowder. Epic is the right word! This take on a traditional chowder has been taken to another level with unfused saffron, giving this creamy dish a subtly fragrant note. I have a feeling that we've just embarked on a delicious culinary journey.
Still reeling from the delicious appetizers, our stunning entrees soon arrive. The aroma floating up from these dishes is intoxicating. I look to Benjamin's Flat Iron Steak, perfectly cooked medium and juicy. Jigger's entree, if I could eat with my eyes, they would be feasting his decadent looking halibut.
Finally, the Ciopinno. The Tomato Saffron broth loaded with brilliant pink shrimp, mussels and golden potatoes fills the air with an enticing aroma, making the back of my mouth and side of my cheeks salivate. With silent smiles, we dig in. Flavors explode in my mouth. I'm smiling while I eat, actually smiling! This Ciopinno is incredible! Looking around the table, I can see that everyone else is quietly in agreeance. The yums and smiles are a key sign that the food is great. After only a minute, the "you have to try this!" begins as we start passing the entrees around the table. The smells and flavors continue us along our delicious culinary journey with the next stop being dessert.
The appetizers were absolutely delicious. The entrees were stunning. Our expectations about dessert is now unattainably high. And so, out walks our server holding three simply plated desserts: an Espresso Cake, a Deconstructed CaramelApple Cheesecake, and the "Coast Toast". Placing each dessert on the table, she knowingly smiles saying, "enjoy" then walks away. They look simple; delicate, but simple. Has our incredible culinary journey ended with a fizzle? We all simultaneously take a bite of different desserts. I sit in silence as the flavors of the Caramel Apple cheesecake fill my mouth with the most incredible combination of apple, caramel and cream.
"AMAZING!" I say. "How are the other desserts?!"
All at once, I hear, "You have to try these!"
I try the "World Famous" Coast Toast. It is worthy of being called "World Famous!" The Espresso Cake is incredible. Not only did these desserts reach our expectations, but they surpassed them. There is something about sharing an extraordinary dessert with friends that makes you laugh and smile; and our smiles could not be bigger!
As the last bite of dessert disappears, our culinary journey comes to a very satisfying end. We are happy, comfortably full and thoroughly excited about what we have just experienced. The dishes have been thoughtful, balanced and beyond delicious. Through each our course our tastebuds were dazzled and left wanting more. Brockton Villa has brought us to the ocean's edge, showing us the most incredible thing here is not the majesty of nature but their mastery of the culinary arts!