While heading down to La Jolla for a weekend getaway, I was looking for somewhere new to go out to dinner. I didn’t want your typical chain restaurant and subsequently came across Kitchen 1540, located at L`Auberge Del Mar. Knowing very little about it, we were intrigued and made our reservation. And, what a good find it was! The dinning room is contemporary, casual fine dining with an open kitchen and white vaulted ceilings.
But, what sealed the deal in knowing we were in a place that appreciates food was when we saw the servers uniform t-shirts. Also, what made these t-shirts stand out were the fun sayings on the back, such as “My favorite animal is steak” – Fran Lebowitz
But for now, moving on to the food, the cuisine at Kitchen 1540 features fresh produce, seafood and meats with Asian infused flavors. The ingredient driven menu has fun playing with flavor combinations. Kale Caesar with smoked yolk, brioche and Parmesan was lightly dressed and a perfect start to the meal. Jalpeno Cheddar Arancini Poppers were more arancini than poppers and I wanted to drink the rest of the cool creamy citrus buttermilk dip like it was soup. The U-10 SCALLOPS were perfectly seared and served with salsify, smoked marcona almonds and bacon.
Cuttlefish ‘Aglio e Olio’ with toasted garlic, red chili flake, Parmesan, basil, cuttlefish ribbons and abalone, this was the standout dish of the night. The cuttlefish ribbons could easily have been mistaken for pasta and were tender and perfectly al dente. Fresh Squid Ink Linguini with scallops, mussels, clams and shimp Black Cod with roasted clams, black mussel billi bi, king crab, yukon potato, fennel and arugula ($29) Duck Breast with farro fried rice, 62° fried egg, white peach kalbi, snap peas and sesame gailan ($29) Monkfish with cauliflower puree, onions crisp and soft, roasted shallot aioli and fregula ($29) Despite how full we were, we couldn’t skip dessert. And, glad we didn’t. The Tapioca pudding with pressure cooked quince, vanilla, buttermilk and a tapioca crisp was the other stand out dish of the night. The flavors were balanced and harmonized, and the dish was refreshing and light. The signature 1540 Cinnamon Bun with Bay Leaf Ice Cream, Liquid Cheesecake and Roasted Apples ($10) was much richer than the Tapioca pudding and was a nice contrast in sweetness. Kitchen 1540 1540 Camino Del Mar, Del Mar, CA 92014 (858) 793-6460