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Blanca Review-- Lets keep this chef around!


Restaurants & Bars 37

Blanca Review-- Lets keep this chef around!

SDGourmand | Jun 13, 2010 11:36 PM

Dined here on 6/4/10

Blanca has had its fair share of ups and downs over the last year. Chef Wade Hageman who was the Exec. Chef since Blanca opened left last fall. They then brought in Chef Jason Neroni who lasted about five months until he packed his knives and went back to New York. Blanca has now found an extremely talented and well versed chef that I think really knows and fits California Cuisine.

Chef Gavin Schmidt has an impressive resume. Working at highly rated Campton Place and was the Chef de Cuisine of Coi a 2 Michelin starred restaurant in SF. Most recently he was the executive chef of Nectar Wine Lounge in SF. There is no question that Chef Gavin has the knowledge and experience to really help transform the San Diego dinning scene. He focuses on sustainability and locally sources all his products.

Amuse Bouche
Clam, Cherry tomato, Cilantro Flower, Galia Melon

Perfect little bite. The clam flavor lingered on the palate well after being finished and paired well with the cilantro flower and melon.

1st course
House-Made Charcuterie

Country Lamb Pate w/ pistachio, pork rillette, duck prosciutto, smoked suckling pig prosciutto, blood & mole sausage.

Beer Mustard, pickled vegetables, toasted bread

I loved each individual component; the real standouts were the blood & mole sausage and the pork rillette. The beer mustard was not over powering and added a nice contrast of textures with the whole mustard seeds.

2nd course
Wild Ramps
La ratte potatoes, duck egg, jamon & truffle vinaigrette

The vegetables and egg were cooked and seasoned perfectly. The jamon melted in your mouth. I couldn’t really taste the truffle but nonetheless a successful dish.

3rd course
Pork Confit
Fava beans, maitake mushrooms, cocoa

This dish was one of the favorites of the night. The pork confit had a nice crisp skin with the meat being tender and juicy. The mushrooms were similar in texture and stood up to the pork well.

4th course
Uni Porridge
Brown rice porridge, uni tempura, carrot lobster emulsion

This was a very unique and original dish. Having the uni tempura fried different texture with the same deep ocean flavor. The rice being milled resembled a course polenta in texture. The addition of rau ram (Vietnamese cilantro) reinforced the Asian flavor throughout.

5th course
Black Cod
White almond gazpacho, chorizo, and clams

The cod was spot on. Melted like a butterfish with a crispy contrast from the skin. Chorizo was a subtle surprise that paired well with the potatoes and almond puree.

6th course
Long & Baily Pork, A day on the farm
Cauliflower, roasted baby root vegetables, long pepper

I like the playfulness of the dish and how he utilized the pork in five different ways. However, I felt being done in some different ways it ended up competing against each rather than complementing.

7th course
Bacon Wrapped Rabbit
Fava beans, spring onions, confit & tamarind glaze

This was the best rabbit dish I’ve had in a long time. It was tender, moist, and flavorful. The bacon added a nice smokiness and added for a great presentation. There was also a nice surprise of braised leg and liver underneath that brought everything together.

8th course
Tropical Fruit Soup

This was a light, refreshing dessert after a heavy meal. The coconut marshmallow had a spice from the long peppers that lingered in the back of my mouth. The basil yogurt spheres, was a nice surprise of textures.

The chef also sent us out a new dessert that he calls fizzy melon. He carbonates the melon balls, which has a popping effect in the mouth. Cool and refreshing.

This was an exceptional meal. Chef Gavins food with its surprising flavors and innovativeness surpasses all of San Diego with the exception of Addison. My only concern is the price point for the area, all the entrees are $25 and up. This makes it less approachable for most. At these current prices it’s more of special occasion spot then somewhere you can go all the time. If they could keep the prices at $25 and under it would open it up to more people and keep them coming back more often. Also when Chef Gavin starts doing tasting menus he should pair them with our amazing selection of local San Diego beers. This would be another great addition that not many places are doing. Either way I will continue to support Blanca and Chef Gavin and wish him the best of luck here in San Diego!

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