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Sbicca Review

MV | Aug 8, 200502:22 PM

After hearing on chowhound about a promotion 1090 am was doing with $100 gift certificates to Sbicca for $50 i decided to give it a go. So this friday night, the girlfriend and i headed up to Del Mar for a meal.

We arrived a bit early and grabbed a drink at Jimmy o's next door because Sbiccas bar was already packed. I would have enjoyed sampling a glass at the bar but no big deal either way. We were promptly seated at one of the two seat tables near the bar at around 8:30. To start with they dropped off some italian bread. The bread itself was pretty good, crusty outside, nice soft inside with plenty of taste. What i really didnt care for was what they brought out with the bread, a ramekin of marinara sauce. It seemed a bit wierd to me to bring marinara sauce with the bread and i wouldnt have minded so much if it were good. It honestly tasted like jarred sauce.

We then decided to split one app and one salad. We went with the grilled portabella mushrooms with
rosemary goat cheese stuffing and 25 yr balsamic. This was good, the mushrooms were done right, the filling was nice and tart and it went well with the sweet aged balsamic. Granted this is something you could easily make at home, but we still enjoyed it. The salad we got was the truffled greens, french feta and avocado salad hearts of palm, shaved red onion, lemon-pepper vinaigrette. This was very good. All of the ingredients worked very well together(could have used more avacado) and the earthiness of the truffle oil really brought the whole thing together.

For our main course i got the seafood paella
shrimp, mussels, scallops, fresh seafood, pancetta, tomato saffron sauce and my gf got the prosciutto wrapped sea scallops w/shiitake leek ragout, spinach orzo, tomato vinaigrette(we actually split these two as well). The paella was so so, some of the shrimp and mussels tasted a bit fishy(that iodine taste of not so fresh seafood) but the broth that it came with was really nice. It was tangy, smoky and sweet with a nice fresh taste of the sea. This would have been good with the rice, if there was more of it. Basically there were individual grains of interspersed with the seafood. Not much to speak of which was a shame b/c the sauce was quite good.

The scallop dish was another hit and miss attempt. The scallops themselves were good(not overcooked, we asked for them rare) with a good sear on them. I think i might find scallops to be my favourite meat prodcut on earth so i am a bit particular with how they were cooked, and these were good. There was also just the right ammount of prosciutto, not too much to overwhelm the scallop and not too little that you cant taste it. The orzo, which i love being half greek was woefully under salted. As a matter of fact im not even sure if there was any salt at all. I had to use table salt on it. I normally am not one to salt things at the table, especially in restaurants int his price range in which the chef should correctly salt the food, so i was a bit put off at this.

The portions were a bit small so we were both still hungry and ordered two desserts. One was a Bread pudding with caramel ice cream and caramel sauce. This was very well done. Not too soggy and the perfect level of sweetness. We both really enjoyed this. The other dessert was a creme brulee. This too was well done though i could have gone for the top to be a bit more caramelised. Both came with very ripe berries which provided a nice counterpoint to the creamy sweetness of each.

The meal which included 4 glasses of wine and two of port came to $152 with tax and tip(minus $50 due to the price of the gift certificate) was basically hit and miss with some medioctrity thrown in. Full price i dont think i would go back. While it wasnt bad it definitely wasnt worth the price.

Oh and thanks to all who gave recs.

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