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San Diego Restaurant Reviews

   Jay’s Gourmet

By Kelly Ranasinghe


As the sun set on a lazy Thursday afternoon, the Pacific ocean filled with an orange luminescence. The sea breeze harried a few irate seagulls, who hovered leisurely over waves searching for seafood of their own.

Crowds slowed below, mollified by slowly diminishing light, and the cool nighttime sea air. Next to me, a black-clad waitress silently moved among the sparse tables, lighting elegant small lamps lending a glow to the twilight. This was La Jolla in the evening. Cool, and relaxing.

Atop the crowds, at the crest of Girard and Prospect street, I sat in Jay’s Gourmet, as the day ended, and the night began. Jay’s Gourmet is a restaurant with an essence of coastal San Diego.Centrally located in downtown La Jolla, Jay’s is a stylish multi-level restaurant with ocean views in


virtually every location. Wide windows replace walls allowing the patron to view sunlight, sunset, or starlight. Within walking distance of the shops on Prospect Street or the beautiful nighttime walks by La Jolla Cove, Jay’s is readily accessible to the day patron, or the nighttime diner.

With a stylish bar, chic cuisine, and an setting second to none, Jay’s is a trendy yet relaxing addition to the typically stylized La Jolla fare.

Jay’s menu emphasizes Seafood with colorful Italian flavor, with a plethora of viands, pasta, and fish to choose from. Not neglected are the hallmarks of middle Italy; Lasagna, Mannicotti, Parmigiana, and Ravioli…hearty and somewhat reassuring in a La Jolla restaurant.

Bread, as in Italy, is a staple and served with the meal, providing the controlled base (as with Japanese gari) for patrons to truly embrace the powerful Italian flavors used by the chef.

Yet despite the wide variety of poultry and viands manifested in a variety of styles, it is in seafood that Jay’s truly shines.

Jay’s style of sea cuisine is eclectic, and bespeaks the myriad breadth of La Jolla clientele. Attractive and stylish but also heartily and simplistically Italian, Jay’s does not proffer insipid yuppie fare. Indeed, far from it. The rural Italian “sautéed mushrooms with fresh olives”, is a most a simple but elegant dish, a partner to fra diavolo baby squid.

Yet in the same breath, Jay’s also offers the more English basket of fried fish, and of course the quintessential Clam Chowder…a commonplace yet comfortable aperitif.

Pescatore, a delicious sautée of Halibut, Shrimp, Calimari, Crab Mussels and Clams, is the centerpiece of the Seafood menu. However, Cioppino a coastal Italian blend of Salmon, Halibut and other sea fare is also a remarkable.

Both are reminiscent of coastal Italy, the sort of Pescara-esque dish of coastal mid-Italy, unsullied by Mediterranean influence. Of course Jay’s offers fresh Salmon, Halibut, and myriad pasta seafood dishes, yet among it’s more simple and delectable dishes is the Salmon alla Pesto, grilled Salmon nestled in a bed of angel hair, and drizzled in creamy alla pesto sauce.

Also notable is the Fettuccine Superiore, which features diced shrimp in garlic wine sauce. Lobster over a white wine sauce, Filet Mignon, Shrimp and Chicken, and the Californian Surf and Turf are all specialties of Jay’s.

Perhaps more interesting is the rather unique Seafood Pizza, a dish which would seem natural in and around San Diego, yet one which Jay’s seems to have perfected with Shrimp, Scallops, Baby Clams Salmon, and again the Italian hints of Garlic and Basil.


As a seaside Italian restaurant, Jay’s is a jewel of La Jolla, and certainly a welcome stop for any patron desiring a comforting and relaxing encounter with elegant Italian seafood.

Jay’s offers a beautiful setting, delectable meals, and delicious and wide-ranging fare. A tribute to seafood and the coastal La Jolla.


                                                                                                            
  Photos by John Leonffu

 

 

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