Addison, San Diego’s only Michelin starred (one) restaurant, has been on the property of the Fairmont Grand Del Mar for 15 years. Chef William Bradley is in charge of the kitchen where they offer 5 and 10 course tastings featuring California gastronomy. Wine pairings are available but there is a huge wine list also. Due to Covid the recently renovated indoor area is closed but there is seating on the large heated outdoor terrace. It you stay at the Fairmont it is a bit of a hike to get up the hill so the hotel graciously provides car service up for you and the staff call for a pick up when you are finished. It’s little touches like this that make it a lovely experience. The staff anticipate your needs – like bringing a glass of ice for my water or a stool for my purse -and yet it never feels stuffy, and there is the beautiful back drop of the hotel’s golf course with bubbling streams. We chose the 10 course menu and got bottles of red and white to pair with courses as we chose. In addition, it is a surprise menu but they were kind enough to email a copy of what we had that actually did have the courses detailed. There was only one supplement offered that night and that was to substitute A5 Wagyu for Barbecued Squab. I chose the supplement and my husband had the pigeon.
The food still has a strong French influence but the chef has tried to go lighter and thus in place of the gougére pastries that used to greet guests they now start with a chilled hibiscus soda (it was tea in colder months). It was light and refreshing.
The Prelude course included 4 different bites.
Sage Hill Ranch garden greens included stinging nettles mixed with aged cheese in a pastry puff. The filling was creamy and tasty and the crust had a good crispness.
Kumamoto Oysters were dressed with gooseberry and ponzu. They had an amazing depth of flavor.
Squid Ink Toast was topped with finger lime and ikura (salmon caviar). The flavor was mild here with the roe having a wonderful pop.
Rosemary Rösti was topped with Iberian ham and aged sherry. Rösti is a fried potato which was tender inside and crisp outside topped with a generous amount of Iberian ham and gold flecks. It was tasty.
Ginger-lime sorbet was served with pickled cucumber and poached rhubarb. The cucumber was a dominant flavor among the lovely tender ingredients. Another refreshing course.
Chawanmushi was topped with sea scallops, local broccoli and bok choy. The custard was exceptionally smooth and mixed great with the tasty vegetables and tender scallops. It had a great aftertaste too. A winner here.
Regiis Ova Reserve Caviar was on top of koshihikari rice surrounded by smoked sabayon and served with a sesame chip. This is one of chef’s signature dishes and you can see why. It was filled with fabulous flavors that blended perfectly. Inspired by chef’s friend Thomas Keller.
Signature Crisps were paired with burnt onion powder, toasted dill and fennel dip. The super crispy ribbons were not at all greasy and were lovely dipped in the very dilly dip. They were also fun to eat on their own and perfectly thin.
Caramelized black cod was served with katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes), topped with alliums and surrounded by sendai miso. The really rich sauce was perfect with the large flake buttery fish. The top bits added a touch of texture.
House made Sourdough bread was served with goat’s milk and browned honey butters. The bread had a good but thin crisp crust and a fairly dense interior. It had been generously brushed with butter or oil to make the the exterior a bit greasy to handle. The honey butter was sweet and the goat’s milk was quite mild in flavor.
Artichoke was paired with whipped parmesan and red mullet roe. The bottom slice was cooked perfectly and topped with roe and surrounded by a parmesan sauce and topped with a parmesan crisp. The small bit of roe added an interesting flavor to the mix.
Barbecued pigeon had a blackberry syrup and was alongside liver mousse topped with umeboshi (pickled fruit). The meat was tender, juicy and nicely rare however there was a bit to much berry for me. The liver was so mild you almost didn’t know it was mixed with the fruit.
A5 Wagyu was plated with black garlic and caramelized shallot alongside a bowl of eggplant agebitashi (eggplant, dashi and seasonings) and a bowl of shoyu (like soy sauce). The buttery meat was cooked a perfect rare and super tender and well flavored. The sauces and accompaniments were nice but overwhelmed its wonderful flavor. The eggplant was fine.
Citrus sherbet was topped with candied kumquat and coconut. The cheesecake like sherbet was also surrounded by a lovely citrus sauce. The citrus was all very flavorful and a great combination of intense but structured tastes. A perfect pre-dessert.
Sweet treats were in 6 offerings.
Toasted almond custard was surrounded by amaretto, cocktail cherries and brown butter. This was my favorite of all the options – the cherries, almond and custard were divine.
Port wine ice cream was covered with salted peanuts and dark chocolate. It was okay.
A brown butter wafer cone was filled with vanilla, passion fruit and cocoa. It was fun to eat and a nice mix of textures.
Strawberry tart, yuzu curd and black sesame praliné were a small rectangular bite decorated with edible gold. This was not a favorite.
Meyer lemon macaron was an intense bite of lemon in a fun pastry.
Buckwheat honeycomb was in a number of pieces that were crisp yet chewy but had an aftertaste I didn’t care for.
A parting gift was a jar of cherry and toasted coconut granola for tomorrow morning’s breakfast. A very nice gesture, it was good but almost over-toasted. I enjoyed it several days hence.