I drive past the corner of 6th and Market all the time and I’ve seen sign up for Blush Ice Bar: East West Kitchen for a while. At first I though it was a dessert place since there is a little dessert place in San Diego called Blush as well (in Kearny Mesa). I finally read about in Eater San Diego and Kirbies Cravings. So I made my way over for an early dinner (and happy hour).
And as we walked in we just said we were here for the oysters and our hostess told us it’s open seating, just have a seat anywhere on the bar stools. We snagged a seat right at the oyster bar.
It took our server a few minutes to help us, but that gave us more time to decide on what we wanted to get on the happy hour menu. It was also kind of a plus, since the guys in the oyster bar were going to help us if we had to wait any longer. Our server came just in time and took our order. We each started with a Blush cocktail, which is a cocktail drink topped with fresh fruit frosted ice. You can choose from signature drinks or BYOB: Build Your Own Blushie. We went with the signatures first (I’ll BYOB next time).
I got the Blush: Passion Vodka, Lime Juice, Cranberry. My drink was actually a nice refreshing drink. I”m usually not a fan of cranberry but it was really light mixed in with the Passion and Lime Juice. And best of all not very sweet BUT you don’t taste much of the bitter alcohol.
My friend got the Vanilla Sky: Vanilla Rum, Coconut Vodka, Pinapple, Cream. I tried a sip and all I could think of was that I was drinking a Pina Colada. It was also a little sweet for me. Oh! and don’t forget to stir the frosted ice into your drink other wise you’ll be drinking all of the alcohol before getting to the frosted ice.
And then it was Oyster Time! $1 Oyster Happy Hour requires a minimum of 6 oysters, so that was exactly what we ordered. My friend has never eaten a raw oyster before, so this was his chance to try them. I was ready to eat 5 oysters (hehe). Dollar Oysters tonight were “Bahia Falsa Oysters” from Baja California, know to be some of the saltiest oysters. Which explains why my friend thought he was drinking ocean water. I was still happy to say he was “Okay” with the oysters. That is I guess what you would call “Briney”.
My friend was going to order more oyster for me since he ended up eating 3 our of 6 and I had originally told him I could easily eat all 6 by myself. I declined so that I have room for more food but before our next happy hour items were served we had a little treat. And after chatting with the guys in the oyster bar, he served us couple of “Malpeque Oysters” from Prince Edward Island (One of eastern Canada’s maritime provinces, off New Brunswick and Nova Scotia in the Gulf of St. Lawrence). They had a much more balanced flavor and much less brine and salty. They supposed to be a good transitional oyster and I’m guessing would have been a much better one for my friend to try first.
And now for some real food. We ordered the “Sushi Tacos“, which included 3 little hardshell tacos. Seared Salmon, Seared Hamachi, Seared Tuna each sat on top of a bed of lettuce and spicy mayo and topped with another sauce (I couldn’t pinpoint what kind of sauce it was).
I only at the Seared Tuna Sushi Taco and realized that I should have (maybe) tried to eat all of it in one bite? Because I ended up eating all of my tuna with the first half of my taco and I had no sushi left for the second half of my taco. My friend actually really liked it and would order it again, I might just to see if I can eat it all in one bite.
I guess it was pretty much a fish taco. Oh and the taco shell was actually a fried wonton (correct me if I’m wrong). This really is were you can see the East-West Kitchen influences. And my friend at the Seared Hamachi before I could even take a picture.
Also off the Happy Hour menu are the Potato Croquettes: Goat Cheese, Scallions, Truffle-Parmesan. We were actually trying to decided between the Sushi Tacos and Potato Croquettes when we first sat down but ended up getting the Sushi Tacos but we were somehow served the Potato Croquettes. I actually returned them as much as I wanted to try it, I think I would have felt bad. They do look absolutely amazing though.
What I was really really excited to try was the “Hudson Valley Foie Gras Ramen: Bacon Dashi, Duck Egg, Crispy Chicken Skin”. I read about this one on Kirbie’s Cravings and knew I absolutely had to try it. I love ramen! I actually ordered 1 for us to share and they were great about splitting it for us. I was super surprised to see that we each got our own poached egg (I was ready to make my friend give up the egg for me).
I took a sip of the soup and immediately though of the duck leg noodle soup my mom had the other day at Tim Ky Noodle (but without the herbal taste of course). The dark bacon dashi broth had a deep flavor to it and you know it’s been cooking for a while. The seared Foie Gras was so creamy. I can’t really compare to anything else though, this is my first time trying seared Foie Gras. All I can say is that it was really good, and now for me to back to eating my chicken liver pate at home. It took a few bites for me to realize I was eating the crispy chicken skin because I already had it set in my mind that it was a crispy wonton skin (haha).
My ONLY problem and I’m very sad to say this, but I couldn’t eat the noodle. It ended up being way too soggy, my noodle was over cooked! My friend couldn’t bare to see me waste my food, so he finished the noodle for me.
It ended up being very entertaining for us to sit right at the oyster bar watching the hustle and bustle of the restaurant. We actually watched the Executive Chef Daniel Barron train his staff to make dessert. Hot Banana Fritter & Bacon Caramel Ice Cream: Red Miso Genache, Popcorn Powder, Brown Butter Cotton Candy.
And after watching that, I couldn’t help but to HAVE to order it for myself (and my friend to share of course)
We didn’t get a Banana Fritter made by Daniel Barron himself, but we got to one that this dude just learned how to make. I personally just enjoyed watching him make it (I wonder if we were making him a bit nervous). He basically fried the banana fritter, mad the cotton candy and nitrogen ice cream, and put it all together in front of us.
I have not had cotton candy in such a long time! I think was when I was in middle school or maybe elementary/primary school. I didn’t pick up much of the “brown butter” flavor, but I know it was not syrupy sweet which was nice.
Ice Cream was amazing, and probably so much better because it was freshly made in front of me (with the liquid nitrogen). I’m not a fan of ice cream that has been sitting in the freezer for a while and nearly impossible to scoop.
As for the Banana Fritter; I wasn’t sure what to do at first, i ended up having to grab my knife to cut into it. But once inside, it was melt in your mouth. Mix some red miso genache, popcorn powder, banana fritter and ice cream all in one bite (oh and course grab a little more of the cottone candy)!
The one on the top left was made by Executive Chef Daniel Barron and the one on the bottom left (our dessert) was not. Can you see the difference? Well, I guess both are kind of incomplete. Basically, I didn’t get any bacon caramel sauce over my ice cream, which didn’t bother me nor did I notice.
He actually gave us another dessert because of that, and that ended our night quite nicely. The White Chocolate Shiso Mousse: Green Tea Genoise, Meyer Lemon Gelee, Freeze Dried Strawberry was a much prettier dessert compared to the Hot Banana Fritter & Bacon Caramel Ice Cream. It’s not a very sweet dessert and quite honestly I don’t really care for white chocolate so I would never have ordered this (Looking at the menu I would have probably ordered the Yuzu Meringue Pie: Blueberries, Rosemary, Cariander Meringue, Ritz Cracker). But the White Chocolate Shisu Mouse ended up being very interesting with shisu which is the Japanese name for Perilla or more commonly know as Japanese Basil. With the somewhat bitter green tea (mocha) sponge cake it was well balance.
Blush Ice Bar
555 Market St
San Diego, CA 92101