The year 2023 ended with us visiting two of my favorite venues of the year.
The previous column covered the culinary genius of Chef Q, Quinnton Austin, at Little Italy’s Coco Maya. This column covers the same level of culinary genius and creativity as executive chef and owner Christophe Cevasco of Beeside Balcony, with locations in Olde Del Mar and his newest site on Prospect Street next to the well-known venue, The Spot, in La Jolla.
Despite the bustling holiday dinner that Chef Christophe and his team were preparing, he spent a generous amount of time going over the current Beeside Balcony menu that the Del Mar and La Jolla locations share and updates from our last Del Mar visit.
Chef Christophe leans on his years of kitchen and managing partner experience from nearby Eddie V’s La Jolla location and Valentino in Las Vegas to be an effective proprietor and executive chef, mastering both the kitchen and back-end operations.
“As the proprietor and executive chef, I have total creativity and control,” he said. “I want Beeside to be ‘flip-flop fine dining’ that is casual and approachable with high quality.”
Get ready to hear the phrase “best of” several times. My first “best of” is the Bee’s Board. This charcuterie board is piled wide and high with artichoke hummus, spicy htipiti (red pepper and feta), honey goat cheese (with honey from Christophe’s own beehive), gorgonzola, salami, cucumbers, olives, freshly toasted pita, and the best ever red onion marmalade.
The board is a perfect starter for four or more and could even be a great meal to enjoy while watching Prospect Street from above.
After enjoying the Bee’s Board, we tried several other appetizers. The first was the crab cake with meaty chunks of crusted blue lump crab and a zesty remoulade. We also had Spanish Octopus with arugula, lemon truffle vinaigrette, and red onions.
Most associate octopus with being rubbery and chewy. Christophe’s was perfectly prepared with braising and then searing to create a succulent flavor profile with depth. The third starter was the petite caprese salad with baby heirloom tomatoes speared with soft, creamy mozzarella and EVOO on a bed of arugula and topped with fresh basil and a balsamic glaze.
I paired the Bee’s Board and appetizers with a glass of Austin Hope Cabernet Sauvignon. The Paso cab was a great companion with my board and appetizers — so much so that I had a second glass with dinner.
Beeside offers a nice collection of custom cocktails, mimosas, sangria, local beers, and mocktails, as well as a wine list of bubbles, whites and reds from California and throughout the world.
For dinner, at the suggestion of Christophe, I had pork osso bucco. This is a fairly new item for Beeside and is deserving of another “best of” mention. The pork shank entrée was beautifully presented with a garlic polenta cake, tomatoes, carrots and celery in a white wine sauce with a rosemary and thyme garnish.
While I had a knife, the fork-split pork separated with little effort, rendering the knife unnecessary. I loved this entrée and highly recommend it.
My wife had the scallop entrée for her main. For me, scallops can be a hit or miss, coming down to preparation. Chef Christophe’s were a huge hit. They were perfectly seared with Spanish chorizo and toasted almonds, topped with a mango citrus sauce plated with a cauliflower puree.
One more “best of.” The Baklava ice cream pie is as eye-appealing as it is flavorful. This is a decadent dessert with layered house-made baklava and vanilla ice cream, walnuts, nutmeg and a cinnamon honey drizzle.
I can’t recommend Beeside Balcony enough, either their Del Mar or La Jolla locations, for a date night, a special occasion or an evening with friends.
Thank you, chef Christophe, manager Xianna, and server Meredith, for a special evening! Get more information on Beeside Balcony at beesidebalcony.com.
— Story by Rico Cassoni
— West End Bar & Kitchen in Del Mar is hosting a Frank Family Vineyards Wine Dinner on Thursday, Feb. 8 at 6 p.m. Guests will experience wines from Frank Family’s 380-acre estate in Napa Valley. The main course features coffee-rubbed brisket with potatoes lyonnaise paired with 2021 Frank Family Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. Cost is $120 per person and includes tax/gratuity. RSVP at westenddelmar.com or 858-259-5878.
— Doug Margerum from Santa Barbara’s Margerum Wine Company will be in San Diego for several upcoming wine dinners. The first is a five-course dinner with Chef Erin Sealy at Carlsbad’s La Costa Wine Company on Tuesday, Feb. 6 at 6:30 p.m. Menu details are in progress. Cost is $120 and includes tax/gratuity. RSVP at winepairsevents.com. Future Margerum events are also scheduled for San Diego’s Wine Vault & Bistro. Details forthcoming.
Rico Cassoni is executive producer for Taste of Wine and Food. He and founder/advisor Frank Mangio, a renowned wine connoisseur certified by Wine Spectator, are two of the leading reviewers on the web. Reach them at [email protected].