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When we were invited for a San Diego Restaurant Week (SDRW) preview at Tidal in Mission Bay, I expected delicious food but was also blown away by the gorgeous views of the water! I'm rarely in the Mission Bay area so was positively radiating with excitement from my surroundings!
Outside the restaurant is a pier area and Dennis told me he found this "private island" while taking pictures! The picture on the right shows what's on the island. I could imagine someone using it for a small private wedding ceremony! Paradise Point, the company that owns the restaurant, has quite a bit of land in this area!
The patio was great but it was a tad too bright for pictures. After we basked in the sunshine, we were seated inside the main dining hall close to the windows with a view! I couldn't help but admire the pretty hanging lights in this huge hall. To our left was the open kitchen, allowing us a sneak peek into the cooking arena!
The majority of the menu items for SDRW were off-menu creations by Tidal's Chef Ami DiBiase so their corresponding ingredients were to arrive right when restaurant week begins, which is from Sunday September 25th through Sunday October 2th 2016! Due to this, the regular menu intersected with only four SDRW items. For each course, we decided to order the one available SDRW item and have free reign on the other!
Albacore Tartar - crushed avocado + lemon-caper dressing + purple potato chips + masago
This item wasn't on the SDRW menu but caught our interest immediately. The albacore was fresh and the mixed in avocado gave it a creamy consistancy. The flavor was brightened with a citrus zest which contrasted nicely to the salted mini potato chips. Bright orange fish eggs filled the nooks and crannies of your mouth. The frisee top layer was lightly oiled and salty but worked together as a whole to make this an amazing appetizer.
Rapini & Mushroom Flatbread - roasted onion & garlic cream + mushroom + majoram + fontina
I guess I don't do flatbreads often because the flat bread crust totally reminded me of thin saltine crackers rather than pizza! It was just slightly over toasted for my preference but remained crunchy and held the ingredients without breaking! Dennis mentioned that it was rich from the cheese yet mild at the same time from the greens. All in all, it just didn't pop like the albacore tartar.
Apple Cider-Coriander Glazed Pork Cheeks - walnut-celery root puree + creme fraiche brussels sprouts + pickled apple
For the meat, you can already see how tender and easy the meat rips off! It was topped with a thick sweet glaze that got me daydreaming about delicious fall menus! Dennis noted that the pork cheeks were not sticky like the beef cheeks we had at The Marine Room.
The greens in the back were similar to cole slaw but instead used brussels sprouts that were warmed! There was a very slight bitterness to the raw vegetables but the creme fresca helped tone it down. The Brussels seemed to be a good palate cleanser after the meat!
Duck Confit - local shelling beans + applewood bacon lardon + kale
How can anyone resist a little confit? Let's start with the surroundings. The sauce around the beans was very subtle without a strong flavor. Instead we tasted more of the ham-sized and thicker cut chunks of bacon over the beans. The beans themselves were more au natural so did seem plain if eaten by themselves.
The main star of the dish was the duck though! This had a light and crsipy skin and the inside layers of meat retained some saltiness, possibly from brining! I'd say it was maybe one tick too salty for me but I like my food with minimal salt! But hey, that meat was just fall off tender for duck meat and not chewy! I sense a ploy here... strong main courses and mild unconflicting sides IMHO.
Banana Chocolate Tart
I'm not big on sweets but THiS creation is what I'd come for! It's not over extravagant but inside there's banana pudding with thin banana slices that has got me like putty in its hands! The combo of that with hardened chocolate shell, OREO crust, and lightly sweetened caramel suce just shocked my dessert taste buds! OMG I love it. Extraordinary Des... who?
Apple Galette - honey date jam + walnut crust + creme fraiche gelato
Dennis's food brain works differently than mine. He said it reminds him a little of oatmeal for the crust. Like an apple pie with a flakey and crumbly shell, slightly sweet toward top of crust. The apple beneath isn't sugary plus it has a nice firmer chew to it. Personally, I think the crust is a little too thick and crumbly but with all the components together, it definitely worked! I love the ice cream the best!
After we finished, one of the bussers came by to pick up our trays and in all seriousness asked us "Are you ready for dessert?" We all laughed as we rubbed our full tummies.
We noticed the nearby bar was cleared of a recent large party and commented at how the chairs were perfectly angled! Maybe a feng shui thing? Before our food came, Dennis ordered a peach bourbon drink which went down smoothly. This drink was said to have a subtle peach flavor, enough to cut the strength of the bourbon without diluting or overpowering it! The strength was hidden under the fruity taste so the effects came on fast, perhaps enhanced by empty stomachs!
There's plenty of seating including a side area that has curtains to separate into a private area if needed. We also spotted some cozy looking nooks as well!
We had a splendid evening at Tidal but it was time to go home. I made Dennis take out his camera once more to catch the "night" view on the way out. Isn't that moonlit blue water relaxing?
Restaurant week starts this weekend on Sunday September 27 until October 2 and Tidal is one of many fabulous options to pick! Come check out Tidal for yourself and see the full list and menus at SanDiegoRestaurantWeek.com!
Disclaimer: We were invited to dine here and our meal was complimentary. We were not otherwise compensated and all opinions stated are our own.
Tidal Seasonal Craft & Catch
1404 Vacation Road
San Diego CA 92109