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With school starting this week, the summer is beginning to wine down. Luckily San Diego continues to have beautiful weather for longer than that! We were invited to check out the summer-only dinner menu at The Cottage La Jolla. Most people are familiar with this restaurant's popular brunch so we were curious how an evening meal would be! Plus, it's always wonderful to enjoy a quiet dinner on a patio with a loved one.
It was a lovely Tuesday night to dine. The breeze was soft and the candles were already lit on the patio!
There's also seating inside but everyone sat outside to enjoy the serenity of the summer evening. We picked out a couple of items and waited patiently for our meal.
Capellini Crabcakes ($14) - pan seared lump crab, old bay aioli
Did we order noodles? That was the first thing that popped into my head when I saw this unique take on Crab Cake breading. The crispier noodle shell really pulled the soft crab together. The crab mix had minimum filler and was very lightly seasoned, working well with the slightly tangy aioli. The huge patties seemed like something we could easily put into a burger as well! The simple bed of arugula was last to leave on the plate... maybe some folks enjoy it raw but we'd probably enjoy it more with some kind of dressing.
Ahi Nachos ($14) - seared ahi, wonton chips, asian vegetables, ginger vinaigrette, wasabi cream
We had no idea this appetizer would be so massive! Tuna on chips! These cuts felt very meaty but the vinaigrette could have used a tad bit more salt. I could definitely feel the slight burn from the wasabi cream though! The crunchy chips were sturdy and six pieces would be easy to share with a group! Surprisingly, all the portions here at The Cottage were bigger than we had anticipated!
Dennis ordered a drink too although I've already forgotten the name. The frothy layer reminded me of passion fruit bubbles. The liquid was juice-like and easy on the alcohol.
Crispy Fried Shrimp Tacos ($16) - grilled pineapple, corn salsa, cumin sour cream, napa cabbage, corn tortilla; Cottage Fish Tacos ($16) - corn tortilla, cilantro-avocado sauce, napa cabbage, pico de gallo, sour cream
Since it was Tuesday, it seemed like a taco kind of day. Typically two tacos come in each plate with a side of black beans. We were able to request one of each flavor instead. The favorite was the shrimp, freshly battered with a crispy crunch and some sweetness here and there from the pineapple. The fish was dressed with a yummy cilantro-avocado sauce but needed a little more of it. There was just so much cabbage everywhere and it seemed a little expensive for the portions.
Pepper Crusted Salmon ($22) - sweet potato hash, haricot verts, tarragon butter, crispy bacon a la plancha
My absolute favorite dish of the night paired healthy fish with a bit of indulgence! The main star was the salmon, presented with a lovely pepper crust and moist meat. The accompanying sweet potatoes were perfectly bite size and generously sprinkled with crisp caramelized bacon. It was a satisfying oiliness of bacon with the sauted sweet potato that kept me digging in, even as Dennis urged me to save room for dessert!
Cheesecake - peanut butter, chocolate, strawberries and raspberries
The desserts were stored in a showcase just inside the restaurant. We ended up with the Peanut Butter Cheesecake, subtle but creamy PB taste. Berries added a little fruity tart to it. The only miss was that dessert seemed to be drowning in chocolate sauce (kind of Hersheys sweet).
On the Tuesday night we dined, there was live music just a table's length away from us! Mr. Vinny Dee serenades the crowd every Tuesday night! His eyes were closed as his passionate voice and guitar strumming filled our hearts with soulful songs.
Dinner was comfortable but nothing too fancy. We have yet to try their brunch (lines are crazy on the weekends) but are looking forward to experiencing their best known feature soon. The lunch sandwiches like the crab melt are tempting too! This is the last week for summer dinners so stop by while you still have a chance. If you miss out, it will be back next summer and the ever popular brunch is reliably year-round!
Disclaimer: We were invited to dine here and the food was complimentary. We were not otherwise compensated and all opinions stated are my own.
The Cottage (La Jolla)
7702 Fay Avenue
La Jolla CA 92037