>> Thursday, June 14, 2012
Price: $6-11 happy hour
Location: 1660 Coast Ave, Del Mar, CA 92014
The Quick Bit:+ great coastal view
+ discounted happy hour food
+ fast friendly service
Δ cooking temperatures could have been more accurate
Δ drinks could have been discounted
Jake's Del Mar is one of those restaurants that gets mentioned when people want to dine at a place with a great Ocean View. Generally, this means that the money you pay goes more into the rent than the food so the quality suffers. It also generally means you're paying a lot more than usual.
Enter happy hour - with discounted food at happy hour, Jake's becomes an affordable option for dining with a great atmosphere. "Bistro" dishes are discounted 40-50% and range from $6-$11. I decided to check out this happy hour option.
|ahi poke rolls - chili and soy dipping sauce|
This one the one item we ordered that wasn't on the bistro menu. I imagined getting a roll that was more like a spring roll filled with the freshest and most succulent raw hawaiian poke. The photo speaks for itself as to what the result was.
|grilled prawns - basil, prosciutto wrapped, melon vinaigrette|
This was my favorite dish of the evening. The prosciutto wrapped prawns were cooked well and the crunch and saltiness of the prosciutto highlighted the prawns. On top of it, the melon salad was very refreshing as was the sauce.
|layered seafood cocktail - shrimp, lobster, avocado, orange chili sauce|
While I enoyed the seafood in the cocktail, the entire dish was missing a glue element to bring it together. The orange chili sauce really didn't work for me as it drowned out all the great flavors of the cocktail.
|carlsbad mussels - coconut lime broth, tomato, cilantro, seabeans|
The mussels were well cooked and flavorful. I really enjoyed the mussels and there were a great addition to the happy hour.
|crispy calamari - macadamia nut crusted, sweet and sour glaze|
Surprisingly, this dish really worked for me and was my second favorite of the night. The calamari was cooked to be perfectly tender and the macadmia nut in the crust came through to add a rich nuttiness. While I usually hate sweet and sour sauces, this one (used sparingly) seemed to provide that tiny bit of counterpoint to the fried crust.
|jake's bistro burger - grilled onions and tillamook cheddar|
To finish off, there was the standard burger. To their credit, I ordered medium rare and got a medium rare burger. The fries were fried well and were very crisp. Overall, I thought it was a great value for a $6 burger.
Jake's is not going to be winning a michelin star anytime soon. That said, Jake's does not set out to accomplish culinary perfection; ultimately this lack of pretentiousness works heavily in their favor. What Jake's offers is american food with a Hawaiian twist with a drop dead gorgeous ocean view.
Taken at happy hour pricing, this entire experience comes at an affordable price with a few nice dishes. Overall, it was a great way to spend an early Friday evening, and I encourage others to stop by as well.