Ed Bedford 11:44 p.m., June 19
Chef Brian Malarkey is well known for giving the entries on his menus names that range from tongue-in-cheek to downright confusing. Only a few weeks in, servers at his new Del Mar Highlands eatery, Burlap, have to be tired answering the common question, “What’s this?”
One of the dishes at his “Asian Cowboy” resto (for the most part, we’re talking large portions of meat and seafood flavored with Asian condiments) that can use a bit of explaining is the Eye of the Martini “Natural Viagra.” Named for its cast of aphrodisiacal and fertility-based ingredients, this item on the “Raw” portion of the menu is an edible shot served in a martini glass. In this dish, an oyster, uni (sea urchin that tastes a lot like an oyster - oceanic and briny on the palate, but a bit more delicate) and tobiko caviar (i.e. - flying fish roe) are brought together and enhanced by the yolk of a fresh-cracked quail egg.
Yuzu ponzu gives this quartet (which is rounded out with ground daikon and green onions) a rich, salty, earthen punch to balance out all that sea fare. It’s quite exquisite—the type of one-and-out taste experience you wish you could have more of—and a big step above oyster shooters. Burlap is located at 1555 Camino del Mar.