Walter Mencken 10 a.m., Oct. 9
Urban Kitchen, Jack Fisher get their just desserts
It’s not as well documented as my love for, say…beer, but I do have quite the sweet tooth. The reason I don’t write about desserts as much as I do savory fare is because, by the time I get to the final course of the evening, my stomach usually is filled to capacity and unable to take on tortes, pot de cremes, and the like. Still, there are some restaurants with pastry chefs so gifted they inspire me to employ dietary discipline, leaving room for their confections.
One of the guys at the top of that short list of dessert experts is Jack Fisher. For years, he has hovered near the apex of San Diego’s sugar hill, serving up intricate, cutting edge desserts; delectable masterpieces that would look at home in any of the world’s upper echelon temples of haute cuisine. Fittingly, those elegant end-notes have comprised the dessert menu at NINE-TEN, a white linen eatery at The Grande Colonial hotel in La Jolla regarded as one of the best restaurants in San Diego.
Although he dares to delve into ingredients and flavor combinations that go beyond the chocolate, peanut butter, caramel norm, Fisher has yet to disappoint me with any of his desserts. That’s an unblemished record dating back over four years. Still, I have had one complaint—accessibility. NINE-TEN is one of my favorite restaurants, but it’s the stuff of special occasions, rendering the opportunities for diners of average financial means (like me) to indulge in Fisher's treats few and far between.
But that’s all changed.
Fisher, who also worked at Addison, Loews Coronado, and the San Diego Sheraton over the past 20 years, has moved on from NINE-TEN to take a new position that will provide him much greater exposure. Urban Kitchen Group has hired him to head dessert production for all of their restaurants—Cucina Urbana in Bankers Hill, Kensington Grill, Cucina Enoteca in Irvine, and Urban Kitchen Catering. In addition to confections, he will also be responsible for baking artisanal breads and developing a cheese program.
Cucina Urbana is already one of the most popular and consistently packed restaurants in San Diego proper. This move will only up that communally geared Italian restaurant’s appeal while upping the luster for its sister operations.