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It’s been over a year since I lamented on the loss of a very talented chef when Red Velvet Wine Bar shut down last May. Every dish I enjoyed from chef Luke Johnson at the quaint yet luxurious Little Italy corner spot (which is now occupied by contemporary urban noodle house, Underbelly) was wow-worthy. Enough so, that I’ve made a conscious effort to keep my feelers out for information on him resurfacing on the local dining scene. For a while, he’d been contemplating leaving town for the Midwest. Thankfully, he’s decided to stay, and has found a restaurant that provides the perfect environment for his forward-thinking, cutting edge cuisine—The Sky Room at the La Valencia Hotel.

The Sky Room has been known as a posh spot for gourmet fare for a long time, but fell off the map after experimenting with offering an exclusive yet high roller-driven, uber-expensive dining experience just as our country plummeted into its recession. Things will likely be a bit different once Johnson assumes control of the kitchen. That will likely happen in mid-summer. Details are sketchy as to what he will offer since his signature is still fresh on the dotted line, but he says to expect what he was doing at Red Velvet, only cleaner. So, expect a myriad of spot-on textures, and interesting ingredients presented in beautiful and imaginative ways.

I’ll definitely be keeping my ear to the ground regarding developments around this tasty bit of news. Sky Room is located inside the La Valencia Hotel at 1132 Prospect Street in La Jolla.

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