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Top of the food chain

Fine dining at Eddie V's

Kung Pao Calamari with tasty, spicy sauce
Kung Pao Calamari with tasty, spicy sauce
Place

Eddie V's

789 W. Harbor Drive, San Diego

I wouldn’t have expected top-notch fine dining from a mammoth national organization like Darden (which owns 2100 restaurants, including Olive Garden), but because my fancy foodie friends Bill and Jane approved of and recommended it, I knew Eddie V’s Prime Seafood had to be in a different class of chain restaurants.

David and I have been spending a bunch of time down at the Headquarters at Seaport District, an easy-to-navigate “open-air lifestyle center” that is home to cute boutique shops and renowned fine fare such as Venissimo cheese.

On this particular evening, David and I made reservations at the restaurant because prior to dinner, we were planning to be at an art show next door at preFAB, to see a painting series by Matt Stallings and Terri Beth Mitchell called the Human Head Collection (fun fact, one of the paintings was a portrait Terri painted of me, with a little David in the palm of my hand).

Painting by Terri Beth Mitchell

But back to the restaurant. Live jazz was being played in the bar area, but we were seated upstairs, at a pleasantly quiet table in the corner. I noted that every time I said, “Thank you” — for bringing us menus, for refilling water, for pouring the wine — our server responded automatically with, “My pleasure.” That’s right out of the five-star hotel playbook. From beginning to end the service was nothing short of obsequious, but it never felt pandering. We were pleased to soon find that the food was just as deluxe as the service.

This bread and butter is delicious

We began with calamari, a spicy and delicious Kung Pao-style preparation with roasted cashews that magically maintained their heat.

Next we shared the crab and corn chowder, a silky, succulent soup that hit every note on our taste buds, resulting in an orchestra of pleasure on our tongues. Sweet corn, salty smoked bacon, a rich blend of yum.

Crab and corn chowder, a must try

While we were still moaning over the chowder (and the crusty-on-the-outside, moist-on-the-inside fresh bread served alongside fresh butter that was topped with Hawaiian red salt and chives), steak was served to the table beside us. I watched as the servers went around the table with a flashlight to confirm that the meat had been cooked to each diner’s requested preference. Then, rather than placing the side dishes in the center of the table, servers asked each person which sides they would like, and distributed spoonfuls of veggies, potatoes, and whatever else they ordered directly onto their plates.

A fantastic preparation of halibut

The place is most known for seafood, so David and I opted for fish over steak. I got the Alaskan halibut, which was sautéed with sweet corn, morels, edamame, and pork shank. As with the soup, each flavor stood out but did not compete with the others. The pork was lightly salty and so lean in texture it was difficult to distinguish the pork pieces from the morels. My fish was a little overcooked, but I decided not to bother with sending it back and instead accepted the unfortunate texture (particularly around the outside) and concentrated on all those glorious flavors.

Hong Kong style Chilean sea bass

David ordered Chilean sea bass “Hong Kong” style, which was a much simpler preparation than my halibut. The sea bass was steamed in a miso broth, and set atop wilted spinach. Both cuts of fish were thick and lovely.

As we’d expect from market-priced fish, fine wine, and excellent service, the tab was not cheap (around $250 including tax and tip). But it was romantic and luxurious, and we left with no regrets. The entire evening, and how we felt about it, is best summed up by the words I found when I went to check out Eddie V’s web site: “Man cannot live by music, wine, and fine dining alone. But it’s worth exploring. Here’s to living it up.”

I’ll drink to that.

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Kung Pao Calamari with tasty, spicy sauce
Kung Pao Calamari with tasty, spicy sauce
Place

Eddie V's

789 W. Harbor Drive, San Diego

I wouldn’t have expected top-notch fine dining from a mammoth national organization like Darden (which owns 2100 restaurants, including Olive Garden), but because my fancy foodie friends Bill and Jane approved of and recommended it, I knew Eddie V’s Prime Seafood had to be in a different class of chain restaurants.

David and I have been spending a bunch of time down at the Headquarters at Seaport District, an easy-to-navigate “open-air lifestyle center” that is home to cute boutique shops and renowned fine fare such as Venissimo cheese.

On this particular evening, David and I made reservations at the restaurant because prior to dinner, we were planning to be at an art show next door at preFAB, to see a painting series by Matt Stallings and Terri Beth Mitchell called the Human Head Collection (fun fact, one of the paintings was a portrait Terri painted of me, with a little David in the palm of my hand).

Painting by Terri Beth Mitchell

But back to the restaurant. Live jazz was being played in the bar area, but we were seated upstairs, at a pleasantly quiet table in the corner. I noted that every time I said, “Thank you” — for bringing us menus, for refilling water, for pouring the wine — our server responded automatically with, “My pleasure.” That’s right out of the five-star hotel playbook. From beginning to end the service was nothing short of obsequious, but it never felt pandering. We were pleased to soon find that the food was just as deluxe as the service.

This bread and butter is delicious

We began with calamari, a spicy and delicious Kung Pao-style preparation with roasted cashews that magically maintained their heat.

Next we shared the crab and corn chowder, a silky, succulent soup that hit every note on our taste buds, resulting in an orchestra of pleasure on our tongues. Sweet corn, salty smoked bacon, a rich blend of yum.

Crab and corn chowder, a must try

While we were still moaning over the chowder (and the crusty-on-the-outside, moist-on-the-inside fresh bread served alongside fresh butter that was topped with Hawaiian red salt and chives), steak was served to the table beside us. I watched as the servers went around the table with a flashlight to confirm that the meat had been cooked to each diner’s requested preference. Then, rather than placing the side dishes in the center of the table, servers asked each person which sides they would like, and distributed spoonfuls of veggies, potatoes, and whatever else they ordered directly onto their plates.

A fantastic preparation of halibut

The place is most known for seafood, so David and I opted for fish over steak. I got the Alaskan halibut, which was sautéed with sweet corn, morels, edamame, and pork shank. As with the soup, each flavor stood out but did not compete with the others. The pork was lightly salty and so lean in texture it was difficult to distinguish the pork pieces from the morels. My fish was a little overcooked, but I decided not to bother with sending it back and instead accepted the unfortunate texture (particularly around the outside) and concentrated on all those glorious flavors.

Hong Kong style Chilean sea bass

David ordered Chilean sea bass “Hong Kong” style, which was a much simpler preparation than my halibut. The sea bass was steamed in a miso broth, and set atop wilted spinach. Both cuts of fish were thick and lovely.

As we’d expect from market-priced fish, fine wine, and excellent service, the tab was not cheap (around $250 including tax and tip). But it was romantic and luxurious, and we left with no regrets. The entire evening, and how we felt about it, is best summed up by the words I found when I went to check out Eddie V’s web site: “Man cannot live by music, wine, and fine dining alone. But it’s worth exploring. Here’s to living it up.”

I’ll drink to that.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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