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Chandelier Lounge brings something unique to Jamul

It might be a good time for that scenic drive down Campo Road

The dining room of still new Jamul restaurant, Chandelier Lounge Cuisine
The dining room of still new Jamul restaurant, Chandelier Lounge Cuisine

On the approach to Jamul, Campo Road wends between tree and scrub-colored hill slopes, blithely rising and falling among rugged peaks and large clusters of boulders. Though fewer than 20 miles from the densest center of downtown, the route lives up to its name — country road, if you care to translate — and the illusion is not broken when I cruise into the parking lot outside Chandelier Lounge Cuisine, to find a swarthy cowboy, cantering by on a dark gray horse made striking by a silvery mane and tail.

Place

Chandelier Lounge Cuisine

13881 Campo Rd., Jamul, CA

Then I walk into the restaurant. The first thing I notice is a white baby grand piano in the near corner of a dining room set with white linen, an abundance of carefully manicured plants providing splashes of green against whitewashed brick walls and arched, French pane windows. And sure enough, chandeliers droop from the ceiling throughout Chandelier Lounge. The mismatching set includes fixtures made of brass, of crystal, of wood. They’re hung at different heights, lending to the breezy elegance installed throughout the place.

Chandelier Lounge opened three weeks before the pandemic arrived.

I take a look out the window, just to be sure. Campo Road, rolling hillsides, cowboy: all three, check! Yes, we’re still in Jamul.

A cowboy guides his horse outside the restaurant window.

Chandelier Lounge Cuisine definitely wasn’t here the last time I visited Jamul. In fact, it opened a couple months after the new year. Rather, 2020 new year. Maybe it would have made a new restaurant splash had it not opened amid interesting times. At any rate, the lavishly decorated eatery is already teetering on best-kept-secret status among those in the Jamul area looking for a culinary reason to emerge from isolation. You can’t replace this atmosphere in a parking lot.

The western burger, with bacon and swiss

While vibe alone makes Chandelier Lounge an interesting find, it’s the food that sets it apart. A scratch kitchen serves just a little bit of everything, from omelets to pasta, hot sandwiches to steaks, from vegetarian entrees to chicken fingers appetizers. Somehow, it’s the sort of place you might go for a bacon cheeseburger ($10), just as easily as you would a pan-broiled sea bass in lobster sauce ($20).

A creamy, spicy, jambalaya pasta with chicken and shrimp

One of the restaurant’s early favorites is a creamy Jambalaya ($21), served over pasta rather than rice, with shrimp and chicken. The day I walked in, I got to enjoy a savory Mexican special, carne en su jugo (meat in its own juices), which features the trimmed ends of the steaks on the menu — filet, ribeye, sirloin, and New York — stewed with tomatillo along with beans and bacon ($20). It wasn’t much for a camera to look at, but the dish easily won me over with a balanced marriage of spicy, tangy, salty, and savory flavors. And warm corn tortillas.

The Daily Dose coffee bar, within Chandelier Lounge Cuisine

Chandelier Lounge is family owned and operated, in part because even centrally located restaurants are struggling to staff during this great reopening. Leading the enterprise is chef and owner Georgina Márquez, a longtime caterer who had uncanny luck opening a fixed-location restaurant when she did. Connected to Chandelier Lounge is another newer addition to Jamul, the coffee bar, Daily Dose Coffee, opened by her barista son. With the pandemic (hopefully) in the rear view, the family is giving plenty of us reason to make that country drive.

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The dining room of still new Jamul restaurant, Chandelier Lounge Cuisine
The dining room of still new Jamul restaurant, Chandelier Lounge Cuisine

On the approach to Jamul, Campo Road wends between tree and scrub-colored hill slopes, blithely rising and falling among rugged peaks and large clusters of boulders. Though fewer than 20 miles from the densest center of downtown, the route lives up to its name — country road, if you care to translate — and the illusion is not broken when I cruise into the parking lot outside Chandelier Lounge Cuisine, to find a swarthy cowboy, cantering by on a dark gray horse made striking by a silvery mane and tail.

Place

Chandelier Lounge Cuisine

13881 Campo Rd., Jamul, CA

Then I walk into the restaurant. The first thing I notice is a white baby grand piano in the near corner of a dining room set with white linen, an abundance of carefully manicured plants providing splashes of green against whitewashed brick walls and arched, French pane windows. And sure enough, chandeliers droop from the ceiling throughout Chandelier Lounge. The mismatching set includes fixtures made of brass, of crystal, of wood. They’re hung at different heights, lending to the breezy elegance installed throughout the place.

Chandelier Lounge opened three weeks before the pandemic arrived.

I take a look out the window, just to be sure. Campo Road, rolling hillsides, cowboy: all three, check! Yes, we’re still in Jamul.

A cowboy guides his horse outside the restaurant window.

Chandelier Lounge Cuisine definitely wasn’t here the last time I visited Jamul. In fact, it opened a couple months after the new year. Rather, 2020 new year. Maybe it would have made a new restaurant splash had it not opened amid interesting times. At any rate, the lavishly decorated eatery is already teetering on best-kept-secret status among those in the Jamul area looking for a culinary reason to emerge from isolation. You can’t replace this atmosphere in a parking lot.

The western burger, with bacon and swiss

While vibe alone makes Chandelier Lounge an interesting find, it’s the food that sets it apart. A scratch kitchen serves just a little bit of everything, from omelets to pasta, hot sandwiches to steaks, from vegetarian entrees to chicken fingers appetizers. Somehow, it’s the sort of place you might go for a bacon cheeseburger ($10), just as easily as you would a pan-broiled sea bass in lobster sauce ($20).

A creamy, spicy, jambalaya pasta with chicken and shrimp

One of the restaurant’s early favorites is a creamy Jambalaya ($21), served over pasta rather than rice, with shrimp and chicken. The day I walked in, I got to enjoy a savory Mexican special, carne en su jugo (meat in its own juices), which features the trimmed ends of the steaks on the menu — filet, ribeye, sirloin, and New York — stewed with tomatillo along with beans and bacon ($20). It wasn’t much for a camera to look at, but the dish easily won me over with a balanced marriage of spicy, tangy, salty, and savory flavors. And warm corn tortillas.

The Daily Dose coffee bar, within Chandelier Lounge Cuisine

Chandelier Lounge is family owned and operated, in part because even centrally located restaurants are struggling to staff during this great reopening. Leading the enterprise is chef and owner Georgina Márquez, a longtime caterer who had uncanny luck opening a fixed-location restaurant when she did. Connected to Chandelier Lounge is another newer addition to Jamul, the coffee bar, Daily Dose Coffee, opened by her barista son. With the pandemic (hopefully) in the rear view, the family is giving plenty of us reason to make that country drive.

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Comments
1

Upon first glance at the headline, I thought that somehow Ian had done a review of the eatery in that monstrosity casino in Jamul. This place seems most out-of-character with the rough and ready image of Jamul and all points east on Hwy 94. Sounds wonderful, enough to entice me from No County to E County for a meal. Since I ra threly get out that way nowadays, that may be a while. Hope it stays around for a long time.

May 5, 2021

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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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