Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Kelvin at the W San Diego

The W Hotel in San Diego recently underwent a breathtaking renovation, and along with the changes in décor, a new restaurant emerged. Welcome to Kelvin! A fresh and original restaurant, Kelvin is the type of hip place that could only be a part of the W. The vibe is extremely chic and plays well on the temperature theme, with understated flames woven into the décor. I love the color scheme – deep oranges played off of royal teal.
New chef Kevin Harry has devised a gourmet, inventive menu based on the concept of shared plates – small plates of delicious tapas to be shared with the table, encouraging a social dining experience. The tables are large to accommodate several parties, so the shared plates concept is particularly fitting.

We started our evening with some comforting corn chowder, made with chili oil and garnished with popcorn. I’ve never cared for corn chowder before – I usually find it far too sweet for a soup. However, I loved this chowder! The consistency was very creamy, with a buttery flavor, complimented very well by a dash of chili flavor. The popcorn garnish added an unexpected texture.

Our next course was the compressed watermelon. The watermelon is pressed to compact the juices and maximize the flavor. The dish is then garnished with blue cheese and a balsamic reduction. The end result is a fresh, slightly sweet, rich flavor played against a salty cheese. This dish would be wonderfully refreshing on a hot day.

Our next course was the rolled pork tacos. The pork is marinated, then slowly cooked over several hours, then shredded and rolled into a taco, which is then baked. The pork was very tender, with a smoky sweet flavor. Served with a side of sour cream and sauces atop a mix of jicama and mango, these tacos were very filling and delicious.

The mojito shrimp was probably my favorite dish! Fresh shrimp are marinated in rum and lime, then basted with the same sauce, they smelled just like a mojito! The flavor was quite sweet, but the slightly salty seafood flavor of the shrimp tempered the sweetness. 

The duck quesadillas were up next, and as most of my regular readers probably know, I love duck! These quesadillas were made with duck confit, which is the best method of preparing duck. Served between two mini corn tortillas with mushroom, caramelized onions, and brie cheese, these quesadillas were a delicious meeting of Tex Mex and Haute French cuisine. The flavors were perfection, and the duck was extremely tender.

Our last dish of dinner is not yet on the menu, but can be requested – and you should! The final item was a halibut steak seared, then baked to ideal temperature (read, not raw!), then drizzled with a saffron vanilla sauce, topped with delicate French fried onions. The presentation alone for this dish was gorgeous, but the taste was phenomenal! Halibut is a sturdy fish that has a wonderful taste, but easily absorbs other flavors, and the vanilla saffron sauce was so unique!

After all of that, we were pretty full, but of course we had dessert! Banana hazelnut spring rolls and café con leche crème brulee! The crème brulee is a coffee-flavored confection served in a cup with spoons, a nice play on the idea of an after-dinner coffee. The flavor of the coffee was present, but did not overpower the classic vanilla flavors of a crème brulee. Homemade whipped cream topping pushed this dessert over the edge in its yum factor.

The banana spring rolls were to die for! Served hot with homemade whipped cream, the bananas were rolled into a wonton wrapper, deep fried, then rolled in a spicy cinnamon sugar. These are messy, but so, so luscious! A hint of piquant chili takes them from a simple banana dessert to something much more gourmet and intriguing.

The W Hotel has been recognized for some time as an innovator with its hotels’ décor and service. Even if you aren’t a guest, Kelvin is so worth checking out. Dine in their cozy dining room, or order some dishes for the wonderful deck. I promise, you feel ten times more hip just walking in the door!

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July 11, 2012 / by / 2 Comments


Mary said...

I'll be visiting here very soon so it was fun to see what you tried! The watermelon and the shrimp sound particularly intriguing to me.

Unknown said...

Today is a perfect day for that watermelon salad! Yum!

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