Sunday, March 17, 2024

Jeune et Jolie (Carlsbad, CA) [3]

Jeune & Jolie Restaurant
2659 State St, Carlsbad, CA 92008
Sun 03/17/2024, 08:00p-10:40p

Jeune et Jolie Exterior

I recently had to be in San Diego for work, and on the drive down, I made it a point to stop by Jeune et Jolie to see what Eric Bost was up to at the Michelin-starred, nouvelle French spot, which has quickly become one of the region's most essential eateries.

Jeune et Jolie Menu Jeune et Jolie Raw Bar Menu
Jeune et Jolie's menu format has remained the same since my last meal here. The restaurant offers a four-course prix fixe at $115 a head, with optional wine pairings at $75 and $95, supplemented by an array of raw bar dishes. Click for larger versions.

Jeune et Jolie Absinthe/Pastis List Jeune et Jolie Cocktail List Jeune et Jolie Cocktail/Mocktail List Jeune et Jolie Wine List: Champagne & Bubbles, White Jeune et Jolie Wine List: White, Rosé & Skin Contact, Red
Jeune et Jolie Wine List: Red, Dessert Jeune et Jolie Spirits List: Vodka, Gin, Rum & Cane Jeune et Jolie Spirits List: Tequila & Mezcal, Bourbon & Rye, Whisk(e)y Jeune et Jolie Spirits List: Brandy, Cognac, Armagnac, Calvados, Liqueur Jeune et Jolie Spirits List: Amari, Fortified
Here we see the selection of cocktails, (mostly French) wines, and spirits. Click for larger versions.

CROQUE MONSIEUR [$44.00] | black truffle. iberico ham. brioche. béchamel
Tonight's dinner commenced with an optional croque monsieur course, a straightforwardly satisfying couple bites that juxtaposed the trademark musk of black truffle with toasty brioche and salty ham, all while that béchamel brought everything together.

Semolina Puffs
Amuse-bouche duty was handled by these semolina puffed crackers, filled with what I believe was grilled eggplant purée and dusted with lightly fermented pepper. Think creamy and bitter at first blush, but with a growing savoriness and a great crunch.

OLD FASHIONED – Woodford Reserve Double Oak
OLD FASHIONED – Woodford Reserve Double Oak [$25.00] | bourbon. cognac. pineau des charentes. cacao. hazelnut. peach bitters
This modified old fashioned served as the evening's first cocktail, and fit the bill nicely. The drink smelled surprisingly sweet, almost candied, with a distinct caramel-y bent. However, the nose belied the palate, which was far more austere, its boozy, bitter, spicy notes bolstered just enough by some fruity, nutty nuances.

1a: POIREAU | leek. caviar. potato. egg yolk
Our first proper course was my favorite of the night, and in fact, was one of the best things I've eaten all year. I loved the sheer smoky savor of the charred leeks, and how that married with the saltiness of the caviar and the bright, vegetal nature of the accompanying sauce, with the potato mousseline moderating everything in stride. Confit yolk and crispy leeks added further interest to the dish, and overall, everything just came together beautifully.

1b: CRUDO | kampachi. asian pear. yellow bell pepper. yuzu
This rather monochromatic crudo also delivered. The fattiness and brine of the amberjack was on proud display, set against a very apparent citrusiness as well as this nutty component that I wasn't expecting. This was easily more interesting than most crudos I've had.

Seeded Brioche
Bread service tonight comprised a well-seasoned seeded brioche, paired with a soft, salty butter crowned with a dollop of assertively piquant tomato marmalade.

SWIZZLE [$17.00] | 'chartreuse'. celery. vin jaune. makrut. bay leaf
Our second cocktail arrived in a striking hue of green. It was also my favorite concoction of the night. I was a fan of its initial savory, vegetal notes, leading to the nutty, oxidative nature of vin jaune, before finishing with the right amount of sweetness. Very neat.

2a: SAINT JACQUES | scallop. king trumpet. green grape. sake. spruce
The scallop was another triumph, and quite simply the best version of the bivalve I've had in a while. It was perfectly cooked and caramelized, its supple, saline interior meshing like clockwork with the heft of the mushrooms while the grapes and spruce lightened the mood perfectly.

2b: PORC | klingeman farms pork. quince. endive. colatura caramel
Pork tenderloin was served pleasingly rare, and showed off a sophistication that contrasted well with the darker-toned portion of the meat on the plate. I much appreciated the bitterness and crunch provided by the Belgian endive, while a sweet, sticky colatura caramel helped bind the various elements together.

Savory Puff Pastries
Serving as a bit of an interlude were these savory puff pastries, filled with Parmigiano-boosted béchamel (which I guess would make it a Mornay) and topped with shaved winter truffle. You really can't go too wrong given those ingredients, and indeed, I wouldn't have minded popping a few more of these guys.

GIMLET [$18.00] | gin. savagnin. lime cordial. apple
This rejiggered gimlet was certainly to my liking. It had the astringency and botanicals I expected, but the key was the interplay between the gin and the drink's sweet, citrusy, fruity notes, making this more intriguing than your typical version of the classic cocktail.

3a: PERDRIX | partridge. morel. peas. vin jaune
It's pretty uncommon to find partridge on menus these days, so I was happy to see it offered tonight. The bird showcased a dense, plump texture, while its taste was rich and full, yet still delicate, and paired well with the sweeter flavors in the dish. At the same time, the mushrooms and peas worked great for contrast, and really completed the package.

3b: POISSON | sea bass. spinach. saffron. vanilla. warm spices
The sea bass was a winner as well. The fish arrived mouthwateringly juicy and elegantly saline, and was complemented by a buttery, citrusy sauce overarched by a plethora of warm, sweet spices. However, even more crucial was the spinach, which imparted a bitterness that really kept it all in balance.

MARGARITA [$18.00] | tequila. passion fruit. génépy. lime. absinthe
My penultimate cocktail was a margarita variation that was far more multifaceted than most, largely due to the herbal complexity imparted by that génépi. Big fan of that salted rim, too.

4a: CAFE-PANAIS | parsnip. coffee. pumpkin. grape
A parsnip coffee-inspired dessert demonstrated this surprisingly potent, soy-like umami note, I'm assuming from the parsnip, which was played against a coffee mousse and a number of sweetly-spiced, fruity elements.

4b: BABA AU RHUM | sorrel. apple. bergamot. olive oil
This reimagined rum baba did a great job conveying the bittersweet, floral warmth of bergamot, offset by olive oil cream, juicy bits of green apple, and the zesty sting of sorrel.

GOLDEN CADILLAC [$16.00] | grapefruit. pastis. bergamot. vanilla. cream
The evening's final cocktail made a lot of sense with dessert. I was pretty smitten by its creamy, sweetly-spiced nature, and all in all, the drink actually went in a bit of a South Asian direction for me, which I didn't mind at all.

Filo Tarts
Tonight's mignardises were these phyllo dough tarts, filled with quince, persimmon, and toasted meringue.

Dark Chocolate Sticks
Last up were sticks of dark chocolate, flavored with white cocoa butter, fennel, and burnt orange zest.

Based on tonight's dinner, I can see that Bost's cooking is progressing nicely, as the food seemed even bolder, even more confident than what I experienced on my last visit. However, the Chef isn't resting on his laurels. As I mentioned previously, he's teaming up with Jeune et Jolie owner John Resnick on two further projects in Carlsbad. First up is Wildland, an all-day cafe/bakery/bar, while more intriguing is Lilo, a chef's table tasting menu concept. Both are scheduled to open this year, so I'll try to check 'em out next time I'm down here.


Blogger H.Peter said...

Another great post.
Your images are really really good.
Charred leeks. Will have to try that in my kitchen/ (w/o the caviar)

Friday, June 07, 2024 9:50:00 PM  
Blogger kevinEats said...

But without caviar, you may want to include something else to impart the requisite salinity.

Sunday, June 09, 2024 4:37:00 AM  

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