Eddie V’s: A Cut Above
It’s easy to become enamored with the airy sea foam, marble and dark wood-dotted minimalist chic dining room or a breathtaking view of the La Jolla Shores coastline, but quality and quantity outweigh those bonuses (figuratively and literally) at Eddie V’s, a Prospect Street standout where V stands for “victory” for seekers of tasty, substantial fare.
A deft wait staff in white jackets matching the crisp linens conveys the respectful service and dignity of a classic steak and seafood house. That mood is further set courtesy of a menu that includes the standards — freshly shucked oysters, crab cakes, seafood bisque, equally gargantuan steaks and lobster tails both sharing space and stress-testing serving dishes. But don’t arrive expecting the same old thing. Innovative touches and bold flavor combinations render Eddie V’s a cut above.
Take, for instance, that crab cake. Chef Chris Gardner inserts a round of bread into a ring mold, tops that with a hefty portion of jumbo lump Jonah crab meat, then bakes the cake to golden brown perfection before inverting it onto a chive remoulade adorned plate. Eddie V’s version of this dish may take the cake as the best in all of San Diego.
Another ubiquitous item given new life is a tuna tartare appetizer where a layer of pristine, Sriracha and curry oil-dressed ahi is served atop a foundation of sweet mango salsa, and flanked on all sides by sesame and Parmesan cheese-crusted crackers and tiny mounds of avocado, mango, and grapefruit. Unabashedly spicy, but deliciously so, the dish is not for the faint of heart. That alone makes it noteworthy. Few would go full throttle for fear of not appealing to the masses, but Gardner hits the gas so those in search of a zingy starter can enjoy it to the utmost.
That same boldness carries over to the rest of the menu. Steaks are aggressively salted to create a tasty crust. Rather than rely on herb garnish to convey earthiness in a lobster taco dish, cilantro and chive are baked straight into house-made tortillas cradling naturally sweet shellfish and corn salsa. A lemon béchamel folded into crab fried rice lends moisture and the type of flavor hit that makes this signature side downright addictive.
Those small touches pay off big time for Gardner, as does throwing just about every ingredient at his disposal into Eddie V’s seafood salad, which includes shrimp, crab meat, Maytag blue cheese, hearts of palm, avocado, tomatoes, mushrooms, candied walnuts, and two dressings — remoulade and a Champagne vinaigrette. It shouldn’t work, but it really does, either consumed all together or bite by bite in different taste bud-provoking combinations.
And save room for one dessert in particular, a cheesecake/yellow cake hybrid that’s topped tableside with a flaming, rum-laced heap of fresh Bananas foster. Add in hard churned, subtly sweet banana nut ice cream brought in from National City landmark, Niederfrank’s, and it’s one of the most interesting and crave-able endnotes around.
It’s a posh room with a view, but with dishes like these, a visage of the Pacific places second against the sea of possibilities presented by the bill of fare. (858.459.5500, www.eddiev.com) Brandon Hernández
Photography by Vincent Knakal