In the mid-2000s, Amy DiBiase was among the first wave of chefs to help foster a legitimate, modern foodie subculture in San Diego, starting with ahead-of-its-time cuisine at Laurel, before moving on to Baleen, Roseville, and The Shores. Her fans have followed each directional shift to her current post at the helm of Tidal, the new fine-yet-casual waterfront restaurant at Mission Bay’s Paradise Point Resort. DiBiase is embracing and presenting craft in many forms — charcuterie, fromage, local beer, and cocktails from esteemed made-from-scratchers Snake Oil. Such food and drink is in keeping with current trends, but executed at a level that’s a cut above.
Suckling pig pate is rich and beautifully offset with apricot mostarda, already impressive smoked salmon belly is further enlivened by zingy horseradish cream, and a Venus clam chowder is made deliciously unique care of a puree of salsify. Everyday dishes are anything but. Ribeye steak simply salt-and-peppered, seared to perfection and sauced with salsa verde, and moist chicken with a Madeira wine reduction both shine, as do well-known DiBiase specialties like ricotta gnudi, smoked pork cheeks, and olive oil-poached halibut with a salty, crispy brandade cake and asparagus prepared three ways. The latest stop on this chef’s tour is well worth the trip. (858.490.6363, www.tidalsd.com) Brandon Hernández