Location: 5200 Grand Del Mar Way, San Diego, CA 92130. (858) 314-1900
Date: July 18, 2022
Cuisine: California Japanese Fusion French
Rating: Best meal I’ve had in California in a while
My wife and I snuck away during July 2022 for a romantic getaway to San Diego and managed to snag (thanks Jeffrey!) a reservation at San Diego’s best restaurant, Addison — then 2 Michelin stars, now recently promoted to three!
Addison is a renowned fine-dining restaurant located in the Fairmont Grand Del Mar, a luxury resort in San Diego, California. The restaurant is named after Addison Mizner, a famed architect from the 1920s who specialized in Mediterranean-style architecture.
The restaurant has a sophisticated and elegant — if slightly overdone — ambiance, with a modern European design that includes chandeliers, high ceilings, and polished marble floors. The dining room has an open floor plan with tables set with white linens and comfortable chairs. The restaurant also has a private dining room that can seat up to 20 guests for more intimate gatherings.
Addison’s cuisine is described as contemporary French with a California twist, and the menu changes frequently to highlight the freshest seasonal ingredients. The restaurant has a strong emphasis on fine dining techniques and presentation, with each dish carefully crafted to provide a feast for the eyes and the palate.
Welcome drink of fermented pineapple with a bit of a funky quality.
Wagyu tartar with a squid ink cracker.
Chicken Liver Churry. Soft and crispy textures.
Chili Churro. The vegetarian variant.
Sake Cured Kanpachi “Nigiri” with shiso leaf. Very nice crunch paired with the softness of the fish and an shiso finish.
Iberian Ham, Crispy Potato, Black Truffles. Decadent little bite.
A glass of rose to start.
Kanpachi Sashimi, Salted Kiwi, Shiso, Melon. Formed into a floral shape each piece of fish could be dipped into the citrus and shiso sauce.
Shellfish Chawanmushi with scallops and Haikkado Uni, Broccoli, Bok Choy, and Daikon.
Vegetable Chawanmushi Broccoli, Bok Choy, and Daikon.
Even though I brought wine, the $100+ (maybe even $150) a bottle corkage drove me to the not-too-badly-priced wine list. 2019 Bouchard Père et Fils Meursault 1er Cru Les Genevrières Domaine. BH 91-93. Moderately firm reduction overshadows the underlying fruit at present. Otherwise there is very good volume to the nicely concentrated and more finely textured middle weight flavors that brim with minerality on the youthfully austere and lemon zest-inflected finale that isn’t quite as structured. (Drink starting 2027 — oops we started a bit early — that’s restaurant wine lists for you)
The wine is made from 100% Chardonnay grapes, which are hand-picked and carefully sorted to ensure only the highest quality fruit is used. After pressing, the juice is fermented in French oak barrels, 25% of which are new, where it undergoes a malolactic fermentation, which adds richness and creaminess to the wine.
The resulting wine is a brilliant golden color with aromas of lemon, pear, and white flowers. On the palate, the wine is full-bodied and complex, with flavors of citrus, vanilla, and a hint of minerality. The wine has a long, elegant finish that lingers on the palate.
Regiis Ova Reserve Caviar, Koshihikari Rice, Smoked Sabayon, Sesame. Very soft rice texture, rich and creamy with a nutty quality but not overwelmingly sesame. Quite lovely.
Salt and Vinegar Chips, Toasted Dill, Burnt Onion Dip. Basically fancy “sour cream and oil chips” — delicious.
Golden Eye Snapper, Flavors of summer. Very moist and subtle and pleasant.
Truffle Tamale, Squash Blossoms, Quesillo, Pork.
Can hardly see it under all that truffle!
Tom Kha Gai Goong, Thai Basil, Coriander, Coconut. Very authentic but extra smooth and clean.
Lime to add into the soup.
Crispy vegetable fritter.
Sourdough Bread, Goat’s Milk, Browned Honey Butter.
Browned Honey Butter.
2013 Domaine Perrot-Minot Chambolle-Musigny. VM 90-92. Bright, dark red. Aromas of cherry, spices, rose petal and menthol are accented by a piquant suggestion of blood orange. Distinctly brambly aromas of berries, rose and menthol. At once lush and bright, with a firm tannic spine giving the wine structure and grip. A very serious village wine in the making. (Drink between 2020-2027)
A5 Wagyu, Black Garlic, Maitake Broth, Negi. Super buttery/tender beef very much in the true wagyu vibe. Scrumptious.
Maaitake Broth, Negi. Very pleasant and extremley Japanese.
Wild Mushrooms, Black Garlic, Crispy Kombu.
This (vegetarian) dish also came with a broth.
Chef William Bradley in the kitchen. He’s the executive chef of Addison. He joined the restaurant in 2006 and has since become known for his contemporary French cuisine with a California twist, showcasing the finest seasonal ingredients.
Chef Bradley began his culinary career in his native Florida, where he attended culinary school and worked in various restaurants. He then moved to California to work for the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in San Francisco and later the St. Regis Hotel in Los Angeles, where he earned a Michelin star.
In 2006, Chef Bradley joined the team at Addison as the executive chef, where he has continued to elevate the restaurant’s reputation for exceptional cuisine. Under his leadership, Addison has been awarded multiple accolades, including five stars from Forbes Travel Guide, five diamonds from AAA, and a spot on the list of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants.
Chef Bradley is known for his attention to detail and his innovative approach to cooking. He draws inspiration from both classic French techniques and local California ingredients, combining them in unexpected ways to create dishes that are both elegant and inventive.
Overall, Chef William Bradley’s career has been marked by a dedication to excellence in the culinary arts, and his contributions to Addison have solidified the restaurant’s reputation as one of the best fine-dining destinations in the United States.
Harry’s Berries Strawberries, Cucumber Jelly, Whipped Orange Blossom. Super intense berries, fabulous “strawberry and zabione” style dish.
The Sweet Treats.
Praline and Cocoa Crunch, Passion Fruit, Toasted Fluff. Lovely crunchy texture and rich chocolate flavor.
Yuzu Custard, Green Tea. Lite and bright.
Chocolate Wafer, Pistachio, Sour Cherry Jam.
Berry-Beet Tartelette, Verjus, Vanilla. Very intense berry flavor.
Wildflower Honeycomb. Glucose spike!
“Gift” of granola.
Addison was flat out great. First of all, it’s a lovely setting, really quite magnificent. Then the atmosphere and service are absolutely at the level of a European Michelin 2 star, which is so rare in America. The food also feels like 2 star food — and now that it has a US 3 star that puts it where it should be because the best US 3 stars match up with European 2 stars. There just aren’t places at the Euro 3 star level in the states, not really.
Anyway, on to the food. It’s very refined, beautifully plated and artfully presented. Every dish tasted bright and delicious. Overall, there is a very pronounced Japanese influence, which is typical these days for high end California restaurants. The techniques are largely modern French, although there are dishes like the Chawanmushi which are pretty straight up Japanese. Otherwise, even with the French techniques the ingredients are at least half Japanese, so it has the feeling of a great Japanese omakase.
As a “date night” it turned out to be one of those perfect romantic evenings — spectacular even.