History, Luxury and Great Cuisine

| January 3, 2016 | 0 Comments

Restaurant 910

It would be fun, certainly different, to have dinner with a ghost. No, this isn’t about eating at Disneyland and the presence of a ghost cannot be guaranteed to arrive along with entrée. But ghosts are reputed to roam some of the hallways and rooms of the hotel where the restaurant is located.

The luxurious Grande Colonial Hotel in La Jolla, located at 910 Prospect Street, has been in business at the location, in one way or another, for more than 100 years. It has lots of history and a long list of famous guests, including such Hollywood stars as Gregory Peck, Charlton Heston and Groucho Marx.

Some guests apparently don’t want to leave. Located in the heart of La Jolla, close to the beach and shopping, it serves as an easy jumping-off place from which to enjoy the delights of the village. It is understandable why some want to extend their stays.

But these “ghostly guests” left a long time ago yet they continue to reappear on occasion. One clerk reported seeing, “A tall gentleman in a tuxedo, top hat, white scarf and cane accompanied by a lady in a cream-colored evening gown.” Yet, no one was there. Other guests have heard loud voices, slamming doors and heavy footsteps coming from the bakery at times that no one was there.

There is something “other-worldly” about the hotel’s restaurant, named “Restaurant 910” to echo the hotel’s address. It is in the flavors of the cuisine coming out of the kitchen that is directed by the award winning chef Jason Knibb. The flavors are so delicious.

Jason Knibb is the executive chef at Restaurant 910.

Jason Knibb is the executive chef at Restaurant 910.

Chef Knibb, who comes from Jamaica where produce and fruits are fresh, learned his craft by doing it. He trained with such luminary chefs as Wolfgang Puck, Roy Yamaguchi and Hans Rockenwagner. He worked, watched, experimented and developed his unique style. His creations emphasize freshness and taste, with the bounty of local farmers and producers, as well as fresh seafood flown in daily if not caught offshore. This is California cuisine at its best.

Walking into the hotel and restaurant, one could not recognize that the property is over a century old. The lobby looks modern, sophisticated. The restaurant entrance leads past the bar area into the large dining room. The bar area is well known as a great place to relax and have a drink after work. The bar has its own menu and, during happy hour (3:30 to 6:30 p.m.); there are food and drink specials.

The wine list is compiled with an eye to selections that complement items on the menu. The restaurant has received the Wine Spectator award and holds over 3000 bottles in inventory. On Wednesdays, wine at lunch and dinner are discounted 50 percent.

The menu lists First Course (appetizers) to whet one’s appetite and Entrees. Among the entrees, Hamachi sashimi presents tasty thin slices, surrounded by shitake mushrooms. Chino Farms fall squash agnolotti and braised oxtail, with pickled butternut squash and pumpkin seeds, will wake up one’s palate. Chef Knibb goes back to his roots with Jamaican jerk pork belly that offers an explosion of tastes through an assemblage of baby carrots, swiss chard, plantains, black-eyed peas, spicy jellies and sweet potato purée.

Entrees include roasted local grouper with braised fennel, roasted cauliflower, spinach, pomegranate seeds, pickled parsnips, and saffron raisin puree as one of the fish dishes, maple leaf duck breast with grilled figs, smoked carrots, baby swiss chard, sunchoke puree, and anise infused duck jus as one of the fowl dishes, and prime New York steak with wild mushrooms, crispy confit baby potatoes with salsa verde, quince & mustard seed compote, with a cabernet reduction. Moroccan spice crusted lamb loin, with Chino Farms eggplant, haricot verts, charred onion and lamb jus is a meat alternate.

Chef Knibb presentations are lovely. Food items are arranged beautifully on plates and include a number of ingredients. They blend like instruments in an orchestra to create a symphony of taste. Portions are not large. But the bites are to be savored and enjoyed, not gulped down.

Desserts are prepared by Pastry Chef Rachel King. She studied at San Diego Culinary Institute and worked locally at Mr. A’s and for a number of restaurants owned by Chef Brian Malarkey. Some of her tasty creations include an amazing half-baked chocolate cake with caramel sauce, and whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Restaurant 910 is open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The menu is expensive and reflects the skill and fame of Chef Knibb. Reservations are recommended.

The restaurant is located at 910 Prospect Street. Call (858) 964-5400 for directions, reservations and information.

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