Wade Hageman and Kristi Andrie successfully launch yet another restaurant under the Blue Ribbon brand named Blue Ribbon Rustic Kitchen in Hillcrest. The duo already have two well known establishments in Encinitas named Blue Ribbon Artisan Pizzeria and The Craftsman New American Tavern and now ring in a third.
The rustic part may apply to the casual atmosphere, the communal dining, and the warm decor but the food is anything but homey. True to the brand, the farm to table concept highlights local, organic, and sustainable products. While the ingredients are simple, the dishes are developed in flavor and in presentation. It is not surprising to know that it is Veteran Marlaw Seraspi of The Craftsman New American who is leading the kitchen as the Executive Chef.
The wine list is as diverse and well selected as the elegant menu items. The salad appetizers are a simple light pairing for the heavier entrees with a Caesar salad with garlic smashed croutons and a spring salad with candied pecans and strawberry. The main courses include a perfectly seared diver scallops on top of a crispy zucchini cake as well as a variety of house made pastas. While the hand rolled “Trofie” pasta with a black walnut pesto is not for everyone, the rich braised short rib ravioli and fettuccine Alfredo complete with a pecorino bowl and an hour long cooked egg are veritable stand outs. The desserts include a panna cotta which had a thicker texture with a dark chocolate sauce and the caramel pudding which happens to be the crowd favorite.
In a neighborhood packed with great eats and terrible parking, Blue Ribbon Rustic Kitchen seems to be the third charm on the Hageman Restaurant Corporation.