Located inside Kimpton Hotel’s Hotel Solomar is JSix Resaurant. The menu as well as its interior went through a dramatic facelift. Executive Chef Christian Graves is now in charge of the kitchen, while Kimpton veteran, Nathan Howell (Of Cusp Dining & Drinks at the Hotel La Jolla) is in charge of the bar. American with a twist is the fare you’ll find at JSix.
The space is more rustic, with brick walls, antique lighting and an overall casual, welcoming vibe. “American Tapas” would be an appropriate name for this place, because while there are many tasty bites, that’s pretty much all they are, bites. The menu is separated into four courses; nosh, nibbles, starters, and mains. What’s the difference between a nosh and a nibble? Well, a nosh is a bite you’d order at a bar, like chips and salsa, a nibble is a smaller appetizer, but can also be ordered as a regular appetizer. A starter is an appetizer or salad. Confused? The menu could use some simplifying.
I was looking forward to the crab pancakes (No, not crabcakes, crab PANcakes) these cakes consist of creamy potatoes, with heaping portions of crab piled on top, sprinkled with caviar, and doused with hollandaise sauce. Absolutely rich and delicious, but it was about the size of my palm. Perhaps once the popularity of the dish takes off, Chef Graves will expand it (at least, I hope so) but for now, it left me wanting more. The seasonal pea salad is as fresh as it gets. The peas taste like they’ve been picked from their backyard, the mint is refreshing, and the oranges burst in your mouth.
The braised rabbit and spinach pasta is interesting. Think of the largest fettuccine noodles you’ve ever had, with roasted fennel, mint leaves, chunks of sauced-up rabbit and ricotta cheese to finish. It’s hearty, it’s filling, the cheese is great, but the portion is also pretty small for a $25 plate. As cliché as it sounds, the rabbit really did taste like chicken, and wouldn’t be missed if omitted. If you’re looking for a vegetarian option, try asking for this dish sans bunny.
The cocktails are what you’d expect from renowned bartender, Nate Howell. He’s brought his signature style to the cocktail menu, including his version of the Mai Tai, called, Our Own Backyard. It’s made with Ballast Point rum, Marie Brizard Apry apricot brandy, salted orgeat syrup, with fresh lime and mint from the restaurant’s rooftop garden. The daiquiri is a classic interpretation of the fruity, slushy version; made with white rum, simple syrup and lime juice, it’s shaken and served in a coupe glass.
As for dessert, the not-to-be missed item is the s’mores pot de crème. It’s decadent with a thick graham cracker crust on the bottom, creamy, rich chocolate in the middle, and a dollop of house-made marshmallow on top. The raspberry ginger float on the other hand, was a bit too sugar-tastic. Served in a tall glass, it tasted more like a cocktail than a dessert, but if you’re looking for something fruity, fizzy, and gluten-free, this might be for you.
The wonderful thing about JSix is that it’s not your average hotel restaurant. Locals come here too, and you’ll never find a typical, continental-buffet-style-meal here. From the location (just steps from Petco Park) to the pleasant and attentive staff, it’s definitely a cut above the rest.
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