Encinitas’ Lumberyard Site of New Restaurant Run By Sbicca Family
WHAT’S ON THE MENU
by Jack White
Some years ago, I discovered a wonderful little restaurant called Sbicca hidden away on a Del Mar side street. Susan Sbicca is the chef while her husband, Dan, runs the restaurant offering contemporary American cuisine.
Susan and Dan have now opened a second restaurant at the Lumberyard in Encinitas called Meritage.
The Sbiccas have always had local residents in mind as they planned each of their restaurants. That’s not to say that a lot of tourists don’t pay a visit to this restaurant. But, if you are a local, you are family.
From their appetizer menu: there is an item called “lobster-crabmeat croquettes” served with corn, avocado and red chili. With a glass of wine from their extensive list, you are on your way to a great evening of dining. The croquettes cost $9.
On a chilly night in Southern California, I recommend their sensational lobster shrimp bisque by the cup or the bowl. It will warm you up and at the same time give your taste buds a real treat. If you prefer a salad, try the spinach salad with portabella mushrooms, bacon, goat cheese and warm balsamic vinaigrette dressing. The soup is $3.25 for a cup; the salad is $7.
I found two entrees that are truly signature items at this restaurant. Bourbon-marinated pork prime rib with Dijon mustard demi-glace, served with mashed sweet potatoes and Creole-pecan butter. This is a very thick cut of pork, perfect for someone with a big appetite. Even with the fat trimmed off, the meat is still very flavorful , because of the marinade. The pork prime rib is $18.
My second suggestion is the seafood jambalaya with Cajun rice, shrimp, mussels, scallops, fish, chicken and sausage. This dish has a nice bite and lots of different flavors. Order this item and you will not go away hungry. The broth that comes with the meal is excellent for dipping a roll or bread. The jambalaya is $18.
Something called grilled flat iron steak is becoming very popular on menus these days. At Meritage this is a lean cut of beef served with shoestring french fries and chipotle barbecue sauce. Fish lovers should try the pan-roasted king salmon with a caper-almond crust or the sesame crusted ahi with chive-ginger rice and wasabi sauce. These items range in price from $18 to $20.
The restaurant has become a popular place to dine partly because of its very nice selection of wine by the glass and by the bottle. I would suggest you call ahead for a reservation, especially on the weekend.
Susan and Dan Sbicca have successfully launched another restaurant with a wonderful ambiance and a unique menu.
Meritage Restaurant & Bar
897 South Coast Highway, in the Lumberyard in Encinitas
Hours: Open for lunch daily from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dinner is served from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday open until 10 p.m.
Parking: Easy parking in front of the restaurant.
Wheelchair access: Yes, there are ramps for easy access.
Good quality and service with moderate prices.
Jack’s Restaurant Tidbits
The eighth annual Women’s Bean Project Gourmet Soup Tasting is coming up Nov. 21. This year’s event features nine varieties of soups and a unique selection of gift items for sale. Executive chefs Deborah Schneider of the Torrey Pines Hilton and Michael Stroot of the Golden Door with be on hand for this event at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice at the University of San Diego, 5998 Alcala Park, Linda Vista. The soup tasting and shopping begins at 6 p.m. and will continue until 8 p.m. Proceeds from this event go to Rachel’s Women’s Center, and Catholic Charities. For information, call (619) 230-1151.
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The Top of the Cove, La Jolla’s landmark restaurant now celebrating its 50th anniversary, will present a special $48 fixed price menu for Thanksgiving. Executive chef Paul McCable is planning a wide selection of starters that will include roasted butternut squash soup with pumpkin seed pesto, cold smoked bison, carpaccio-fried capers with wild arugula and roasted oysters with pancetta.
The entr & #233;es will include your choice of venison, traditional turkey dinner with all of the fixings, red snapper, black trumpette crusted rack of lamb and grilled Chilean sea bass. The Top of the Cove dining room opens for Thanksgiving dinner at 1 p.m. I suggest you make your reservations early; call (858) 454-7779.