After a couple of friends and family night rehearsals, Blue Ribbon Rustic Kitchen opens its doors to the public on Friday.
Marlaw Seraspi, a longtime chef collaborator is at the helm here, but chef/owner Wade Hageman tells Eater that he'll be based in Hillcrest for the foreseeable future while still overseeing his two North County eateries, Blue Ribbon Artisan Pizza and The Craftsman New American Tavern.
The University Avenue space, which Hageman and his wife Kristi designed themselves, is handsome and intimate; though the restaurant's footprint is relatively small, they've maximized its seating capacity, employing a mix of low and high banquettes, roomy booths, bar stools and a central communal table.
As previously mentioned, the menu centers around the kitchen's hand made pastas, gnocchi and risotto, including trofie, pasta twists sauced with arugula and black walnut pesto, and oxtail ragout risotto with bone marrow. Starters range from raw preparations of scallops in a five minute citrus marinade or pepper-crusted beef filet with a tonnato (tuna) sauce and fried Brussels sprouts with house made pancetta; the handful of main courses range from local halibut to a grass fed rib eye.
Fans of Hageman's food can rest easy knowing that the chef's signature dishes — his caesar salad and butterscotch pudding — are now available in Hillcrest too.
· All Blue Ribbon Rustic Kitchen Coverage [~ESD~]
· Blue Ribbon Rustic Kitchen [Official Site]