clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Blush Ice Bar Reveals Signature Drinks & Daring Food Menu

A food & drink primer before the downtown restaurant opens next week.

If you buy something from an Eater link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics policy.

Scheduled to open on Thursday, July 30 is Blush Ice Bar + East-West Kitchen, whose 7,000-square-foot corner at 6th and Market has been remodeled into sleek and modern space that includes an 18-seat raw bar, oyster lounge, a dining room with banquette and booth seating and roll-up doors that open onto a sidewalk patio. It will operate for lunch and dinner daily, with weekend brunch and an aggressive happy hour that includes $1 oysters.

Blush's owners Taylor Kim and Russ Fukushima founded their flagship Blush Ice Bar & Raw Kitchen in San Jose in 2012 and Kim, now an East Village resident, saw the opportunity to plug their drink-focused concept into the Gaslamp. The first Blush only offered cold raw bar items, but the partners noticed a void in high-end Asian fusion within the downtown food landscape.

Enter executive chef Daniel Barron (La Valencia, Blue Point Coastal Cusine), who once helmed a Euro-Asian bistro in Orange County from the owners of the Crustacean restaurants. Barron, his chef de cuisine Stephen Gage and team are cooking up a large and ambitious menu out of a kitchen that includes a wok station and a dry aged meat program that Barron says will produce the best steaks in the city; his "Umami Bomb" is a 14 ounce, 21 day aged ribeye that gets cured with smoked soy and porcini for a week before being grilled. The chef, who organized a grand foie gras dinner when the delicacy was re-legalized, is featuring the goose liver here in a ramen dish with homemade noodles and a concentrated tsukemen broth made from duck, chicken and bacon. Barron will also be housemaking sauces and condiments, from soy to miso; his Chicken Diavolo comes with an optional house hot sauce made from fiery ghost peppers.

From the 40-seat main bar, Blush will mix up any cocktail, but will feature their signature Blushcocktail. Though the restaurant kept a few of the slushy dispensers from the space's previous tenant, Wet Willie's, co-founder Kim, who invented the Blushcocktail, is quick to differentiate the two. While Wet Willie's served artificially-flavored boozy slushes, Blush tops its cocktails with fresh fruit frosted ice that gets stirred into the finished drink; a sweet and potent version of a Cosmopolitan gets a crown of cranberry frozen ice while a mix of cucumber, gin and riesling is topped with lemon-lime ice. Beyond the signature concoctions, there are build-your-own options created from a varied list of spirits, frosted ice and fruit purees.

blush ice

The owners have a growth plan that includes at least eight more Blush concepts; though the signature drinks will remain, the duo says that the food component for the next spots could range from tacos to burgers. A location in Pacific Beach is likely, as are outposts in other beach communities from here to Los Angeles.

A 2,800-square-foot space at the rear of the restaurant has been sectioned off for an adjacent speakeasy, with its own food offerings and a more craft cocktail-leaning drink menu that should launch in the next eight months.

Blush Ice Bar

Blush Ice Bar + East-West Kitchen

555 Market Street, San Diego, CA 92101, USA

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Eater San Diego newsletter

The freshest news from the local food world