A well-traveled chef with an impressive resume is leading the kitchen of a new North County restaurant that will showcase the flavors of the Indonesia. Recent San Diego transplant Ryan Costanza spent the past year as director of operations for two-Michelin starred chef Dominique Crenn, whose revered San Francisco restaurants include the fine dining flagship Atelier Crenn, the more casual Petit Crenn and an upcoming wine bar. While in the Bay Area, Costanza also worked with another two-Michelin-starred chef, Daniel Patterson (Coi), and before that, was the founding executive chef alongside owner/chef Govind Armstrong at Armstrong’s Post & Beam and Willie Jane in Los Angeles.
This weekend, Costanza will launch DIJA MARA in Oceanside, where it takes over the former Bessie’s cafe space. Owners Rob Jones and Simran Soin are longtime industry vets from Singapore, and conceived the restaurant as an ode to the island of Bali, one of their favorite places on earth.
Costanza’s menu of Balinese-inspired California cuisine includes classic Indonesian dishes such as beef rendang, nasi goreng and satay done in modern and Instagrammable ways using local produce, seafood and responsibly-sourced proteins. His take on rendang features Wagyu short rib braised in a curry of fresh turmeric, coconut, galangal, and kaffir lime served with a pile of marigold flowers and aromatic broth and his satay skewers will be grilled over binchotan charcoal; a house fermentation program will produce a variety of sambals, or sauces.
Open Tuesday through Sunday for dinner from 5 to 10 p.m. DIJA MARA will eventually extend to offer lunch and weekend brunch. Its beverages range from beer and cider to low ABV cocktails and a wine program that will rotate to feature natural/biodynamic wine producers.