Already beloved by their North County neighborhood and admired by the San Diego restaurant community at large, the Campfire team will pull back the curtains on their newest offering to Carlsbad, a modern French charmer called Jeune et Jolie, this Saturday, December 15. Located just blocks away from Campfire on State Street, the restaurant was built as a grander showcase for executive chef Andrew Bachelier — and what a stage it is.
At the center of the open kitchen gleams a $180,000 custom Hestan cooking suite, ready to play a starring role in the concept’s “restaurant as theater” approach; a nearby chef’s table is the best place to watch the show. The 90-seat, 2,000-square-foot is another tour de force for Bells & Whistles (Campfire, Sycamore Den, and Starlite), a soft and sophisticated mix of crushed velvet booths, marble, polished brass and chrome in muted, chic colors that evoke contemporary Paris.
Owner John Resnick says this restaurant is a deliberate departure from the family-friendly, relaxed ease of Campfire. Jeune et Jolie provides the community with a sexier space just made for date nights, and a dining experience that ups the ante with heightened presentations and luxurious ingredients, from seafood platters at the raw bar to a menu that features black truffle, foie gras, and caviar. It’s not a faithful French restaurant with familiar bistro dishes (the flavors here are globally-influenced), but there is a solid foundation of traditional French technique. Bachelier, who trained at Addison, will also offer a $85 tasting menu that gives the chefs carte blanche to innovate original, off-menu dishes.
Beverage director Leigh Lacap’s drinks program is full of romance, from absinthe offered in the classic manner via an absinthe tower or in a frappe with citrus and mint to pastis served tableside. Cocktails highlight French distillates and are inspired not just by France but also by its former colonies, including Vietnam, Algeria, and Martinique, and the wine list is full of hot buzzwords — pét-nats, rosé, and skin contact (orange) wine — with 26 varieties by the glass.
Jeune et Jolie debuts for dinner this Saturday and for weekend brunch beginning Saturday, December 22. The raw bar opens 4 p.m. and dinner service begins at 5 p.m.; brunch runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.