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Iris Food and Spirits


Crispy Sweet Potato Spring Rolls

Asian BBQ Baby Back Lamb Ribs
Copyright©2009 sandiego.com, Inc.

A fabulous find on a stretch of road mostly occupied by residential dwellings, Iris Food & Spirits stands out despite its unusual location. Nestled on the beautiful Torrey Pines lagoon, shimmering with lovely sunsets, the space presents many pleasures. Ask to sit on the outside patio for the full experience.

Iris is intimate yet unobtrusive. Inside, the dining area features artwork depicting the namesake flower of the restaurant and several Erte’ bronze’s. The wood adorned patio brings the comforts of nature and simplicity. Music ebbs and flows and is indeed background – thank you! Who can resist having both Janis Joplin and Natalie Cole serenade you throughout your dinner? Iris is remarkable for being unremarkable. It is not a "look at me" establishment but rather embraces you with its own serene ambience.

The "surfer dude" server was a friendly kind of guy, not necessarily the most polished but made for a good natured, enjoyable exchange. Hey, you’re near the beach so roll with it. The evening started out with subtle wines from the respectable list accompanied by lovely bread, so fresh with thyme and rosemary you can almost hear Simon & Garfunkel cooing their ode to herbs.

Appetizers featured bold flavors and interesting variations on some old favorites. Fanciful dishes of Asian BBQ Baby Back Lamb Ribs (grilled lamb riblets w/sweet and spicy Asian bbq sauce) and Crispy Sweet Potato Spring Rolls (sweet potato, pancetta and Serrano spring roll with gingered local ruby beet sauce) astonished the palette. The riblets, were magnificently tender in one bite, and a tad overcooked and stringy in another, yet embodied a rich flavor -- very nice dipped in the slightly piquant sauce. The spring rolls are a remarkable dish. A melding of crisp exterior and creamy filling that satifies with a sweet, savory yet fiery and robust taste all at the same time.

 

 

Iris is intimate yet unobtrusive. Inside, the dining area features artwork depicting the namesake flower of the restaurant and several Erte’ bronze’s. The wood adorned patio brings the comforts of nature and simplicity. Music ebbs and flows and is indeed background – thank you! Who can resist having both Janis Joplin and Natalie Cole serenade you throughout your dinner? Iris is remarkable for being unremarkable. It is not a "look at me" establishment but rather embraces you with its own serene ambience.

Appetizers featured bold flavors and interesting variations on some old favorites. Fanciful dishes of Asian BBQ Baby Back Lamb Ribs (grilled lamb riblets w/sweet and spicy Asian bbq sauce) and Crispy Sweet Potato Spring Rolls (sweet potato, pancetta and Serrano spring roll with gingered local ruby beet sauce) astonished the palette. The riblets, were magnificently tender in one bite, and a tad overcooked and stringy in another, yet embodied a rich flavor -- very nice dipped in the slightly piquant sauce. The spring rolls are a remarkable dish. A melding of crisp exterior and creamy filling that satifies with a sweet, savory yet fiery and robust taste all at the same time.

 


White Chocolate Banana Egg Roll
Copyright©2009 sandiego.com, Inc.

 

Entrees continued with engaging dishes of Pan Seared Sea Bass (lemon and evoo, crispy herbed potatoes, leeks and grilled green beans) and the Iris Cassoulet (chicken breast and sweet Italian sausage stewed with Tuscan beans, pancetta, pepperocini, roma tomato and sage). The sea bass was nicely cooked and created a hearty, delicious dish. The green beans were a vegetarian extravaganza, so crisp, plentiful and robust. The Cassoulet delights beyond all expectation; brilliant flavor and amazing texture of chicken, sausage and beans with a spicy kick.

Dessert originally wasn’t in stars, but after perusing the menu, the White Chocolate Banana Egg Roll (w/vanilla ice cream, macadamia nuts and caramel). sparked the tastebuds like a meteor shower. Absolutely sinful. Iris will amuse your culinary senses with equal parts flavor, comfort and zen. Enjoy!

The Good – can’t say enough about the Cassoulet.

The Bad – while clean, the bathroom reminded us of a service station and keep an eye out for the “by the glass” wine prices….they are high and add up quickly.

Details »
  • City: Del Mar, CA 92014
  • Phone: 858-259-5878
  • Name: Iris Food and Spirits
  • Address: 2334 Carmel Valley Road