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Dining: Trulucks In La Jolla

Trulucks-At-The-Aventine
The lounge at Trulucks.
Photo by Steven Persitza

Every decent sized city has one of these spaces that have been 10 different restaurants in as many years. San Diego has a few like the little joint at 911 Hotel Circle south that’s on its ninth life as “Fuji” along with just about anything that appears at the Hyatt Aventine other than Japengo. Granted, Flemings has gained a fair toe hold there as well, and we’re hoping with we can say the same thing about Trulucks a few years from now.

The space started as Sfuzzi about a billion years ago and has lived through many reincarnations over the years. Trulucks is part of an interesting little strip of high-end restaurants that were built as part of the Hyatt development back in the 1990s. Part of a small national chain of 10 seafood houses, Trulucks hails from Texas with a few other locations in Florida. They certainly got the drill down, as this place is great.

The dark and clubby interior draws you in with the promise of something special. High ceilings, deep plush banquets and an inviting bar area set the tone for a serene, fabulous dining experience. Impeccably mainlined seafood tanks teem with crab and lobsters, all ready to be your dinner partner. The wine selection at the bar is vast and the pours are generous. If you’re not into what the bartender has at hand, there are dozens of wine selections available in “wine keepers.” These are opened bottles that dispense wine without allowing oxygen into the rest of the bottle maintaining the wines integrity. At least that’s what they say.

Fresh orchids adorn the entire dining area, along with nicely spaced and well appointed tables. The folks at Trulucks couldn’t be nicer, or better trained. Our wait team included at least three people making sure that everything was constantly perfect. There is a fine line between attentive and intrusive which was never crossed. Looking for a great place for a business dinner or for popping the question? Do it here.

Loaded with seafood and steak options, the menu will whet your appetite with multiple delicious sounding options. The crab came highly recommended and we were not misled. The 1.5 pounds of King Crab legs are some the freshest, most delectable available in this city. Served with Parmesan mashed potatoes and sautéed vegetables the legs are already cracked and ready to consume so you don’t need to worry about destroying your clothing or shooting bits of crab across the table. Not that we’ve ever done that before…well maybe once.

This place is not inexpensive, but the prie fixe dinners offered were a great value with great selections and healthy portions. $35 will get you a choice of soup or salad, several seafood or beef options and dessert. The grilled filet of beef was prepared exactly to order and the mashed potatoes themselves are worth the trip. Get the carrot cake if you’re a dessert person. This beast was almost 8 inches tall and satiated our party of three with a huge piece left over. Carrot cake for breakfast ain’t so bad.

Trulucks created a wonderful and memorable evening that actually had us relaxed and rejuvenated upon our departure. Now if they could just not make you use the very pricey and very inefficient valet service, perfection was close to being achieved. Not quite sure why they do that since the parking lot is large and directly below. It appears that profit wins over customer convenience on that count.

The Good:Shellfish, shellfish, shellfish.

The Bad: Carrot cake was too good to pass up, that's bad for the waistline.