Put Your Fancy Pants on, We Are Going to the Addison.
Well, well, well, James Beard nominations are upon us and San Diego has received a scant four nominations. Wah wah. Four noms not being very much, this lazy journalist will check them out and report back in my little monthly column. I decided to start with the Addison restaurant located in beautiful Del Mar on the grounds of the illustrious Grand Del Mar resort. They received two of the four James Beard nods. So cool, in a town as large and populated as S.D., one restaurant gets half!! I consulted with my other half—I would say better, but, come on, my ego will not allow such nonsense—and I mentioned that the chef was up for a James Beard. Scott other half-not better wondered aloud who that chef was and, after consulting my notes, I replied, “William Bradley.” Scott counters with, “You don’t suppose that is Billy Bradley, do you?” What the what? Billy Bradley? Billy Bradley who grew up down the street from me? Billy Bradley who may or may not have consumed 40s of Mickeys whilst I downed some delectable Boone’s Farm Strawberry Hill. “Wild Bill?” No way, life does not work like that.....oh, wait, yeah, it totally does. Thanks to Google being awesome and knowing everything about everything, we finally had proof that Chef William Bradley and fellow Lancer Go Hilltop! Billy Bradley are indeed one and the same. So exciting!! Not just fellow San Diegan, but fellow Chula Vistan. So proud of you, homeboy. What an honor. James Beard in the house.
All right, back to business. I called to make reservations, mentioned that we knew Sir William Bradley of Chula Vista during the 1990s, and that I would be writing a fun little article. I am referring to this article—It is fun, isn’t it? Now I always get a little excited before going to dinner because, you know, food, but this was especially poignant, this was a little hometown hero-type situation. I knew of, but never really paid attention to, the Addison, and I was about to realize what a mistake this was....
We pull up after a lovely little drive through some country-esque, windy, little back roads. The valet is attentive and inquires my name. Then he walks us into the foyer and introduces us to the hosts. “Hello, Ms. Bruso. We were expecting you. May I show you to your table?” Normal restaurant stuff, right? There was such a polish to this process that even this felt extraordinary. The freaking valet didn’t shove a ticket into my hand and tell me that I have to get my car by 11:00, he walked us in and introduced us to the front desk. Well done. We walk through the dining room toward a giant booth. The dining room is large, tables spaced very far apart, the ceilings were like a mile high—hello... hello... hello...that is an echo. The Maitre D’, Sean McGinness, approaches and asks if we would like to say hello to Chef. Ummm, yeah, totally, duh. So you know when you see a restaurant kitchen in a movie and it is so spotless and pristine and then you laugh because you actually work in restaurants and know the reality of a busy night? Well, I am here to tell you that this unicorn of kitchens does indeed exist. It was perfection, and there smiling at us was Billy Bradley dressed in his starched, pressed and blindingly white chef’s attire. Just as charming and a little bit serious as ever, he and Scott immediately start to reminisce. I was a grade younger and not nearly as cool so I interject occasionally, but let the boys chat it up while slyly looking at the precision involved as the Sous is plating some of the prettiest dishes I have ever seen, including those on the covers of magazines. I have a serious case of restaurant envy. I want to be fancy too!! and also I want an Oompa Loompa, but that is another story. We return to our seats and the true awesomeness of this place begins...
Ten courses of the most visually-appealing culinary perfection follow. Plates dropped at the exact same time, cloches removed. Classic dishes done to the highest standard. My dining experience is being enhanced by the wine pairing. Melanie Haman, also nominated for a Beard, is pouring and explaining. I am giddy with wine and food magic, my chubby little heart is going to explode! This menu is flawless, and it makes sense. One course begets another and you just know that you are in for yet another treat. Then somewhere around the middle of this most wonderful progression, coffee roasted canard appears, Asian-influenced duck breast arrives alongside some koshihikari rice and candied peanuts and your mouth is confused. Wait! Ummm... wasn’t I just in a French restaurant? How is this happening? Am I magic? Have I apparated? I love that in the middle of this menu, a perfect little Asian duck quacks its little way into your mouth. This meal made me so happy. Just when I thought I got it, Billy would send out some little non-sequitor to surprise and amaze us. Little twists that shouldn’t have made sense but somehow did.
This place should be a waiter school. Every aspect of the evening was addressed. The service staff is absolutely amazing. The attention to detail, formidable. Shortly after the second course I spilled a little sauce on the table because I am totally a disgusting slob with great fashion sense; seconds later a perfect little starched square piece of linen was placed over the evidence of my Jackson Pollockian eating tendencies. You might think that this restaurant is stuffy, it certainly could be. It could be exclusive and cold and unwelcoming, but it isn’t. It is the opposite. The staff are warm, encouraging, and highly-educated. The Addison is an experience to be sure. It is not for the parsimonious, the price point is steep, but it offers plenty of foodie bang for your buck ha ha, foodie bang. The Addison made me want to be famous. I imagine this is how celebrities are treated on the daily, but at the Addison they treat you like this without the sycophantic undertones. On a related note, do you know anyone interested in hiring a chubby, old, untrained actress for a starring role in a sitcom of some sort? I am not picky.
5200 Grand Del Mar Way
San Diego, Ca 92103