It’s always a good sign when a restaurant brings in a wine pro like Chuck Herrold and teams him with a seasoned chef like Josh Richardi.
That’s exactly what James Limjoco did at his third restaurant venture, Sublime Tavern in Del Mar. And not only does Herrold know his wine, he also expertly paired my dining companion’s multi-course meal with craft beer from their extensive offerings on tap. More on that later.
Herrold wears two hats at Sublime — manager and sommelier. He spent 13 years with Ruth’s Chris Steak House followed by four years at West Steak and Seafood in Carlsbad. Herrold joined Sublime after a mutual friend put him in touch with owner Limjoco and was excited to join his newest venture in Del Mar.
Executive Chef Richardi has quite a resume himself. Born and raised in Orlando, Fla., Richardi realized it was his destiny to be a chef when he discovered that his great grandfather had owned a restaurant in Shanghai.
Richardi’s diverse skills were developed and honed in the kitchen when he completed the acclaimed Walt Disney World Sous Chef apprenticeship program. Under the guidance of Master Chef Waldo Brun, Richardi learned every aspect of the kitchen, from prep to pastry skills.
In 1995 he accepted the position as kitchen supervisor at Kirkwood Ski Resort in Lake Tahoe. After a year of perfecting his talents at this world-renowned resort, Richardi settled in the San Diego area where he continued to expand on his culinary skills working at numerous restaurants including Valencia Resort & Spa, Santaluz Country Club and Roppongi Restaurant and Sushi Bar.
At Sublime Tavern, Richardi has collaborated with both Limjoco and Sommelier Herrold to create an extensive menu of gourmet, yet approachable, dishes that celebrate local, seasonal flavors. “Collaborating with James and Chuck on this menu has been a rewarding creative experience, allowing me to be innovative while still developing dishes that are both approachable and palatable,” Richardi said. “Sublime Tavern is a way for me to take all of my experiences, from the kitchen to the front of the house, and combine them into a cuisine that reflects my culinary adventures over the years.”
Under the direction of Limjoco, Richardi is enjoying the opportunity to run a kitchen and continues to perfect his many culinary skills. When he is not cooking, you can find him surfing the many local spots where he resides in Leucadia.
OK, so back to those recent meals they paired so expertly with wine and beer. Our first courses were: Grass Fed Beef Tips with caramelized sweet onions, mushrooms, blue cheese in a red wine sauce paired with Pallus Chinon Loire Valley Cabernet Franc and a Rip Current Stringer Scottish Ale. That, with an Ahi Poke Tostada-Sashimi grade tuna, Napa cabbage slaw, and sriracha crème paired with a Menetou Salon Loire Valley Sauvignon Blanc and an Iron Fist Hired Hand. We were off to a great start.
Next up was a salad sampling featuring their Strawberry Spinach Salad, Watermelon and wild Arugala salad, Cobb Wedge, and Del Mar grilled Caesar with grilled anchovies. There was a lot going on with all these salads but Herrold came through again pairing a Chalone Estate Chardonnay and a Great Divide Heyday.
A pizza came out next, and not just any pizza. It was their “Getting Figgy With It” pizza that included figs, prosciutto, parmesan, and a balsamic glaze. Herrold’s pairing of the Foxen Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir and Port Brewing Wipeout was spot on. I will back specifically for that pizza and pinot noir combo.
I requested the Wild Boar Bolognese Fettuccini and Herrold came through on-the-spot with a Neyers Evangelho Contra Costa County Mourvedre. I know nothing about that wine but it sure worked well.
Chef Richardi’s favorite dish is the Duroc Pan Roasted Pork Chop with pork shoulder and potato hash and caramelized apple confit creamy whole grain mustard sauce. The Renwood Amador County Zinfandel was a big wine to go with a hearty dish and the beer pairing was Dogfish Head Theobroma.
You can even bring your vegan friends to Sublime. Just point them in the direction of the Coastal Vegan Bounty with corn and ginger quinoa, lemongrass coconut sauce, wild mushrooms and mixed beets. The Schramsberg Mirabelle Rose Sparkling was a refreshing bubbly to end the evening with because there was no room for dessert after this feast.
Sublime Tavern is located at 3790 Via de la Valle, suite 301, in Del Mar right across from the polo fields and a perfect location to watch the hot air balloons. Find them on Facebook at facebook.com/SublimeTavern or call (858) 259-9100.