SAN DIEGO ( TheStreet) -- At first glance, it looked like a slimmed-down version of eggs Benedict. But for dinner?
After one bite, however, I knew my taste buds had landed on one of my favorite new spring dishes in San Diego.
BiCE Ristorante's thinly sliced Ahi Tuna -- served in a delicious stacked arrangement that includes zucchini, warm, creamy shallot sauce, a quail egg and lemon olive oil -- is a light, delicious and a totally original creation for the season from executive chef Mario Cassineri.
BiCE, an upscale Italian restaurant in downtown San Diego's Gaslamp Quarter, is just one of the many luxury restaurants in San Diego where chefs have been busy unveiling spring menus or select spring menu items, capturing trends we're seeing nationwide.The big trend for spring, according to many chefs, is creative use of local produce each day. Several are also maximizing their use of seafood that's more readily -- or only -- available this time of year, such as wild salmon or fresh shad roe. "Every day the dishes on the menu will come with some of the special seasonal produce items," says chef de cuisine Stephane Voitzwinkler of Bertrand at Mister A's. "Especially corn and tomatoes. Chino Farms' corn is 6 feet tall now, as tall as I am." No visit to San Diego -- culinary or otherwise -- would be complete without a meal at Bertrand at Mister A's; getting a sit-down with Voitzwinkler to hear his explanation of menu choices is even more satisfying. Besides oozing charm, Voitzwinkler seems to thoroughly enjoy talking about food and the thought he has put into the spring menu. Among the two most tasty and vibrant dishes on his menu are the Mediterranean Black Mussels Gratin and the Seared Maine Scallops with Sweet Pea Ravioli. The mussels include Pernod, shallots and garlic. The scallop and ravioli dish is made with a hazelnut brown butter and crispy sage. The other reason Bertrand at Mister A's is a must: the unparalleled view. Perched atop a skyscraper on the edge of downtown San Diego, it's one of the best ways to take in the city's skyline, harbor and surrounding neighborhoods.