It isn’t a secret that I eat out a lot. Most of the time, I am faced with the dilemma of being underwhelmed, and often, leave feeling neither here nor there, mostly consumed by unfulfilled expectations. After spending several weeks in Hong Kong, my palate is even more discerning, awakened by the myriad of creativity I experienced on my trip.
TRUST has been on my radar for quite some time. I have heard so many great things but didn’t want to set any unrealistic expectations before visiting. However, nothing could prepare me for the journey I am about to embark on.
With the help of our delightful server, Eloise, we select some cocktails to kick off our meal: TRUST COCKTAIL #2 Jalapeño Tequila, Grapefruit, Agave, Firewater Bitters; TRUST COCKTAIL #7 Maker’s 46 Bourbon, Meyer Lemon, Pear, Bitters, both lovely, but of course, I’m partial to #2 due to the jalapeño tequila.
Our first dish of Hamachi Tartare ($15) is a stacked composition of diced hamachi and cucumber, topped with avocado mousse and dotted with black sesame puree, trout roe, and daikon sprouts. The drizzle of cilantro oil adds brightness to the plate both aesthetically, and on the palate. Crispy taro root chips not only acts as a vehicle for the tartare, but also, delivers a welcoming textural contrast I am always looking for.
Ricotta Agnolotti ($19) are pillowy pockets tossed in a black truffle cream sauce. and finished with black garlic streusel, crispy discs of sunchokes (Jerusalem artichokes), and shaved black truffles. It is a cacophony of flavors and textures which make my mouth sing! My only criticism is that the pasta could have been slightly thinner, but otherwise, absolutely perfection.
I am completely blown away by Dungeness Crab Pasta ($18) a plate comprising immaculate house-made pasta, tossed in a sauce of Calabrian chiles, sweet garlic, Thai basil, and shiitake mushrooms. Chunks of sweet crab intersperse in between the strands of bouncy noodles, bathed in this tantalizing Thai-inspired sauce. There is not one thing I find fault with! Simply stunning!
We order one more cocktail — TRUST COCKTAIL #12 Old Grove Gin, Campari, pineapple, and lime. The floral fragrance, though pineapple, has hints of guava, perhaps from combining Campari to it? Either way, it is delightful on the senses.
Wood Grilled Pork Sausage ($14) is served with snap peas, pickled morel mushrooms, crispy kale, gnocchi, and finished with sourdough bread crumbs. The arugula cream is unctuous, yet light enough to bind everything together without overpowering. Although the star of the dish is the sausage, we are lamenting that there isn’t more of the exquisite nuggets of gnocchi to satiate our gluttony.
If you think it can’t get any better, Whole Grilled Branzino ($27) kicks it up another notch, and takes us over the edge. The fish is de-boned, and its cavity stuffed with lemon slices and sprigs of thyme. The fish is super moist and well seasoned. A mouth-popping herb relish comprising parsley, chervil, basil, mint, Castelvetrano green olives from Sicily, and shallots, enhances the eating experience ten-folds by permeating an aromatic and savory component to the delicate fish. A salad of Campari tomatoes, and shaved fennel salad adds color, but honestly, isn’t required. The branzino is a piece de resistance and requires no supporting cast to win the Oscar. This is a must-order!
I’m not generally swayed by desserts, but Profiteroles ($9) jumps out at us for different reasons. I am a huge fan of corn, so the lure of corn cream is hard to resist. My friend is drawn to the caramel popcorn description on the menu. The presentation is wow-ing, arriving skewered on a stick with the gooey caramel coating dripping seductively down the profiteroles. I grab one and bite into it. I am surprised at how balanced it is, the caramel not cloying, and the sweetness level ideal even for my palate. The corn cream is packed with flavor, yet not at all sweet. It is one of the best desserts I’ve eaten in a very long time.
If you eat at one restaurant in San Diego this year, please make it TRUST. The attention to detail is impressive. From the excellent service, to what the kitchen sends out, plate after plate, is in itself, worthy of high praise. And the best part? The staff are genuinely happy to be there, which is reflected in their demeanor, and how they interact with diners. I wanted to shake Chef’s hand, but he wasn’t in the restaurant the night of my visit. I guess I’ll have to do it the next time — and I’ll definitely be back! That’s a promise!
3752 Park Blvd
San Diego, CA 92103