Colin Hockley reviews Bertrand at Mr A’s in San Diego.
I knew when the Maître D offered the choice of black or white napkins we were in for a special night. Situated in the heart of San Diego’s financial district, Bertrand at Mr A’s affords probably the most spectacular views of any restaurant in the city. During daylight hours, the office block where the restaurant is situated is a bustling centre, but entering the deserted building at night you feel as if you have been given access to a secret location.
Take the express lift to the top floor, glance at the host of awards adorning the lobby and begin your experience over a cocktail while enjoying the spectacular city skyline. San Diego Bay, Balboa Park, Coronado, Point Loma are clearly visible from our table. Out on the terrace jetliners glide past on their flight path down to nearby Lindbergh Field, so close you can almost shake hands with the passengers.
Bertrand Hug is the man responsible for this gem of a location and he owns two of San Diego’s finest, Mr A’s and Mille Fleur in more rural Rancho Santa Fe. When Hug took over the business in 2000 it already had an enviable reputation, but with over 30 years’ experience in fine dining he knew what was needed to make Bertrand’s even more special. While the cuisine is American, Chef Stephane Voitzwinkler’s Alsatian (sic) upbringing and his experiences in some of the world’s top kitchens ensures those European influences are also present in his cuisine.
As expected, he sources all of his produce locally and varies his seafood use based on availability. Voitzwinkler acknowledges that the restaurant has a huge reputation for its incredible views and works extra hard to make sure that his dishes are equally impressive. “I want them to not only enjoy the view and this beautiful restaurant, but I want them to enjoy the food as well.”
As dusk turns to night and the outline of the city becomes even more dramatic we savour a memorable starter, a seafood chowder, and agreed this was the best California had offered so far. I follow this with a succulent butter-poached Maine lobster with vanilla scented asparagus and quinoa, while the other half tucked into a grilled troll-caught wild salmon.
We had hoped to find somewhere special to celebrate our last night in San Diego and Bertrand at Mister A’s did not disappoint.
Images courtesy of Bertrand at Mister A’s
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Dinner at Bertrand at Mr A’s in San Diego starters from $12 Mains from $30 ($22.5 vegetarian) plus taxes