Kettner Exchange

We had the opportunity to join two friends at Kettner Exchange the other night.  This is the relatively new restaurant that features the work of Executive Chef, Brian Redzikowski.  Chef Brian has some amazing credentials including Le Cirque 2000 in New York, Joel Rubuchon at the Mansion in Las Vegas, and Yellowtail Restaurant in the Bellagio Hotel and Casino.  We came in with very high expectations and were not disappointed.

The restaurant and bar are impeccably designed and decorated.  There is a sleek modern feeling to the dining room which is on the second floor of the facility.  The ceiling is a curved arch accented with wood.  There is a striking sculpture of tree branches that bridges the downstairs bar and the upstairs restaurant — extending to a skylight.   It feels like a space that is modern and innovative, but also rustic and warm.

kettner bar2There is nothing ordinary about dining at KEX.  Our cocktails were beautifully made, and our waiter helped us select a delicious Malbec that complemented our meal perfectly.  We asked about whether there were any off-menu items and were treated to an amazing seared foie gras served with Brussels sprouts and mango.  This was offered with a wonderful Sauternes by the glass.   Sauternes is a classic pairing with foie gras, and after tasting the combination, you can only appreciate how the classics never seem to fade.

The menu is a combination of small plates and entrees.  We opted for a series of small plates which we shared between the four of us.  Consistently, the food was prepared with an amazing extraction of flavors, beautifully presented, and with an impeccable respect for balance.

We started with the lobster tempura and big eye tuna “pizza”.  Both of these seafood plates were bright, acidic and flavorful.  The sweet ponzu sauce that accompanied the tempura was perfect.

Our second round included a suckling pig larb “lettuce wraps” and fatty Alaskan king crab with long beans, bok choy and cilantro.  It is always an adventure to try new things, and this was my first time trying larb (FYI, larb is a minced meat preparation that is considered the national dish of Laos).  The spice combination was wonderful.

Fatty Crab

We finished off the meal with cavatelli with lamb belly pancetta, spring peas and crouton with pecorino, ricotta tortellini with snap peas, squash blossom and wild mushrooms. and finally, sautéed greens with machengo, siracha and soft egg.  The pastas were prepared perfectly and the melange of flavors in each dish were a work of art!

KEX front

Kettner Exchange is another gem to come to San Diego’s Little Italy in the last year.  Together with Juniper & Ivy and Ironside, KEX has raised the caliber of San Diego dining and we are very thankful that Chef Redzikowski has made his mark here!

Kettner Exchange Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


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