Amazing Tasting Dinner with Chef JoJo at Lionfish Modern Coastal Cuisine

Lulu and Ryan officially moved at San Diego for a whole year! All the people ask us which city we love better, San Diego or New York City? I will say I love both, because why do I have to choose from these two amazing cities? Especially about eating, no matter it’s NYC or San Diego, I am very satisfied about the great foods. If I have to compare, the result is – for authentic Chinese and Korean cuisine, I still stand with NYC. But for Mexican cuisine and seafoods, definitely San Diego is the winner.

The Tasting Dinner’s Menu at LIONFISH

This early month, Heydoyou was invited to experience a wonderful tasting dinner at the restaurant at San Diego’s famous nightlife district Gaslamp, it is LIONFISH Modern Coastal Cuisine. Luckily, we met the James Beard award-wining Chef JoJo.  Jose “JoJo” Ruiz has again been recognized as a James Beard Foundation Smart Catch Leader, this time for the newly-opened Serẽa, making it the only restaurant on Coronado Island to receive this recognition. Chef Ruiz was also recognized by the prestigious culinary foundation for the second time as a Smart Catch Leader for Lionfish, making both restaurants the only two in San Diego to receive the recognition.

LULU with Chef JoJo

Fewer than 20 of California’s estimated 76,000 restaurants are recognized by Smart Catch. In order to be recognized by James Beard Foundation, restaurant menus must meet or exceed 80 percent sustainability, and restaurants must submit to three assessments per year. Further, “red” items , or seafood that is overfished or caught or farmed in ways that harm other marine life, can only appear twice on menus and must total 8 percent volume or less.

From front-of-house to back-of-house, JoJo ensures that his restaurants implement proper recycling practices throughout its entirety, with the aim to proactively help significantly reduce the harmful impact on San Diego’s ocean and beaches by reducing disposable waste. Under Ruiz’ leadership, his restaurants are in full support of the protection of the oceans, beaches and community for generations to come.

Additionally, Chef Ruiz only uses eco-friendly supplies in his restaurants; from biodegradable paper straws to compostable and biodegradable take-out containers and silverware. His dedication to this cause has allowed him to make Lionfish and Serea nationally certified as “Ocean Friendly” by the Surfrider Foundation . JoJo attributes his learning of sustainable practices to Patrick “Paddy” Glennon, founder of the Culinary Liberation (CLF), which brings together a group of chefs to join forces within their respective communities to promote environmental initiatives in the restaurant industry and promote nutritional education.

About the foods we tasted at dinner:

The beautiful hand crafted cocktail drinks at LIONFISH
(From left to right they are: Dante’s Peak, No Way Rose, Put a Sake’ in it, The Final Rose )

Yummy Appetizers

(From left to right they are: Oysters, Braised Salt Spring Mussels, Japanese Style Tomato Salad, Pork Belly Adobada and Blistered Shishito Peppers)

My Crispy Baja Snapper Fillet & Ryan’s Pan Roasted Lamb Strip Loin

Dessert Time!
Tiramisu Crepe cake and Apple Tart

I have to say it was an amazing tasting dinner. We definitely enjoyed the beautiful atmosphere at Lionfish at Pendry Hotel. Actually I lived in Pendry Hotel for three days this summer for a conference, I loved the lovely room, the rooftop and their spa. We had a Vip dinner at Lionfish for the conference at the second floor, which is a nice private event room with a long table. The foods at Lionfish always make me feel something really special. I remember the first dish I fell in love with this modern coastal cuisine is their Crispy Rock Shrimp which cooked with Korean Gochujang sauce. And this time, I still love Chef JoJo’s combination of American & Mexican cooking style with Asian cooking influences, such as Japanese Style Tomato Salad, Pork Belly Adobada and Blistered Shishito Peppers. Even for the dessert, the Tiramisu Crepe cake reminds me a lot of the green tea crepe cake at Lady M.

Lionfish also has a great menu for Happy Hour. The fresh oyster is only $1, hand roll is $8 and $10 for their delicious craft cocktails, they are great deals for a fancy pre-dinner party. Now is also a good timing to book your Friendsgiving dinner at 27th, Christmas Eve and New Year Eve dinner to celebrate the wonderful holiday season. Lionfish will give you an unforgettable night with wonderful atmosphere, delicious foods and the love from the ocean.