Crush Italian Cuisine and Lounge chefs Jason Colabove and Mike Lina make a point of sourcing their ingredients from local vendors: they track down farm-fresh produce and procure seafood from the environmentally responsible Carlsbad Aquafarm. But they put equal emphasis on the way those ingredients are prepared. "I was surprised and delighted at how perfectly each shrimp was cooked," gushed a writer for the San Diego Reader after a visit to the restaurant's Solana Beach location. "The flavor was plate-licking luscious."
Shrimp is just one of the kitchen's specialties. The chefs also craft home-style meatballs with bursts of basil pesto, toss apples with spiced pecans and currants, and simmer ragu sauce for six hours, coaxing out rich flavors in each dish. Sheep's-milk ricotta lends bolognese tagliatelle a creamy bite, and market fresh fish are prepared with seasonal accents. Patrons can listen to live music in the sleek, modern lounge or converse around the bed of flames at the center of the fire-pit table, which will quickly consume any friends' scarves that you quietly position over it.