Blackhorse Grille

3702 Villa de la Valle, Del Mar CA 92014
$$ American

This restaurant is no longer open.

Blackhorse Grille

Review by

Sami Ladeki immigrated to the United States from Lebanon with a professional background in hotel management back in 1989. After making his mark in the local restaurant industry with the wildly popular chain, Sammy's Woodfired Pizza, he eventually branched out to establish a diverse collection of well over a dozen quality restaurants that are now currently overseen and managed by his company, Ladeki Restaurant Group.

The newest of these is the Blackhorse Grille, which is located along a pastoral section of Via de la Valle near Del Mar’s polo grounds; former site of another of the consortium’s restaurants, Prime Ten Steakhouse. Although the Blackhorse Grille’s new Executive Chef, Ryan Johnston, grew up in a family that owned a highly respected meat processing enterprise, he has balanced that influence with extensive training in French-based techniques and his acutely keen understanding of current culinary trends.

The Blackhorse Grille now brings you the best of both worlds; classic steaks, like their big, 20oz. Porterhouse or tender, juicy Rib Eye that weighs in at almost a pound, to ‘Small Plate’ menu specials that emulate the tasty offerings of a gourmet tapas bar. There is something on this bill of fare to delight almost everyone, no matter how diverse his or her taste preferences may be.

The lounge adjoining the dining room offers a bevy of outstanding cocktails and an eclectic list of fine wines, thanks to the expertise of General Manager and Sommelier, Megan Burgess. One of their most unique drinks is the Prickly Pear Margarita, which combines fine reposado tequila, Grand Marnier liqueur, fresh limejuice and cactus fruit puree to create a memorable, multi-cactus taste sensation. Another standout is the apricot Belini, made from Grey Goose vodka and apricot puree with a champagne float.

Our gracious server, Michelle, was extremely attentive and expertly guided my guest and I on an extensive excursion through their special, Small Plate menu. First to arrive was a petite, fiery pan of Catalan Sizzling Shrimp; this spicy delight was cooked in extra virgin olive oil, freshly crushed garlic and peppery red chilis, and turned out to be a great starter that really woke up the taste buds.

Next, we sampled the Grilled Prime Steak Skewers and the Marinated Hamachi. The skewered beef was bursting with flavor, and reminded me of the bamboo-impaled strips of Teriyaki rib meat that I used to savor in the lounge of a favorite Hawaiian hotel decades ago. The hamachi dish was reminiscent of fine island food as well. Marinated lightly in soy sauce and artfully molded together with lemon, avocado and crème fraiche, this poki-like creation was particularly fresh, succulent and mild.

The same upscale standard held true with the offerings that followed. The Chilled Calamari Escabeche was a flavorsome mix of peppers, cucumber, red onion, fresh basil and pieces of marinated calamari that was delightfully tender and delicious. Our Spicy Basil Eggplant was combined with chili, Thai basil and chunks of tofu to produce an Asian-fusion influence that added great aroma and balance to the tempting array of specialties that we tasted during our visit.

Michelle then arrived with a real showstopper; crab and tuna stuffed red bell peppers on bruschetta with a side order of freshly made potato chips doused in truffle oil and served with Parmesan chive dipping sauce. This was a treat fit for royalty but, given what we had already consumed, I refused to try and maintain an accurate calorie count.

This was a very good thing, since Chef Johnston soon made an appearance at our table with a couple of dense, decadent desserts; a profiterole, filled with homemade peanut butter ice cream then drizzled with chocolate sauce, and a rich vanilla panecotta topped with a compote of fresh berries. Needless to say, we left the premises totally stuffed.

As fine a restaurant as Prime Ten Steakhouse was, the Ladeki Restaurant Group’s new Blackhorse Grille stands not only for great steaks and chops, but also for a cutting edge menu that addresses the diverse tastes of a new, sophisticated breed of North County diner.

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Business Info

  • Address: 3702 Villa de la Valle, Del Mar CA 92014
  • Cross Street: El Camino Real
  • Location: North County Coastal | Del Mar
  • Cuisine: American | Seafood | Steak |
  • Cost: | Inexpensive
  • Category: Fine Dining
  • Star Rating:
  • Reservations: Unknown
  • Dress Code: Casual Elegant
  • Meals Served: Dinner |
  • Parking: None |
  • Payment Options: VISA | Amex | MasterCard |
  • Corkage Fee: 20.00 | Per Each Bottle
  • Phone: 858.523.0007
  • Features: None,
  • Occasion: None,


Blackhorse Grille - Blackhorse Grille

Business Hours

Reservations Available
Dinner - Main Dining Room 4 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.
Dinner - Main Dining Room 4 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.
Dinner - Main Dining Room 4 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.
Dinner - Main Dining Room 4 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.
Dinner - Main Dining Room 4 p.m. - 10 p.m.
Dinner - Main Dining Room 4 p.m. - 10 p.m.
Dinner - Main Dining Room 4 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.
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Customer Reviews & Ratings

4.5 out of 5 stars based on 1 votes