Kitchen 1540 Del Mar

“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” – Virginia Woolf

Kitchen 1540 Del Mar: It’s safe to say that a Restaurant’s overall impression is something I care deeply about. With such an array of fare to consume and millions of locations to choose from, finding a Restaurant that offers something exquisite, precise, delicious, clean, well thought out WITH a staff that genuinely pays attention to customers is a rarity. This page is devoted to highlighting a Restaurant that has truly surprised me — in all the right ways.

Allow me to introduce you to the 1st Featured Restaurant on A Taste of Dawn that has done precisely that: Kitchen 1540.


Kitchen 1540 | 1540 Camino Del Mar   |   Del Mar, CA 92014   |   858.793.6460




This is the slogan of Kitchen 1540. Located in Del Mar at the L’Auberge Hotel, Kitchen 1540 is like nothing I’ve experienced before. Chef Paul McCabe is original and inventive with his menu AND the artful presentation of his fare. Each dish is offered with creativity, taste, and uncompromising quality. To learn more about Chef Paul McCabe, please visit “Featured Chef” as he is the 2nd Chef to be Featured by A Taste of Dawn. K1540’s Sous Chef, Steve Molina brings his unique talent and approach to cooking with an emphasis on creating items organically. Mentored by Chef Paul, he continues to evolve into a phenomenal Chef. The General Manager, Bryan Lafontaine, brings his expertise, but moreso, his passion for wines and the beautiful emphasis on farm-to-table ingredients exhibited at Kitchen 1540. Onto how I first fell in love…


L’Auberge is a beautiful boutique hotel located in the heard of Del Mar, California. A hotel recently renovated, it oozes simple sophistication with an air of organic calm. I was invited to indulge in a very unique Tasting at Kitchen 1540 – a Premier restaurant located on the property. It was a beautiful Monday night and I was joining a group of friends that have pristine pallets, a robust range of wine appeal, culinary backgrounds, and an overall love of indulging in tasty fare. We were sat outside on the patio in our own little cabana and from that moment on, it was clear this was going to indeed be one defining adventure. I chose to Feature Kitchen 1540 because the vision for this restaurant is remarkable. The menu is expansive and is executed rather seamlessly by a Culinary Crew that work in unison to bring a single idea to life: the best possible cuisine with few limitations. I would recommend going with an empty stomach and a hunger for something entirely new. Here is the menu of our Tasting:


K1540 Tasting Menu Descriptions

Sardine Cans – Carlsbad Luna Oyster on Oyster Leaf from the K1540 Garden, San Diego Uni, Santa Barbara Spot Prawn Aioli, Oggo, Cuttlefish Ink Vinaigrette, Crumbled Potato Chip (A very pretty surprise…)

Hamachi Crudo – Hamachi Crudo, Botarga, Compressed Watermelon, Crispy Black Quinoa, Lemon Jam, Tai Basil, Basil Leaf, Olive Oil

Farm House Salad – Assorted Ribbons of Summer Vegetables, Sun Dried Tomato paste, Airated and Frozen White Corn Mousse, EVOO Microwave Cake, Olive Powder, Dehydrated Goat Cheese, Pumpernickel Powder, Watermelon Cucumber, Spinach Berry, Pistou Gelee

5 Onion Consommé – 5 Onion Consommé, 5 Onion Flan, Caramelized Onion Gelee, Tempura Shallot, Onion Powder, Micro Green Onion From the Chef’s Garden in Ohio

Santa Barbara Spot Prawns – Prawns cooked whole at the table in 500* salt, Fresh Citrus, Fresh Herbs from the Garden (This was served in a way that leaves every single mouth longing for more. It is not only awe-inspiring to watch, but it is an interactive experience that should be shared with anyone who loves food…)

Black Cod – Pan Seared Alaskan Black Cod served Flaked, Toasted Rice Consommé, Oggo, Uni, Maitake Mushroom, Sea Bean, Sea Bean Foam

Egg Drop Soup – Pig Tail Stock, Sherry Vinegar, 62* Hen Egg

Tsume Glazed Sweetbreads – Sweetbreads Glazed with Tsume (cuttlefish ink, dashi, soy suace, bonito flake, mirin, kombu), Cuttlefish dressed in Yuzu, Cuttlefish Kidney Smoked Black Trumpet Ash, Albino Beech Mushroom, Black and White Radish, Crispy Puffed White and Black Rice, Arugula Flower, White Asparagus Ribbon, Crème Fraiche

Cockscomb, Scallop – Seared Diver Scallop, Fried Cockscomb, Pork Blood Sauce

California White Rabbit – Confit Rabbit Leg, Loin Stuffed with Rabbit Sausage, Olive Oil Whipped Potatoes with Prosciutto, Chamomile, Petite Carrot, Prosciutto Jus (This rabbit was so delectable, each one of us all but chewed the bone)

Heirloom Eggplant Parmesan – Heirloom Eggplant compressed and sautéed, Basil Aioli, Tomato Jam, House Made Ricotta, Brioche Crumbs

Truffles – Perigord Truffle (From Australia) Fondue, Sliced Black Truffles, Thinly Sliced and Fried Potatoes

Pig Tails – Braised Pig Tail Torchons, BBQ Sauce, Potato Salad, Coleslaw, Fresh Cornbread and Cornbread Puree

Rib Eye – Seperated Cap and Eye, Smoked Tomato Steak Sauce, Smoked Baby Tomato, Jalapeno Corn Grits, Deep Fried Rib Eye Fat Cubes, Crispy Potato Crumbs, Micro Onion from The Chef’s Garden


Goat Cheese Mousse – Frozen Goat Cheese Mousse, Lemon Curd puree, peeled blueberries
Chocolate Mousse – Chocolate Sponge Cake, Chocolate Mousse, Caramelized White Chocolate, Brandied Cherries, Cocoa Nib Ice Cream, Topped With Chocolate Bar


2010 Chateau Roubine Rose – Paired with the Farm House Salad, a Cru Classe Rose from the Cotes du Provence. The wine is made primarily from Cinsault, Grenache, and Cabernet Sauvignon with smaller proportions of Carignan, Tibouren, Syrah, and Mourvedre.

Mabaroshi Sake – Paired with the Black Cod, egg drop soup and Sweetbreads. A Junmai Daigingo from Southern Japan, it is considered a rich masculine style. Showing fruits of rhubarb, wild strawberry, pineapple, asian pear, and green plum. Along with the definite smell of fresh brewed beer, orange peel candies, and fig paste. (This is divine – I was able to sample this while in Tokyo)

Great Divide Brewing Company – Claymore ale (scotch ale or wee heavy style).  Paired with the Pig Tails. A Dark, Malty, Sweet and smokey beer that finishes clean and refreshing.


After partaking in such an eclectic array of fare, Kitchen 1540 won me over. While I was in the most prolific company, I can assure you that your love affair will develop the moment you take a seat. Thanks to K1540 for being one of the most memorable dining experiences of my Southern California culinary journey.

You are superb in every way and I love you more for giving me something totally unexpected.


Kitchen 1540
1540 Camino Del Mar
Del Mar, CA 92014

Call for Reservations, plan an Event, bring everyone you know. It’s worth it. Tell them you heard about them on “A Taste of Dawn”.