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First Look: Blade 1936

Two of San Diego’s top Italian chefs put new concept into historic Oceanside building


I’m no architecture buff. I once described a turret as “the rocket part of that house.” But the way people talk about him, it seems Irving Gill was San Diego’s own Frank Lloyd Wright. He brought modernism to the city in the early 1900s, and his name is splattered all over the National Register of Historic Places. The last building he designed before he died is in Oceanside. And now it’s the new home of Italian eatery, wood-fired Neapolitan pizza joint, and craft cocktail bar Blade 1936.

The 6,000 square-foot art deco and modern building is on the historical registry, of course, once housing Oceanside’s now-gone newspaper, the Blade-Tribune. And the team leading its new dinner-and-drinks existence includes two notable names: Milanese native chef-restaurateur Mario Cassineri (ex-Bice, ex-Officine Buona Forchetta), and chef John Carlo Ferraiuolo, who’s credited with bringing Neopolitan-style pizza to San Diego with North Park’s Caffe Calabria (the first spot in the city certified by the Associazione Vera Pizza Napoletana). 

So this will not be half-assed Italian food, or pizza. Chef de cuisine Chris Narvaez (who worked at Michelin-starred Spruce in San Francisco) will have at his disposal a custom-made Stefano Ferrara pizza brick oven from Italy (the Aston-Martin of pizza ovens) for Napoli-style pies, including: a “Zest” with fior di latte, prosciutto cotto, lemon zest, basil, arugula, and shaved Pecorino; a “Carbonara” with caramelized onion, guanciale, fior di latte, egg, basil, and cracked pepper; and a “Carciofi” with artichoke, crimini msuhrooms, provola di Agerola, basil, shaved parmigiano, EVOO. There will be scratch semolina pastas (spag, ravioli, gnocchi, penne, papardelle with sauces like pesto, verdure (fontina), and bolognese). There will be dishes like Carlsbad mussels, frittura mista (calamari, mushrooms, shrimp), tuna tartare (with avocado, tomato, fried onion, ginger sesame dressing), quinoa paella, and salmon (with leek sauce, lentils, cannelloni, lemon kale), and lobster farratto (with burrata, pesto, and tomato sauce). Desserts will include a Blade Sweet Basket, a fresh bread bowl filled with Nutella and Italian donuts. There will be craft cocktails, wine, and local and international beers. 

And there will be photos of how local architect Kennith Chriss has reimagined the space (see below).  


Blade 1936 is now open seven days a week for dinner, lunch and brunch on weekends. 401 Seagaze Dr., Oceanside. 


Blade 1936 first look

blade 1936 first look

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