How Carlsbad’s Jeune et Jolie thrills diners with modern French cuisine through a SoCal lens

Credit: Elodie Bost
A dessert at Carlsbad restaurant Jeune et Jolie

Jeune et Jolie has been thrilling Carlsbad diners with its contemporary spin on French food and its vibrant, modern dining room since 2018—but the restaurant has undergone some big changes over its six years.

One of the biggest was bringing in chef Eric Bost to lead the kitchen in 2020. An alum of LA’s lauded Auburn, Bost soon shifted the menu from a la carte to a four-course tasting menu. It’s safe to say the change has been a massive success: The restaurant snagged a MICHELIN Star in 2021 and has held on to it since.

“We really honed in on what we want the experience to be and how we cook French food through the lens of Southern California,” Bost says. “It’s really a celebratory restaurant. The name translates to ‘young and beautiful,’ so that’s the vibe we’re going for.”

Read on to learn about some super cool wines to try, why you can’t go wrong picking a seat at the restaurant, and what makes this acclaimed spot tick.

What do you think Jeune et Jolie’s X factor is?

Eric Bost: Our X factor is our distinct vibe. We focus on all facets of the experience; working with delicious products and serving exceptional wine and cocktails in a modern, bustling, energetic California bistro. We try to capture the youthful and vibrant energy that the name Jeune et Jolie implies.

What’s the one dish you’ll never remove from the menu?

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The menu changes constantly but a version of this seafood platter always remains. | Credit: Elodie Bost

The menu is seasonal, so it shifts often, but one dish remains constant: the plateau de fruits de mer from our raw bar. The accoutrements on the platter may evolve and shift as we move through the seasons, but the option of starting, or defining, a meal with an array of pristine seafood will most certainly always remain a part of Jeune et Jolie.

What’s the underdog of the menu?

I think our vegetable-focused dishes are the underdogs of the menu, but they undeniably emerge as champions. They’re thoughtful, intricate, and always delicious. I think they perfectly represent our approach to cooking modern French cuisine through the vibrant lens of our Southern California landscape. We always discover something surprising and inspiring while working with vegetables. Right now we’re doing a chilled pea soup highlighted with soft, buttery cold-poached scallops, fermented white asparagus, and pea tendrils. It’s very herbaceous and bright.

What is the hidden gem on the wine list?

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Expect both wine and non-alcoholic pairings on the drinks menu at Jeune et Jolie. | Credit Kaeli Hearn

Our sommelier Brandon Tankersley likes to nerd out on wines such as the 2016 Richard Leroy Noels de Montbenault Chenin Blanc from Anjou, France. They farm using biodynamic practices, native yeast fermentation, and haven’t used sulfur since 2011. We love this approach, and as a favorite wine to age, this one will only get better over time.

While a huge part of our beverage program is wine pairings, another hidden gem has to be the non-alcoholic pairing we introduced about six months ago. It’s spearheaded by our bar director Andrew Cordero and was created with the input of our wine and culinary teams. It’s resulted in something that is super unique, absurdly delicious, and ultimately a lot of fun.

Who’s your longest regular?

We have a lot of regulars, but I’d have to say Cal. He’s 88, and over the years he’s formed some amazing relationships with the team. He’s taken team members to the Padres game or to Disneyland. If you mention Cal, everyone’s face lights up. He’s been coming here since the beginning and is just a joyful, really cool person.

Who’s your longest serving staff member?

Rachel Debber has been at Jeune et Jolie since it opened. Before that, she was part of the opening team at our sister restaurant Campfire in 2016. She’s just been crushing it and was promoted to GM last year [she was previously running the bar program]. She really understands the culture, and is a great leader and force to be reckoned with.

What’s the most memorable request you’ve received from a customer?

We always try to go above and beyond and find ways to surprise and delight, but one fun request was from a couple who held their wedding here last June. They had their first date at Jeune et Jolie, so it was a really special place to them. We don’t typically do events, but this particular example shows how impactful restaurants can be for the community.

What’s the best seat in the house?

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Chef and owner Eric Bost says you can’t really go wrong with where you decide to sit. | Credit: Lily Glass

I really believe that you can’t go wrong no matter where you sit. There are two distinct vibes at the restaurant. The dining room is high energy, and you feel like you’re part of the entire place. The outdoor patio is just beautiful, and you can take advantage of the beautiful SoCal weather. The bar is a special place, too. You get a bird’s-eye view of everything, including the open kitchen.

When is the best time to find a reservation? 

We sometimes have openings late in the evening during the week. Planning in advance is really best—we open the books two months in advance—but we occasionally have some last-minute openings pop up. So it’s worth it to check same-day, as well.

What’s been the biggest change at the restaurant since the opening?

One of the biggest changes is the addition of the outdoor patio, which was a result of COVID. We completely gutted the outdoors. There’s now a fireplace, two huge olive trees, and bucket chairs. The shift from a la carte dining to a four-course menu was also a big change and the natural evolution of the restaurant.

What’s your favorite award you’ve won?

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Bost’s leadership has led to Jeune et Jolie earning a MICHELIN Star for three consecutive years. | Credit: Elodie Bost

I’d say earning the MICHELIN Star over the past three years, because it’s a wonderful endorsement of the team’s continual hard work and our commitment to showing up every day with intention, thoughtfulness, and genuine care for our guests.

Karen Palmer is a pizza- and pasta-obsessed food writer based in Los Angeles. She is the former editorial director of Tasting Table, and her work has appeared in Eater, Food & Wine, Travel + Leisure, and many other publications. Follow her on Instagram at @karenlpalmer.

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