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  • Writer's pictureDavid Boylan

Style and substance at Blade 1936 in Oceanside

The culinary team at Blade from left Mario Cassineri, John Carlo Ferraiuolo and Chris Narvaez.
The culinary team at Blade from left Mario Cassineri, John Carlo Ferraiuolo and Chris Narvaez.

I’ll just come right out of the gate and say how much I’ve enjoyed my two visits to this place. There is a lot to love about Blade 1936 so I’ll start with the basics.

First a bit on the historic building as it is of some note. It’s included in the City of Oceanside’s Historical Resources Inventory and was designed by famed San Diego architect Irving Gill in 1936. It’s a mix of modern and Art Deco and local architect Kennith Chriss has added his touches to the space with rustic, wood and steel elements while keeping the historic look and feel intact. The menus are a take on old newspaper issues, along with framed newspaper articles and a time capsule in the floor. There are two private dining rooms, a hopping central bar and an exclusive lounge area. Future plans include the addition of an outside patio seating area and a rooftop lounge with ocean views, which will be quite nice given the coastal location.

Open now for two months, Blade 1936 is the newest in an impressive list of dining options Oceanside and I would have to say it’s my new favorite. It features a menu created by the restaurants Culinary Director and Partner, Chef Mario Cassineri, who I had the pleasure to get to know over a radio interview recently along with Partner, GM and Head Pizza Chef John Carlo Ferraiuolo. Chef Di Cuisine Chris Narvaez also joined us for an episode so it was fun to get to know the culinary talent responsible for the development and execution of this fabulous menu.

And yes, there is wood stacked everywhere which is nothing new in the area but this wood is put to fabulous use in the kitchen. On a side note, I’ve long since discarded my gas grill at home and now cook exclusively with wood and charcoal on either my offset smoker or my Weber grill. It hardly takes much more time and is a much more rewarding and delicious way to grill and smoke food. So I’m completely on board with this trend, especially when talent like that running the kitchen at Blade 1936 prepares it.

As with any solid kitchen, they source locally when they can and bring in imported Italian and other fine ingredients that are not available locally. Featured items include house-made Napoli style wood fired pizzas that feature one of the best crusts I’ve had. A custom-made Stefano Ferrara pizza brick oven from Italy is partially responsible for that crust. That and the house made pizza dough with imported Italian flour and the fact that pizza chef John Carlo Ferraiuolo has traveled the world perfecting his craft.

House-made pasta noodles including spaghetti, ravioli, gnocchi, penne and pappardelle and your choice of sauce including pesto, verdure, Bolognese and formaggi. Bread is baked fresh daily for sandwiches and soaking up their fabulous sauces.

Memorable dishes I’ve sampled included the Prosciutto and Burrata with 18 month aged Parma ham that kind of blew my mind. The Tuna Tartare with avocado, tomato, fried onions and ginger sesame dressing was also a treat. The Beef Ribeye came out sliced on a bed of mustard mashed potatoes with Cipollini onions and a Barolo demi glace. And while I prefer my ribeye bone-in, this was a very nice dish. Every single pizza on the menu sounds very attractive but we ended up splitting the Salsiccia with fennel sausage. I was really looking forward to the leftovers cold the next morning but because my dining companion, Captain Mark Mihelich from Boundless Boat Charters had delivered three very large chunks of Halibut to me earlier, I reluctantly let him have it. I seriously doubt the leftover pizza made it back to his house.

For dessert, they suggested the Blade Sweet Basket, which is an edible bowl of fresh bread, filled with Nutella and Italian donuts. Oh my. This was enough for 3-4 people and we killed it. I’m still thinking about that dessert. In fact, I’m still thinking about all the food, the space, the unpretentious and eclectic Oceanside clientele, and the fact that I can swing by this place on my way back from my Oceanside office to Leucadia very easily.

The restaurant is open for dinner every day and brunch on the weekend, with menus perfect for sharing and a menu tailored for children and those following gluten-free and vegan diets.

Find them at or 401 Seagaze Drive, Oceanside. 760.231.1456

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