For James Limjoco, quality restaurant cuisine needs a unique ingredient not often found in the San Diego area. It’s certainly missing in chain eateries, he feels.

That missing ingredient, according to Limjoco: “Soul”.

He believes “soul” separates the better eateries from the average. And he definitely believes the food at Sublime, located at 10550 Craftsman Way, Suite 186 in 4S Ranch, has it.

“There are two things that I think stand out the most in creating a better dining experience: the food, and the environment we create, which I believe are very much related,” said Limjoco, the owner and chef at Sublime Pizza, which opened locally in 2008. “The food is an aspect that I have concentrated on for a long time now. There are many different ways to create and present food, and if you know some of the techniques involved you can really elevate the way certain types of food taste.”

Specializing in what Limjoco describes as “gourmet comfort food”, Sublime has 17 types of “Mac ‘n Cheese”; 13 types of grilled cheese sandwiches; 20 types of pizzas; truffle fries; creamy tomato basil soup, and many more items. “We essentially have the types of food that warm up your bellies, and satisfy your souls,” said the restaurant owner – who is originally from the San Francisco area, but spent four years in New Orleans perfecting his craft.

And where did Limjoco come up with the restaurant’s name? “I think the word ‘sublime’ best epitomizes the type of food we like to do here,” he said. “Eating food is such a wonderful experience, from the flavors, the smells, the textures — to the creativity that can be achieved by combining all of those same aspects, strange or not. When you take a bite of something absolutely delectable, and there are multiple sensations going on in your mouth and mind, all I can think of is “sublime.”

Sublime Pizza – which was formerly known as Del Mar 

Pizza, prior to its acquisition by Limjoco – features succulent, moist rotisserie chicken on its pizzas and goes to great lengths to ensure the quality of its French fries. “Yes, they are fresh cut, but it takes many steps in order to ensure that these come out a perfect crispness on the outside while maintaining the meat of the potato to give it all the flavor,” Sublime’s owner said. “They must be cut, then blanched in ice water…overnight. The next day a batch is lightly fried, then set out on baking trays. After setting, the batch is fried again just to give the fries that golden brown color and crispness it needs.”Limjoco is adamant about making sure all of Sublime’s menu items have nothing but fresh flavors, something he sees lacking at many restaurants. “Our food is made with a lot of love and attention paid to it, and I do not believe a lot of restaurants in the area can match that,” he said. “And we don’t need a pretentious price tag to show that our food is good.”
Born in Daly City, Calif. (just south of San Francisco), Limjoco attended Tulane University’s School of Business in New Orleans. He comes from what he describes as a traditional Filipino family, where all the food was made with love and you could “actually taste the soul” in the dishes. “I got my love for the fine dining aspect of food, and learning various techniques, from living in such culinary capitals as New Orleans and San Francisco – and spending a good part of my life in Manhattan,” he said. “Creating food became a primary hobby, as I was obsessed with following admired chefs, traveling to distant places just to get a glimpse of their creations.”

Given the current economic situation, Limjoco knew the risk he was taking in leaving a high-level national sales position with a major corporation in order to open Sublime. “For me it was now or never” to open a restaurant, he said. “Either I take the jump now and pursue my dream to own and run my own establishment, or I look for another job in sales.”

And the married father of an infant daughter is confident he made the right decision. “I am so adamant about having only fresh flavors in our restaurant,” he said, that the only item on the menu that is frozen is the ice cream dessert. “Everything is made from scratch. We have a variety of fresh-made aioli…and you can really taste the difference. Everything is made to order, and with attention given to it as if we were making it for an individual we are trying to impress with our food.”

Limjoco believes his customers can taste his passion in the food he serves. “We shred our own cheese, make our own sauce, roast our own veggies — everything is just better when fresh,” he said. “It is like going to a family dinner, because of the comforting aspect of the food.”