First, a San Diego burger pix:
This is what a bad burger tastes like. Do not eat Hodad’s. Do not fall for the local prank. There i no pride in this chain, with its thick nasty slices of onion, and equally tasteless commercially grown tomatoes. Go eat at Burger Lounge, which are plentiful in San Diego since they originated there.
This is a newer sister restaurant to another very popular San Diego izakaya located in the Convoy Asian food row. For Angelenos reading, think of it as a Shin Sen Gumi yakitori-ya with less offerings. The service is affable and expeditious, and they do offer a litre mug of Kirin. It’s a nice choice for those travelers who reside in cities with… no Japanese people.
There is also a noodle menu, since ramen is all the trend here. Those looking for Yamada-ya level of pork attach won’t find it here. The noodles are thin and plentiful, and they can be ordered hayame. There are wee puddles of black garlic floating on top, but they aren’t particularly pungent. The broth is thin and reminescent of lighter chicken broth at Jidaiya. For those looking for
This place is super fresh-to-table gastropubby. Wood boards, charcuterie, fancy cocktails, name-dropping of farms (Chino Farms), shared plates, you get the gist. It was recommended by Chef Wellmann of Petrossian. Good enough for a fancy chef who cooked extremely enjoyable food, good enough for a blogtard. It’s as costly as any LA gastropub (think: Eveleigh, Wood/Vine, MB Post, Tar and Roses, etc.), and nearly as tasty.
The execution in certain food components was a wee bit off (jalapeno cocktail not strained, tasting a bit like a pressed juicery offering; quenelled liver mousse was much too watery), but this place, especially when drenched in La Jolla sun, is a good time.
Saving the best for last: Fish 101
DISCLOSURE: THIS WAS A COMPLIMENTARY MEAL
The chef/owner is a ex-San Francisco sushi chef who really loves surfing. He surfs, he’s teaching his kids to surf, his restaurant is right off the beach highway and quarter mile from the sand. Despite an outwardly label of a (New) American restaurant, it’s really a nouveux fish shack to the tune of Neptunes Nest. Except the food here tastes good, and not everything is fried. There’s a very reasonable and generous list of local beers which pair well with both fish tacos and Asiany sashimi/crudos.
There is nothing like this is Los Angeles, where red-blooded Americans can go for affordable seafood and a big pint of brew. None. Not Santa Monica Seafood, not the pricey BP Oyster, not the even pricier L&E Oysters. Fish & chips $12 (BP Oyster: $16), chowder $5.5 (BPO: $8), tuna sandwich $9.5, (BPO: $18), oyster poboy $10.50, (L&E $15), wedge salad $6.5 (L&E $15). The list goes on and on. Fish 101 keeps the prices low because they utilize a counter order service with bussers, runners and no waiters. Then again, SO DOES FATHER’S OFFICE. The only weakness is the grilled fish, which arrived a bit overdone and underseasoned. This is a ethnic issue. Again, for the red-blooded American, this is probably a great piece of fish filet. For the rest of non-Romantic language speaking world, especially those who enjoy bones in their fish, just skip this seafood ennui and go with very tasty steamed mussels.
Bonus Round: Coffee at Bird Rock
They couldn’t make me a cortado. But the beans I ended up buying, a Ethi Sidamo, was really brilliant. I mean, just about the perfect denotation of this variety, and so versatile whether a light or a heavy dose. Big fan of this place and the roasting, just lacking in barista-ship found in say.. San Francisco/Seattle.
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