Spread Vegetarian Restaurant San Diego -a bit long
I ate at Spread for the first time last night and cannot wait to go back! Unfortunately, we only had about 45 minutes to spend there so we didn't have time to linger nor to order dessert.
When we arrived, we informed them that we were in somewhat of a hurry and were assured that it wouldn't be a problem. Our server said that they usually recommend 3 dishes for two diners (served one plate at a time), but suggested we limit ourselves to 2 due to our time constraints.
They don't use printed menus; instead, their offerings are written on a chalkboard that is brought to the table and carefully explained by the server. He told us how each dish (with the exception of the mushroom ragout -not possible) could be modified to be vegan.
We ordered the squash blossoms stuffed with grits and the banana curry oatmeal -both vegan, both delicious! We also tried their special drinks: a peach lemonade and a plum bellini! Both plates were dressed with edible flowers and topped with fresh chives. Even the drinking water is poured from pitchers packed with flowers!
The decor is simple, clean, and slightly funky. It reminded me of something I'd see in San Francisco or New York...very smart, but not at all pretentious!
Because I was being treated for my birthday (lucky me!) I don't know what the total came to, but I think each dish was around $15. While we were definitely satisfied by the portions, I am someone who likes to eat and experience as many flavors as possible so would probably order 3 dishes (as recommended when time is not an issue) when I return.
I am impressed that they were able to provide creative, freshly prepared, beautifully presented food that was as flavorful as it was inventive...all in under 45 minutes!! Although I prefer to take my time when dining out, it was so nice of them to accommodate us without making us feel rushed.
One more thing: dining companion is not veg and was equally pleased with the entire experience!
Why can't LA have places like this?
I have had breakfast there and have thoroughly enjoyed the food, but I have found the service (a single waitress) to be lacking. It was hard to get coffee refills, we were given an empty sugar bowl, and it took a looong time to get our food. To be fair, they did warn us that the prep was slow. The owner is wonderful and spent a lot of time telling us about the restaurant, the garden out back where the edible flowers and herbs are grown, and his passion for what he is doing. All in all, I would definitely go back. The menu and the experience is very unique for SD.