Laurel San Diego
I will second Captain Jack and Mimosa's comments. My first visit to Laurel, soon after the change in ownership, was quite disappointing. I learned of their 7 before 7 happy hour, and went w/o any expectations a few weeks ago, and was surprised and impressed. While we only ate at the bar, the appetizers we ordered were excellent, and the bartender was very friendly and knew his stuff as well as the patrons. High marks all around.
We just ate at the bar there last week. We'd been twice since it changed hands, once right after the switch and once a few months later when the menu, decor etc. had been redone. After those visits we were disinclined to return because we felt the food and overall experience was lacking.
I realize it must be difficult to take over a place with a reputation like Laurel and given this, we went with open minds and tried to avoid before/after comparisons. That said, Laurel #1 was our top choice for special occasions. The new owners kept the name and promised to maintain the high quality so our expectations were high (kinda like the prices). We wanted to love the new Laurel but after 2 lackluster visits, we moved on.
When an event up the road brought us back to the neighborhood last week, we decided to stop in for a quick bite and see if things had improved. I'm happy to report that our experience was terrific. Started with a caesar salad with crispy sweetbreads (yum) and I had the swordfish with a cabernet reduction (difficult wine match but tasty just the same) and the husband had a scallop appetizer (nice presentation and pretty decent portion for an app-- also very tasty).
The guy behind the bar was great. He had a good command of his wine list and made some solid recommendations.
Tho we don't dine out as frequently as we used to, Laurel is definitely high on the list of places we'll consider when we do.
I look forward to your report if/when you visit.