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Jun 18, 2007 06:21 PM

Stuck going to group dinner at Dakota Grill, San Diego-help!

Searched the board and found references like "overpriced tourist trap" - it's going to be a big group business dinner so I don't have a choice - can I eat anything here that won't be awful??? Maybe the mini-bar in my hotel room before dinner would be better?

On a positive note, MY group will be dining at The Guild the next night - my choice. I'm excited about that!

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    1. re: Josh

      Thanks, I got that from the posts but, as I mentioned - I'm stuck! Is there anything palatable that I can eat there?

      1. re: beachgirl54

        Sorry, was called away from the computer before I could edit. Um, honestly I've been there only twice and never had anything better than average. I don't know how to advise you except to say that your meal probably won't be bad, it just won't be terribly interesting. I never had anything inedible there. IIRC, the rotisserie items weren't bad.

        1. re: Josh

          Cohn establishments are on the everybody-loves-to-bash list because they are very successful. These folks rarely miss a beat. Their staff is very well-trained and typically courteous and helpful. I have yet to have a single bad meal at a Cohn restaurant. I've often wished some of the more prestigious places I've been had their staff trained by the Cohens.

          Breaking new ground? Innovation? Heck, no, that's not their business.

          Not every establishment is a Ferrari- many are Yugos, Kias and Ford Fiestas. Cohn restaurants are Hondas. Not the best car on the road, but 90% of the world will be happy to drive one. Very reliable. Their Accord is Dakota Grille, the Civic is Corvette Diner. If they had an Acura, it would be Blue Point and Island Prime.

          Go, enjoy your meal and your group. You'll have a good, solid meal with refreshingly courteous non-stuffy service.


          PS: You may wish to schedule an appointment with your chiropractor for the day after your Guild visit. That furniture looks cool, but I don't suggest actually using it. The Eames must be rolling in their graves. In laughter.

          1. re: Fake Name

            Funny, all this time I was thinking that my views on Cohn restaurants were arrived at by dining at them and finding the food to be consistently mediocre.

            I agree that the service is good at their establishments, but you can't eat service.

            1. re: Josh

              Sorry, Josh, it was not a personal attack. No need to defend. I apologize for my generalization.


            2. re: Fake Name

              I agree with you on Cohn group restaurants. They are reliable. I've eaten at The Prado many times and always enjoyed it. It is not totally boring food, but it is a small chain. I haven't eaten at Dakota in years, but I remember it as a good meal. Group dinners can be a REAL disappointment anywhere. I predict you will not be miserable. You might even enjoy yourself!

      2. It's been a while since I've eaten at Dakota Grille, but I remeber it being good - not curl your toes, can't wait to go back, how did they think of that combination, great, but good. I also like the space. It's an old building, with a slightly sunken main room and second floor dinning.

        As far as the Cohn restaurants being a chain, I don't know. To me chains are Olive Garden, Mimis, Outback. Mortons and Ruth Chriss are also chains but make damn good steaks. Each of the Cohn restaurants is different and each appeals to a different demographic. I think the Prado, Kemo Sabe, and Ingigo Grill try to be a little more innovative than say the Corvette or Dakota but may sometime miss in execution or consistency.

        None the less, you could do alot worse for a group meal...see chain list above.

        1. I think you're getting a little too worked up over this dinner. Dakota Grill is a fine restaurant (not fine dining, but fine as in okay) with good (not great or fabulous, but definitely edible) food. No, it's not a top restaurant with creative dishes and over-the-top entrees. But it's not like you're going to go in there and starve! I've heard the pork chops are tasty and I'm sure if you stick with basic dishes you'll be just fine. It's not like you're going to Applebees for dinner.

          I can see why some people on the Board don't like the Cohn restaurants. They tend to be pricey without being showstopping. But, everyone's experiences differ, too. I've always had wonderful service at any Cohn restaurant (even Island Prime) I've dined at, but we just don't go very often because it's a little expensive for our tastes.

          Enjoy your big group dinner (and the smaller one after it) and rest assured that you won't walk out of there disgusted and hungry.

          1. You should totally tell them that your eyebrow hurts and you can't make it!

            1. I've had good luck at Dakota. If you like fish, I've always enjoyed the salmon with horseradish sauce there. It's creamy and has enough of a bite to make it fun, but not too much that it overwhelms the fish.

              The mohito is also very good. Just relax and enjoy. Other than the bathroom being two floors below, it really is a beautifule venue.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Paladar

                Thanks to everyone for their comments (not sure I get the eyebrow one though). My concerns were based on what I was able to mine from previous board posts on this place. Now that I know more, I'm not worried - and I think I'll have the salmon. Thanks again.