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Oct 2, 2007 06:12 PM

Urban Solace in San Diego

Hello. Been having lunch (5 so far) and dinner (1 so far) at new joint near my apartment.

So far everything has been amazing. Brandt Farms burger (cheap too!) and braised beef joe are awesome.

Desert not crazy about but food is amazing for the prices. Lobster pot pie to die for.

Check this place out.

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  1. We've passed this place a couple of times - I thought it was a coffee place. Thanks for the recommendation - we'll give it a try soon for lunch!

    1. I was in the neighborhood today and had lunch with a friend at Urban Solace. Absolutely loved the space, from the richly burnish brick wall to the deep wood finishes and the soothing and inviting patio, to the beautiful stained glass windows framing the front of the building. Stylishly elegant. The lunch menu offered up an exciting array of choices as did the drink menu. Feeling like we wanted to try everything we decided to split the hard pear cider that was on tap, an arnold palmer iced tea and a fresh lemonade. The arnold palmer was served with a small pitcher of simple syrup for sweetening to taste, the lemonade was great and the pear cider refreshing. Off to a good start.

      A pile of cheese biscuits with orange honey butter was listed among the starters and sounded so enticing we threw caution to the wind and decided to order those as well. 5 small, square biscuits were set between us accompanied by an enormous crock of orange honey butter. The cheese biscuits were quite good and contained nice bits of green onion. The butter provided a note of sweetness on the front end but was, unfortunately, overwhelmed by the orange on the finish. In fact, the orange peel in the honey butter was so strong it was bitter and it definitely did not do a thing to enhance the cheese biscuits. Quite simply, the green onions in the biscuits and the orange peel in the honey butter were not compatible. We greedily finished off the biscuits but passed on the butter. I'm guessing the chef was trying to go for the complimentary combination of sweet and savory, but I don't think orange is the right compliment. Do not hesitate to order the biscuits though, they can stand on their own without adornment. They are also available a la carte by the each for $1.25.

      My friend had the Monte Diego a playful and updated version of a Monte Cristo. The sandwich was very, very good with nice slices of ham, turkey, cheese and pear. There was a little souffle cup of either apple butter or pear butter that did add a really nice accent to the sandwich.

      I had the braised short rib joe, a riff on the sloppy joe. I really, really wanted to like this sandwich. I give the chef an "A" for creativity but the execution was a bit off. The meat was very tender and devoid of any fat. The bun on which it was served nicely toasted. But the sauce on the meat just didn't do it for me. The first bit I took, the meat tasted more like an Italian sausage than short rib or sloppy joe. The strong spice in Italian sausage is usually fennel seed, and my guess would be that fennel seed may have been used in the sauce. If that is, indeed, the case, they need to cut it back a bit. I had my friend (a chef by trade) try the meat as well and the first words out of his mouth were "too much fennel". By no means did the fennel ruin the sandwich, but it was enough of a flavor clash to be a little disconcerting.

      Both plates came with a very generous portion of delicious, crisp and golden sweet potato fries. Interesting thing, I can eat french fries all day long, but I couldn't eat that many sweet potato fries, perhaps because the texture is more dense and it takes fewer to satisfy. In any event, they were a pleasant change of pace.

      We skipped dessert because we were too full. Our total bill, 3 drinks, the cheese biscuits, 2 sandwiches, tax and tip came to $36. Prices are ridiculously fair, especially in light of the quality of the food served and the portion sizes. Service was pleasant and attentive and our server answered every question we had.

      Urban Solace has only been open a couple of weeks according to our server. Though I think they're probably still tweaking their recipes and getting some kinks worked out, they're doing a lot of things right already. Even though everything we tried didn't quite work, it didn't miss the mark by much and both my friend and I were very pleased with our meal. I'm going to try and go back for dinner next week if I can. When Urban Solace really hits it's stride it will be a deliciously sophisticated addition to the growing number of interesting restaurants in North Park.

      I would seriously encourage everyone to go and at least try this place once. I think you'll like it, we sure did.

      1. We also had lunch today at Urban Solace in North Park, which bills itself as serving "new American comfort food."

        Since I agree with many of the DiningDivas comments above, I'll keep this brief. We started with the Goat Cheese/Butternut Squash Dip served with baguettes. It was very good, sweet but with a heat that built slowly. Like the Dining Diva, I also had the braised short rib joe sandwich. The first taste was a surprise and I too attributed this to fennel seed, but overall I liked it pretty much but would probably order other items in the future. The accompanying sweet potato fries were very yummy -- sweet and salty -- but a few go a long way. My companion's Mac and Cheese (with carmelized bacon and charred tomatoes) was a nice upgraded version of the classic. We too skipped dessert.

        We loved the feel of the interior, comforting, fairly minimalist, sophisticated. Only three tables were occupied when we were there, but even then the music and the conversations from the staff behind the bar were bouncing around the space. Since there is not a sound-absorbent surface to be had anyplace, this place is going to be very noisy when busy. For diners preferring a quieter environment, the patio may be a better choice.

        There are many other items on the menu that sound intriguing and we will definitely go back.

        1 Reply
        1. re: JeffSD

          Apparently there's an Urban Solace epidemic this weekend. Went last night.
          Loved loved loved The Wedge: a creamy take on the iceberg lettuce + blue cheese classic. Loved loved loved the tomato fennel soup.

        2. Sweet potato fries? Will be heading there this week! ;)

          1 Reply
          1. re: dustchick

            We too went there this weekend. It was a mixed review. After having waited 40 minutes (they said a 20 minute wait, but they're small and new so I don't fault them) they offered us to sit outside because they did not know how much longer it would be. They admitted the seats were not near heat lamps, but we decided to freeze because we were starving (and noted that the patio was quite empty so we could have sat there from the get go).

            Some folks ordered soup, I ordered the butternut squash and goat cheese dip. The soups came and were tasty, but lukewarm, which was quite a disappointment because we were looking to warm up. About 20 minutes later, I inquired about the dip and was told that it wouldn't be coming out until after the entrees (???) so I cancelled the order.
            I had the chicken and dumplings, which was tasty, but not spectacular and quite a small portion compared to the rest of the entrees. Someone else had the lobster pot pie which was quite yummy. The salmon BLT was also a hit. The waiter offered us a dessert for free due to the dip issue, which I thought was nice. We had the peanut butter and chocolate creme brulee. It was quite tasty. However, the chocolate layer at the bottom of the dish was quite watery. So visually a little off, but the taste was divine.

            Another complaint is that the website said that they validate parking at the lot across the street, the waiter confirmed it and "validated" the parking ticket. When we got to the gate, the attendant said "we don't validate for them" and we had to pay $5. I think this was an issue with the parking lot and not the restaurant, but it did leave a bit of a bad taste in our mouth on the way out, because we would have found street parking if not for the representations of validated parking.

            Overall, an enjoyable place and I think it will be quite good once the kinks get worked out.

          2. Went to Urban Solace today for a late lunch/early dinner. They serve the lunch menu until 5 pm. It was very quiet while we were there (about 4 pm). We shared the sweet potato fries, which were yummy. My SO had the cheese sandwich with tomato fennel soup, which he loved. The sandwich also came with the sweet potato fries, so the server offered him a side salad instead - a nice touch. I had the vegetable pot pie, which was creamy and decadent and quite flavorful.

            We're both looking forward to returning and trying more of the menu!