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San Diego Restaurant Week 2008


This year we get SDRW twice! The problem I'm running into is that I don't feel intrigued by many of the menus (and some of the restaurants we enjoyed last year aren't on the list). On top of that, while I'd be willing to pay $30 for most of the menus, the restaurants with $40 menus aren't jumping out at me. I know, $40 for a 3-course meal is a bargain, but not so much if the desserts are ordinary (choc. lava cake, sorbets, fruit tarts) and the appetizers aren't very interesting.

So, have you given any thought to SDRW yet? Where do you think you'll be making reservations?

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  1. Interesting - I just browsed some of the menus and think some of them actually look better than last year. George's is offering five or six choices for the first two courses, and Bertrand at Mr. A's is offering more than usual as well. It looks like Market and Blanca are also offering some good stuff.

    Last year we went to 1500 Ocean, which was great, and to AR Valentien, which was not so great. I think we might try Blanca and go back to 1500 Ocean if we get a chance. Which ones were you looking at that were disappointing?

    7 Replies
    1. re: Alice Q

      Maybe I'm just remembering the great meals we've had in the last couple of years and I'm sad that those dishes aren't on any menus. We went to Baleen last year and I had a fabulous osso bucco on chocolate risotto. The year we went to Island Prime, there was a goat cheese souffle, steak tartare, rack of lamb, and a really nice chocolate trio dessert.

      I guess if I look more closely at the menu items, some items would stick out, but it just seems like an awful lot of beet salads, duck confit/roast duck, and chocolate cakes. Granted, I haven't looked at ALL the menus... hopefully this thread will spotlight some of the good ones.

      Despite the noise, we had a good meal at Chive, too, but they aren't on the list this round.

      I would like to try Market, and I suppose now's a good time to finally get to 1500 Ocean. It does certainly seem like the decent meals are edging into the $40 range, which I understand given the rise in costs of everything, but it was so fun to get a fancy meal for $30!

      1. re: leanneabe

        Ah - I like duck confit, so you'll get no complaints from me there! :-) I have not tried Baleen, and I did like that chocolate trio at Island Prime, though I didn't go there on restaurant week. I've also been to Chive and had a good meal, but that was before the chef change. I used to love those coffee braised short ribs they had.

        I will say one thing - the $40. price tag is not necessarily such a deal if you drink. We've found ourselves staring down the barrel of $200. per couple with tax and tip - after adding in a round or two of $10. cocktails and two $50. bottles of wine. If the place isn't putting their best food forward, it can be awfully disappointing.

        1. re: Alice Q

          I believe CHIVE has been added to the list. The food is very different since the chef change a few years ago, but I don't think one would be disappointed. I dined there about 2 months ago with some colleagues from out of town. We were all very impressed. Fresh food with great flavors and a variety of options to meet even the most finicky eater's requests.

          1. re: sdrebel

            Interesting... it looks like the list of restaurants has gotten quite a bit longer!

        2. re: leanneabe

          I finally remembered my password here - kidding sorta, but I'm always pleasantly surprised when I get it right on the first or second try.

          Anyhow, another thumbs up to 1500 Ocean - ate there for a recent splurge meal and at least saw some of the items on the menu for RW. The angus beef culotte and chocolate chipotle cake are great!

          I see the Boathouse is on the $40 list - yeesh. I'm thinking for sure Arterra, I thought maybe Blanca but then saw some not great things here, I'd save George's for the summer RW because of the view. I think Bertrand might be a little "too" for me. Maybe Laurel.

          Just based on reputation Tapenade and/or Nine-Ten, but I really haven't reviewed menus too closely. I certainly think it's time to start grabbing reservations. I really liked Oceanaire last year - probably not that outstanding of a bargain at $40 though.

          1. re: FireFlyFiftyFive

            I've been to the boathouse, it's OK but, even if they were on RW of $30. I wouldn't go.

            1. re: FireFlyFiftyFive

              I've ate at both Tapenade and Nine-Ten during restaurant week. The food at Tapenade was fantastic, our server was snotty. This was during RWs first year and it was pretty clear that our waiter felt RW was below the restaurant and we were riff-raff. The food at Nine-Ten was very good too, the service was not; they were slammed and having a hard time coping.

        3. Great minds, etc. etc.

          I was literally on the website 5 minutes ago to double-check the dates. I already have a list going, but it's kind of short. Some of the menus didn't appeal, so I know how you feel. I was a little disappointed in Nine-Ten, JRDN, and Avenue 5's menus (I was looking for restaurants I had already wanted to try). Avenue 5's seemed boring to me.

          I'm thinking Market, Arterra, and Cavillon.

          Is it just me, or are most of the restaurants on the $30 list not appealing? The only resto on that list I'd consider is Kensington Grill. It's too bad, because $30 can be an absolute steal for well-prepared food, regardless of the menu.

          1 Reply
          1. re: geekyfoodie

            You have a good list with the $40 restaurants.

            As far as $30 menus, maybe give La Bastide in Scripps Ranch a try - though depending on exactly the menu for RW you can sometimes get by there for about $30 a person anyhow - though they do have some entrees around mid-20's normally.

            Other mildly interesting $30 picks to me might be Croce's or Blue Point Coastal.

          2. We kind of jumped the gun and made reservations based on repuation more than menu. We're doing Tapenade, Jack's and Arterra.

            Market had a great meal last year, as did Jack's and Nine-Ten. Other serious contenders for this year included Cavaillon.

            1. We already have reservations at 1500 Ocean. It was the only menu that looked really interesting to us. We ate there last year for RW and it was divine. Plus, $40 per person is a steal for that place.

              I agree that most of the menus this year look similar and pretty unexciting. I think we are going to also hit Americana in Del Mar. Anyone been there yet?

              3 Replies
              1. re: LaurenZ

                I have eaten breakfast/lunch at Americana.

                I really liked it, yummy food, nice atmosphere, outside seating.

                We had out cat with us, in her carrier, when we ate there, as we were between homes and staying at a motel (eeek!).

                For that reason alone, that I could eat there with my cat, was one that will have me going back.

                1. re: LaurenZ

                  We've been to Americana for dinner and at $30/person, I'm not sure it's that great of a bargain b/c you'll come close to that without RW. Breakfast is a lot better than dinner. Dinner stuff tended to be hit and miss.

                  1. re: LaurenZ

                    We ate there last week. I thought the steak and pomme frites were just about as good as Flemmings.. and I think it was only 24.00.. The food we have found has always been good. Not over the top creative..like Market..but very good. Not sure if I would go for restaurant week though..there seem to be better deals..

                  2. thanks for the heads up. We hit up 4 restaurants last year, was thrilled with all but one. Unfortunately we had a pretty bad experience at Baleen. The food was overcooked, undercooked, missing, bland, and that was with 4 people! The service was almost reprehensible (including rude at one point) and we weren't even complainers. The UT had a comment section for the Restaurant Week and there were numerous negative comments about the Baleen experience, so I wanted to offer a counter-point.

                    Looking forward to trying a few new places this year!

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: MrKrispy

                      Nice repoorts AQ and MrKrispy, I looked at a few menus and they look very interesting. I also noticed that some establishments were up-charging for some entrees, up to $10. So the $40. is now $50. I wish they would think past RW and look for repeat business. I'm sure I'll order wine, coffee etc. with the meal, don't they get it?

                      1. re: cstr

                        I am noticing that a lot of the menus are repeats from last year. The $10 extra for steak, etc... really bugs me. Either add a fourth entree or just don't put it on the menu. We skipped Rainwater's because of that, even though I had always wanted to try it.

                    2. It's also really late! It was early Jan last year - too bad, I'll be back at school in LB for the Jan-Feb one.

                      1. hmm I think I will finally get around to trying Market, it gets decent reviews here.

                        7 Replies
                        1. re: MrKrispy

                          Their regular menu is good, and I hope they are the sort of place that will do their best to maintain that level of quality for RW. You many need reservations in advance; many of the better places are completely booked.

                          1. re: MrKrispy

                            I just made my reservation at Market today. Wednesday evening of RW and all they had was 8:15pm. The person I spoke with said they were really busy that week, so if you want to try it, it's probably good to give them a call ASAP.

                            1. re: geekyfoodie

                              I made my reservation a week ago or so thankfully. Now I need to get on the ball and fine another place for us to go. My girlfriend was curious about thee Bungalow since Cohn bought it, but I am still leery.

                              1. re: MrKrispy

                                For $30, the menu at Thee Bungalow isn't bad. I think the duck is usually $25? If you do get the duck, the cumberland (cherry) sauce is the best one. The mousse is good, but rich (my friend says it's so rich she cuts it with the creme brulee!). We love Thee Bungalow... I know it gets shunned because it's now owned by Cohn, but I've never come away disappointed. And, for a $30 menu, isn't SDRW the optimal time to try it out?

                                1. re: leanneabe

                                  The Cohn Group is having their own Anniversary Special through the 10th and you can get both items you just suggested plus an appetizer for $20.08.

                                  1. re: DougOLis

                                    I am doing the $20.08 dinner at Kemo Sabe tomorrow night. I am leaning towards Peohe's for SDRW. I haven't been impressed at most of the menus I looked at, but maybe they are better than they sound. This will be my first Restaurant Week, so I hope it's good!

                                    1. re: marymbs

                                      FYI on Peohe's--the food is "eh" at best (decent but nothing that is memorable) and it's more about the view there than the food. You can do better for SDRW.

                          2. Even though Currant seems to be getting mixed reviews their menu looks interesting and is $30 which seems surprising. We are also going to give Romesco a try as we have been meaning to since the Gourmet review and other positive mentions. It also is $30.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: jturtle

                              Has anyone been to Bamboo Sushi Lounge?

                              1. re: FireFlyFiftyFive

                                I think it starts tonight - we're going to Blanca tomorrow.

                                1. re: FireFlyFiftyFive

                                  We did Tapenade tonight. All of it was very good. Beet salad was delish. Wild mushroom ravioli also delish. Out of the 3 desserts, I liked the vanilla rice pudding w/ caramelized pineapple the best.

                                  Then it's on to Arterra on Wed and Jack's Formal Dining Room on Friday.

                                  Somewhere in the midst of this we have to finish a huge pot of really good Colombian-style chicken, corn and potato stew....

                                  1. re: FireFlyFiftyFive

                                    we are hitting up Market tonight, I am excited. Anyone tell me what the attire is there? Thanks!

                                    1. re: MrKrispy

                                      Market attire is dressy casual to somewhat dressy. I have seen people in jeans with a button up shirt, but I think most men were in slacks/polo shirt/button shirt when I went.

                                      We hit up Laurel last night. Mixed reviews...the lobster fritters were cold and tasteless, the salmon had good flavor, but was WAY undercooked, The surf and turf (I think they called it land and sea) got rave reviews. I don't eat lamb, but the two people who ordered it in our group were quite pleased. And the chocolate banana bread pudding with peanut butter ice cream was superb. I need to find out where they buy that ice cream and/or if they make it themselves, if they will sell it to me. Yum.

                                    2. re: FireFlyFiftyFive

                                      Not yet... we're going to 1500 Ocean on Wednesday. It was either there or Market, but the 1500 menu sounded pretty tasty. I'm hoping we get to Market in the summer (or maybe before, just on our own).

                                      1. re: FireFlyFiftyFive

                                        We did Bamboo Sushi Lounge tonight. First thing was when I called to make reservations, I had to leave a message at the corporate office and they didn't return my call for a week. Then, they said they only had reservations available at 5pm or 8pm, so we chose 5. There was NO ONE there but us. People started to filter in by 6, but it certainly wasn't full, so I'm not sure why we weren't offered other time slots. The appetizers were a mixed salad-nothing special, a miso soup-bland and lukewarm and an edamame hummus with pita. That was very good and we all enjoyed it. Next course I had an ahi tartare, which was very good. The soft shell crab was also very good. The crabcake was ok, not the best I've had and also very spicy. For the main course, I had the lobster macaroni and cheese and my tablemates couldn't keep their forks out of it. We also tried the petite filet which was very good served with wasabi mashed potatoes and crispy onions. Also, the salmon with asparagus. Quite good as well. The dessert was average. Nothing special-Gelato with churros and gelato with cookies. It was a chilly night, so I wasn't in the mood for gelato. The cookies did not taste freshly made. The bartender did give us a sample of his tangerine mojito which was tasty. We didn't order drinks, but they had some interesting ones on the menu(pomegranate martini, etc.) It was a fun night out, but overall I don't recommend it. Maybe the sushi bar is nice. I guess they have only been open about 3 months and are owned by the same people as Sushi on The Rock. I hope you all have good RW experiences!

                                      2. Just did Blanca for restaurant week - we liked it a lot. We had a party of 4, and ordered everything on the resto week menu, plus a few things off the menu. My husband had the carpaccio with caesar salad and a veal ravioli dish that was out of this world. We also tried the lobster sausage corn dogs - which were fun and tasty - we especially liked the lavender mustard and green tomato ketchup alongside - we just wished we had more corn dogs to dip in it. The hamachi was also good - maybe a little too much sauce on top, it kind of overpowered the delicate fish. They pour a light ponzu soy sauce over it at the table.

                                        I ordered the salad and scallops off the resto week menu - other choices were a cauliflower soup (the online menu says chestnut) and a short rib main. I tasted the soup and it was phenomenal. The salad was fine - bitter greens, bleu cheese, pears and candied walnuts. The two mains were both were very good, but I was really blown away by that veal dish - and it's only $26.

                                        Desserts were a butterscotch pot de creme that was actually a pudding and a lemon cheesecake. James also ordered the cheeses, which were AMAZING. Four little indiviudal composed plates with accompaniments and what amounted to a whole loaf of bread. After dessert they brought little chocolates as a mignardise.

                                        We really liked the vibe of the room and the service was excellent. Better than Market on Saturday night, though Market's food is probably just as good, technically speaking.

                                        I also had the impression that Blanca's regular menu was more expensive overall with entrees in the 30s - 40s, but I saw many in the 20s. I would definitely go back.

                                        4 Replies
                                        1. re: Alice Q

                                          Blanca's butterscotch pot du creme is one of my favorite desserts! Their truffled popcorn is also really good. I also agree that their cheese plate is very tasty!

                                          I do agree that their entrees run higher than most other places in the same category.

                                          1. re: daantaat

                                            Actually I think they may have adjusted their prices, check the menu online and let me know if you see a difference from past visits http://www.snugsites.com/storage/cust...

                                            For example, shortribs at Blanca are only $26, but Market's online menu says $34.50. And actually, the veal dish is $23, not $26. They also have scallops and jidori chicken on the menu in the 20s - there are some dishes that are higher, seafood and steaks mostly - but not as many as I had thought.

                                            I think I liked Market's summer menu better, but between what I had at Market on Saturday and Blanca on Monday, I'd give the nod to Blanca.

                                            Looking forward to hearing about your adventures at Arterra and Jack's...

                                            1. re: Alice Q

                                              Hmm, I will have to look when I get the chance. We didn't make it to Arterra b/c my SO was home sick w/ a very bad cold....:-(

                                              Jack's is tomorrow. They messed up the # of people on the reservation (4 instead of 8) but they got us a table for 8 for a reservation 15 minutes earlier than the original one. I consider that pretty good service, given they are booked solid.

                                          2. re: Alice Q

                                            As I suspected - this article from today's UT confirms that Blanca has lowered their prices -

                                            "Last month, the Solana Beach restaurant unveiled a new menu. Gone was the $75 Kobe New York steak; in its place, a Kobe “flat iron steak” from the same farm, for $32. The Day Boat Diver Scallops remains on the menu, but the item, originally $34, is $28"

                                          3. I went to Jade Theater with two friends on Sunday. I've never had their regular menu, but the RW was pretty good. I had the shitake bites and my friends had the ahi, both were good but the ahi was better, great quality fish and yummy sauce. My prawns came out a little lukewarm, but they were big and the tempura broccoli and curry sauce was fabulous. I thought the duck that my friends had was a little overcooked. The desserts were chocolate cake with sake-marinated cherries (only three, I wanted about fifty!) and homemade sorbet ,and banana coconut fritters with two sauces, carmel and I think vanilla, and banana ice cream. I liked those best but they were a tad greasy. Service was friendly and quick but not rushed. I really like the atomosphere of the place, the tables are well spaced and you can have an intimate conversation. Would be a good date place.

                                            On the other hand, we went to Ruths Chris last night, not my pick, and I was disappointed. Not that I had high expectations about the food, but the service was quite rude; we were rushed (they kept asking me if they could take my plate, I probably got asked that about 10 times as I'm sitting there laughing with my date...don't bother me so much! I'm not done!) and the waiter seemed put out that we ordered the RW menu, he even asked me twice if I was aware that the wine was SEPARATE form the RW price. Yes, I see that.

                                            1. We had our dinner at Market and really enjoyed the place. We had the Flat Iron/Shortrib and the Jidori (sp) chicken combo, and they gave us a pached shrimp before the appetizers that was delectable. It was the first time either of us had kale and actually really like it haha. Thanks to everyone for the recommendation.

                                              1. first of all, go pats! ok, the two of us went to the marine room on monday night. we could only get a 5:15 seating when we made the reservation, but it turned out to be just the right time. we got a comfortable booth in the back corner of the dining room with a lovely view of the ocean while it was still light out. we had the prawn duet and the magenta salad for starters. two huge flavorful prawns, and a nice tabouleh. didn't knock our sox off, but very nice. the magenta salad was very good and very pretty to look at. the fig marmalade was squeezed in a line around the base of the square plate. we both had the kobe sirloin, and it was delightful. haven't had a good sirloin in a long time, including the "prime" top sirloin that appears on the menu in several restaurants. these were melt-in-your-mouth tender and bursting with flavor. could have done without the blue cheese and chutney topping, though. the potato pie was also good. we split the chocolate cake and lemon tart for dessert. the chocolate cake was very good, not noteworthy, but the tart, with meringue kiss, was fantastic. thank you, alice q, for the info on no corkage fee. we shared a nice simi 2001 cab. the service was superb. let me say that again. the service was superb.

                                                went to jack's dining room tonight. had the duck confit salad and beet salad to start. both were very good. we both had the lobster entree. beautifully done lobster (and full tail with two claws), but the spicy syrup (vinaigrette) overwhelmed it instead of complementing it. the accompanying jerusalem artichoke and pea shoots were similarly overwhelmed by the syrup. also, the tartness and bitterness of the kumquats just added to the domination of that puckery taste. we brought a veuve clicquot ponsardin that went really well with the 1st two courses. service was impeccable to this point.

                                                we had warm valrhona chocolate cake and parsnip cake for dessert and had high expectations for a jack fisher production. well, it took 20 minutes after our entree dishes were cleared to get our dessert. i said, "whoa, what happened?" to the waiter (who never appeared during that 20 minutes) when he brought them, and he said "don't know, but i got 'em". huh??!!!!!! (by the way, we ordered the desserts at the same time as the other two courses, so he couldn't claim that we had to wait for the preparation of the warm chocolate center). anyway, both desserts were pretty ordinary and failed to meet expectations. it was a truly lovely evening until that point. going to george's on friday...keeping our fingers crossed.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: beantowntitletown

                                                  You're welcome! I like Simi wines, we went to the winery when we were up in Healdsburg and bought several bottles. I don't know if Jack Fisher is still at Jack's - I heard he opened his own business.

                                                2. Went to Cavaillon on Monday for restaurant week and had good appetizers and main courses, but the desserts were absolutely awful. Our table of 5 had each of the 3 choices and one was worse than the other. A big disappointment to an otherwise enjoyable meal.

                                                  1. Had a fantastic meal at Market last night. It started with an amuse bouche of chili-glazed shrimp drizzled with ponzu and ginger sauce and topped with diced pineapple, peppers, and a little sprout of Japanese parsley. Really good. Their bread basket had crusty artisan bread along with amazing cornbread muffins. Fresh, hot, and crumbly, they were incredibly flavorful for a tiny muffin.

                                                    I started with the house-smoked maple-cured salmon, which was topped with two "fish sticks", freshly fried white fish (I'd like to say cod, but I can't remember) triangles sitting on top of a baby greens salad drizzled with a dressing that definitely contained yuzu, which I love for it's pungent bitter/sour/tart flavor. It was garnished with a hard-boiled egg, perfectly done so the yolk is just shy of solid and topped with caviar.

                                                    BF had the French onion soup with house-made meatballs. He thought it was a nice twist on the stereotypical French onion with the huge slab of bread and cheese on top. There was a little cheese and some bread, but the meatballs sat squarely in the middle of the dish.

                                                    For the entree, I had the miso-glazed seabass with shittake mushrooms in a warm broth that was highly reminiscent of Chinese niu rou mien. Rich and probably shoyu-based, it was flavored with star anise, which reminded me of niu rou mein. The fish was served on a bed of perfectly-cooked udon and topped with slivers of enoki mushrooms, baby bok choi, and more Japanese parsley. The fish was incredible, smooth and moist with the deep and almost meaty flavor of miso. The greens were very flavorful, especially the baby bok choi.

                                                    BF's flat iron steak and roasted winter veggies were delicious. He bit into a brussels sprout, which brought a momentary frown, but he thought it was great overall.

                                                    I can't rave enough about the dessert, a vanilla bean panna cotta on top of two crisp meringue sticks and a pool of huckleberry sauce. The panna cotta was smooth and complimented the crunchy meringue and sweet huckleberry sauce fabulously. A yuzu sorbet was served on the side with slices of blood tangerine (is there such a thing... it was dark red tangerine wedges), slivers of apple, and tiny cubes of red jello. It was a berry flavor of some kind, very sweet and definitely not strawberry, raspberry, or cranberry. I couldn't put my finger on it, but I liked it.

                                                    The menu's different from RW's posted menu because they base their menu on whatever ingredients are fresh that day/week. Service was professional and friendly, but there were huge lags between each dish. They were slammed as many of the tables turned over at the same time we sat down. BF and I were a little disappointed that both tables on either side of us sat down later, but were served first and finished first. Our server stopped by after dessert to chat and poor guy seemed a bit harried. As he put it, "Busy is a polite word... I'm thinking more along the lines of 'zoo'." We appreciated that he took the time to see how we were doing.

                                                    I'm definitely going back. On a side note, BF and I had the impression that some of the staff were a little taken aback by us. We were neatly attired on the dressier side of business casual, but we look young. Some people were, oddly enough, raised-eyebrow surprised, like "Oh?! You really do have a reservation!". They were surprised, then quickly covered it up, which we were somewhat amused by. Ah, well...

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: geekyfoodie

                                                      glad you enjoyed it. We were really happy with the Market meals and expected that the RW menu may not be the same as online.

                                                      and the Panna Cotta, wow it was fabulous!

                                                    2. I’ll just toss it all out here, first up was AR Valentien – along with the bread (served up by the bread server guy (with 3 choices including corny muffin)) we got a bowl of olives and a fancied-up deviled egg amuse-bouche before our starter course which was the charcuterie plate (the winner here) that had three nice sized squares of meaty sausage, hammy something and a pate square along with some toasted bread and pickled veggies. (Have I warned about my run-on sentences yet?) The other starter was tuna carpaccio, sliced thinly across the plate, topped with herbs.

                                                      Entrees were the beef shortrib (yum, on the bone, comfort food!) on a bed of polenta along with veggies and swordfish with clams, orzo and tapanade spread on a small toasted bread slice (along with an anchovy?) A complimentary side dish of sautéed tiny turnips and greens was also set down in the middle of the table. Dessert was chocolate cake with a wee scoop of ice cream and panna cotta, caramelized (wha?) grapefruit. All nicely done and delicious.

                                                      Then along with the bill just because we weren’t full enough, they set down a little plate with a couple of berries and 3 small cookies (one with a tiny section of citrus on it). We had also bumped up the bill by going for wine pairing at $25 extra a person (California wines, with an icewine for the dessert course).

                                                      I’ll get to Arterra later tonight – it was still good, but where we’d give AR a solid A grade, here, maybe a solid B to B+. I was happy to see (as listed on the preview website menu) the French Onion Soup with Braised Short Rib, Porcini & cumin crusted Veal Sweetbreads, Gruyere Cheese was served as it is on the regular menu and not dumbed down for RW.

                                                      Both restaurants were in the $40 category – no automatic gratuity added.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: FireFlyFiftyFive

                                                        Of course, I was referring to Arterra with the French onion soup...Continued from the previous post…Okay now Arterra: I asked the waiter, hmm, which one, the cauliflower soup with pancetta and crab or the French onion soup? He made it seem like it wasn’t even up for debate – go with the onion soup – which had the pieces of shortrib and sweetbread. Really good!

                                                        Entrees were decent and (from the website) we got Sweet Soy Glazed Alaskan Black Cod- Braised Daikon Radish, Soba Noodles, Edamame, Spicy Yuzu Ponzu and Braised Prime Beef Short Ribs- Forest Mushroom & Point Reyes Blue Cheese Strudel, Chino Farms Winter Vegetable Roast. Just two pieces of beef – not a whole lot. Maybe not as much as what they normally would serve up?

                                                        Desserts were a pumpkin spice cake with ice cream and some sort of fruity puree and a chocolate brownie dressed up. All in all a good meal. We thought the space was a bit noisy – maybe it is the open kitchen? Service both nights was very good.

                                                      2. the two of us had a terrific $30 meal at le grand cafe at the westgate tonight. called this morning (thursday) for a reservation and got to pick any time...we chose 6:30. a little leery of hotel food, but decided to give it a shot. it's not an adventurous menu, but everything was well-prepared and delicious. we started with the prawn cocktail and westgate salad. the cocktail glass contained 3 huge prawns, all very tasty. the 2 tempura avocado wedges and hearts of palm were a nice addition. the sauce at the bottom of the glass was too much like ketchup. the salad was a mix of frisee and other greens, some sliced pickled pears and apples, and candied walnuts and cashews with a good vinaigrette. not spectacular, but very well done. we both ordered ny strip medium rare, and they were huge (around 12-14 oz) and perfectly cooked. they came pre-sliced on top of a demi-glace with matsutake mushrooms. accompaniments were two bundles of bacon-wrapped wax beans, mini kohlrabi and squash and a ramekin of manchego cheese mashed potatoes. it rivaled any steakhouse combo. for dessert we had a creme brulee sampler and a chocolate duo. the chocolate duo was a sacher torte w/o whipped cream and a small glass of bailey's ice cream with a rich dark chocolate sauce. fantastic. the sampler had almond, lemon, and vanilla cremes brulee and all were outstanding. also, there were only 4 tables occupied the entire time we were there, so it felt like a semi-private dining room, and the service was impeccable. the wait staff told us that they were packed on wednesday night and have 134 reservations for friday night. we just lucked out. although they aren't pushing the culinary frontier here, the meal was a carnivore's delight and a steal at $30.

                                                        1. Did Jack's Formal Dining Room last night. They had an optional extra first course for $8 which most of us got--choice of celery root soup w/ truffles or tuna sashimi cubes. Overall, it was an excellent meal and everyone left feeling satisfied and full. All the servings were standard size and what I'd expect for a non-SDRW portion for those who've wondered about serving size during the week.

                                                          In comparison to our dinner at Tapenade, I enjoyed Jack's much better. Fuller, more complex flavors and textures.

                                                          We heard from friends of ours who went to Market that they also had an excellent meal.

                                                          1. How far in advance can we/do we need to make reservations? I'm concerned that I'm too late for the June 22-27 restaurant week for places like Blanca and George's.

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: MeganLim

                                                              Call now, I'd bet they still have open reservations. There hasn't been much advertising for Resto Week in June.

                                                              1. re: MeganLim

                                                                Both of these places are on Opentable, in fact they usually do a search page where you can find restaurants with available reservations. Just ate at Blanca the other day and it was great - we also went during restaurant week and liked it, but not b/c of the resto week menu. Honestly, I think most places you're better off skipping restaurant week and going for the regular menu another time. I did have a great meal at 1500 Ocean for Restaurant week last year though - it's another place to think about.