Romesco Bonita Reconnaisance
I was in the area today so I swung by just to ask a few questions and pick up the menu and wine list.
The menu is pretty giddy inducing - at least for strange old me - who is now fascinated by anything that smacks of Alta Cocina (after experiencing Frida).
Alice - I am sorry I couldnt answer you very well yesterday - this is next on my radar. I think I might save it for my birthday in a month - because it is quite exciting.
Jim Strain and Phee first posted about this place in some classic Chowhound style posts.
First of all - I love the design and ambiance.
They just started serving breakfast on the weekends - which is tempting, to say the utter least.
See the Breakfast Menu:
- Fresh pressed Juices
- House made marmalades
- Pan dulce - Baked in House
- Pancakes with cajeta and bannanas
- Oax Tamales
& EN is gonna love this:
- Shredded Lobster Machaca
A Sampling of the Regular Menu (those that make my heart skip a beat the most):
- Cold Smoked Marlin Tiradito
- Green Ceviche
- Shrimp and crab chile relleno with Pine nut sauce and Pom seeds
-[JOSH] 6 hour Braised Kourabuta Pork Belly - Chile Morita and Tomatillo salsa, uacmole, small flour tortillas.
- Many Cazuelitas
- Ouzo Calamari
-[EN] Chicharron de Borrego taco set
- Oax tamales
>>"Romescos Signature tacos"<<
- Beef tongue in Pipian
- TACOS DE FIDEO! ["Abuelitas"]
- Beef Cheek Tacos with Arbol
- Duck Flautas
- Gobernadores (mesquite grilled shrimp and mozz with gr. hab salsa)
I am sorry I didnt pay attention earlier.
re: epicureous eggplant
We made it to the tapas bar for happy hour on Friday. Happy hour now runs from 3:30 pm – 6:30 pm Mon. through Fri. All 20+ items on the tapas/antojitos menu and our glasses of wine (beer and certain mixed drinks, too) were half price. We had an order of huitlacoche quesadillas, 2 orders of beef cheek tacos, an order of Greek style calamari, an order of Serrano ham (the ham from which orders were being cut was on a rack over a cutting board behind the tapas bar), and an order of grilled octopus. The tapas were all very, very good and were more than enough to serve as dinner. Our entire bill, including four generous glasses of wine, tax, and tip, came to a little over $40.
Appearance-wise, there were some small cosmetic issues, such as some cloudiness on the wine glasses, a chip on a couple of plates, and the olive oil and balsamic vinegar containers on our table having cork stoppers that were obviously cut down to fit the openings. Aside from that, however, the dining room and tapas bar both looked well-appointed and well maintained. With the variety and quality of food available and the terrific happy hour prices, the tapas bar is worth a detour if you’re somewhere nearby during that time.
Had another outstanding dinner on Friday night. Sadly, the pork belly carnitas wasn’t on the menu, but the abalone chorizo sopes sounded interesting. They were very good, but the Baja abalone was more texturally present than noticeable as a flavor. Had the duck breast in black mole for entrée, while spouse had fideua. The duck in mole was fantastic, the mole richly complex and slightly sweet, the duck juicy and very flavorful, both complementing each other perfectly. The fideua was also fantastic, with about half a dozen very large succulent grilled shrimp, tender squid ringlets, and small chorizo bites. It was wonderfully flavored. We finished with an apple tart, which had an excellent flaky crust. The apples were a little tart for me, but spouse liked them. One addition to the menu since we were last here in June is chile en nogada, which I’m definitely ordering on the next visit.
I’m continually impressed by the consistent excellence of everything we’ve had here over the last three years and the restaurant’s ability to keep prices reasonable. This article I discovered through another thread gives me more appreciation for the respect Jorge Plascencia has for the food he offers to customers.
My husband and I had dinner at Romesco on Friday. We had high hopes after reading all of the great reviews here, and were surprised at how disappointing the experience was, especially considering that we tend to not be as "picky" as many of the regular reviewers here (e.g. we're big fans of many of the Cohn group restaurants).
We started with two appetizers, an ahi sashimi and chorizo and abalone tostadas. The sashimi was very tasty. The fish was very fresh and had a wonderful texture and the asian style sauce it was served with was quite nice. That said, there was nothing particularly special about the dish. The tostadas, on the other had, were lacking. Namely, the abalone. If it was there, it was not the least bit detectable. At this point, we just assumed it must be chopped up and mixed in with the chorizo, and it may very well have been, but what would be the point of that? And considering the rest of our experience, we suspect now that it was missing all together.
For our entrees, my husband ordered the duck breast with Oaxacan mole. It was supposed to come with a plantain and pineapple salsa. (The online menu also mentions zucchini blossom flan and nopal asado, but neither of us recalls if these were on the restaurant menu as well). The duck was cooked perfectly and was served over polenta with a small side of steamed veggies (i.e. zucchini and somthing else). The mole was very nice. However, there was no plantain and pineapple salsa which my husband felt would have contributed greatly to the overall dish. As it was, it was tasty, but not particularly memorable. He didn't mention the missing salsa until we were on our way home, so I'm not sure at what point he realized it was missing.
I ordered the chile en nogada, which was supposed to be "pork tenderloin and beef filet picadilo, dried fruit and apple stuffed chile Poblano with walnut and pomegranate sauce." What I was served was completely differenc. The chile was stuffed not with pork and beef, but with a seafood mixture (I detected shrimp and crab) and no fruit and apple. I admit, I had already eaten quite a bit before I noticed, which may seem odd, but I was absorbed in conversation with my husband and my taste buds were more focused on the sauce, which was a bit overwhelming in flavor. It was good at first, but in the end I thought it was too sweet...it tasted like something you would spread on bread to make cinnamon toast, m ore appropriate for a dessert. The seafood filling wasn't horrible, but it wasn't particularly good either. After going home and taking a look at the online menu, I think what happened is that the kitchen pre-makes the stuffed poblanos and there's another item on the menu that is supposed to have the seafood stuffing and the accidentally out the wrong one on my dish.
I know that people will probably ask if we said anything to the server, and if not, why? Well, we didn't, and I suppose we probably should have. Part of the reason was that I had already eaten several bites of mine before I noticed and thought it would be weird to say something at that point. I also didn't know at that time that my husband's dish was also missing something. We did talk about saying something, but figured it would just make the rest of the meal uncomfortable. Looking back, we should of spoken up.
Anyway, the dinner was overall very disappointing, and we will probably not be back.
excellent lunch today. we had duck breast salad and kurabota pork belly carnitas to start. thos were paired up with Gonet Medeville rose (love the stuff, very tight mousse, tiny bubbles). then had some huatoloche quesadillas while the champagne got finished and we started to move to an '07 Penfolds 707 (OMG what a wine). entrees were short ribs, panini and duck/fig risotto. Finished the Penfolds and went back to champagne with a Jacquesson 730 (outside their vinatge wines, the 730 might be my favorite). Great friends, great food, great wine.
kare: I probably should have waited to post today. The "duck salad" was actually the duck carpaccio (orange mustard mojo/dried cranberry/arugula/roasted pine nuts/gorgonzola) but as you can see, it is not presented in the same fashion as a typical carpaccio.
BTW: we brought our own wines.
For those of you interested in Restaurante Romesco you should try listening to the June 11, 2008 episode of The San Diego Gourmet Club which features an interview with the owner & head chef of Romesco. I myself have not eaten at this restaurant yet but with all the good word of mouth I am definitely going to find time to head down to Bonita.
was back in for another meal (lunch) today. service was friendly but a bit spotty. food was excellent and had a very nice chianti classico. spanish platter of serano/manchego and olives (coulda gone a bit heavier with the olives), duck breast carpaccio and a poblano stuffed with crab and shrimp.
if you're planning to do your group dinner here, you won't be disappointed. we had our anniversary dinner here right after it opened in '06 and have been back a few times, but had never ordered the pork belly. we had valentine's dinner here tonight and ordered the kurobuta pork belly as one of our first courses (wanted to compare it to the better half's pork belly). this was to die for! it was served in a small cast iron paella pan and came with mini corn tortillas, red and green salsa, guacamole, and marinated carrot slices. they were the perfect complement to the rich flavor and texture of the pork belly, which the waiter told us is marinated in coca cola, port, and various herbs and spices overnight before its 6 hour braising. and, it was an enormous portion, big enough to be a large entree. so we didn't order the duck breast with roasted fig risotto, and split the milanesa napolitana (spouse's favorite dish, very reliable). we also split the churros for dessert (with dulce de leche dip, vanilla ice cream, hot chocolate, and fresh berries), a perfect ending to a memorable dinner. we brought our own wine, so didn't order any. but there's an l.a. cetto nebbiolo (one of our favorite grapes) from valle de guadalupe on the wine list which we'll try on our next visit. service was unhurried, but excellent. we live about a mile from romesco, so we're finally a tiny bit less envious of the people who live within a short distance of the great places in the hillcrest/bankers hill/north park/kensington area.
I actually meant to mention it too - I also want to try it - if you guys decide to go let me know! I have heard good things about dinner, and that breakfast menu sounds really good.
I love the idea of the churros in a paper bag. I had some like that at a roadside stand at La Bufadora once, and I've never forgotten them.
I've always liked Restaurante Romesco. It's been open almost a couple of years now and we've been there for lunch and dinner numerous times. It advertises itself as a Baja-Med Bistro and offers selections that have their roots in Spain, Italy, Baja, and interior Mexico.
Things I can remember having tried include the duck flautas, a few of the Cazuelitas, the beef cheek tacos, several of the pastas, and the paella. Everything has always been very good, with the exception of the paella. Especially tasty is the signature romesco dipping sauce served with the bread, which is a tomato-based sauce said by some to have originated in Italy and by others to have come from Catalonia. We always wind up asking for extra and one night I just ate it with a spoon, foregoing the (very good) bread. For dessert one night, we ordered the churros which had to have been he best I've ever had. They were served in a small paper sack, just like you'd buy them on the street in Tijuana -- a cute nod to the ownership's roots. There is a definite sophistication level that I don't think is widely known yet in greater San Diego and is definitely worth checking out.
For more about the restaurant ownership and background, check out David Nelson's review in San Diego Magazine from 2006:
re: P Macias
Hey guys, what about Friday Feb. 15th. My office is in Miramar so getting to the South Bay for a weeknight dinner is nearly impossible. But I'm not working on the 15th. I've wanted to check out the new Otay Ranch shopping center. Romescos for happy hour and dinner after an afternoon of shopping sounds pretty appealing. I've had the pleasure of trying several alta cocina restaurants in D.F. and it is, indeed, a genre well worth investigating. It's got all the flavor of traditional Mexican cuisine with the sophistication that the traditional sometimes lacks.