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The Linkery (yeah, one more time) - SD

San Diego doesn't get mentioned much in the New York Times when food comes up. But it did today in their sunday Magazine section which was devoted to food, by way of an article about The Linkery. Here's the link - http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/12/mag...

The rest of the sunday Mag section offered some other interesting reading about food as well. Worth taking a look.

(List mods - I am going to post the link above to the Not About Food Board as well since it deals with tipping. Please let us discuss a local restaurant on the local board. Thanks.)

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  1. A post about this was started here and moved to the Food Media and News Board today, DD.

    1. So how is the food at the Linkery, who cares about the newfangled tip practice, but at the end of the day is the food itself good?

      Also, what other restaurants are good? The restaurants mentioned on the website for the Linkery sound pretty good, but then again he may be giving a shut out to his friends.

      Is the Bud's Louissiana Food Shoppe still there?

      12 Replies
      1. re: kevin

        Bud's has re-opened in Tierrasanta.

        1. re: Cathy

          Where's Tierrasanta? I'm not too familiar with San Diego, beyond the Gaslamp Qtr,
          Petco surroundings, and La Jolla.

          1. re: kevin

            Interstate 15 North of the stadium...(which is at I-15 and I-8)

            I-15 to Clairmont Mesa and East about a mile to Santo Road. It is on the SE corner strip mall.

        2. re: kevin

          The food at The LInkery ranges from good to very good, but can also be a bit inconsistent. And it isn't always about the food. Sometimes it's about the source(s) and sustainability of the ingredients. Do a search of the board and you'll turn up lots of information about The Linkery and it's food.

          1. re: DiningDiva

            Is it true that near the Linkery along 30th, there are a bunch of great restaurants/

            Also, has anyone been to SF's Toronado bar that recently opened up in San Diego/

            1. re: kevin

              30th St. has some incredible gems from Adams Ave all the way down to Juniper in South Park with some additional gems on various side streets.

              Yes, the SD Toronado is open. Excellent beer. None of the charm of the original location, but 3 pints of Pliny the Elder, meh, who needs charm...

              DD, yep saw the piece in the magazine. Showed it to my wife and the only thing she could comment on was the bottom of the receipt - $168.00 -- for what looked like lunch for 3. She reminded me that's why we don't go to the Linkery. She has a point...

              1. re: Ewilensky

                yeah, i thought it might have been lunch for two even.

                but weren't at least half the items on the $168 bill for alcoholic beverages.

                since i'll be a tourist, i gues it's worth at least one try.

                here's another thing on the 18% service charge, that is still tipping in my opinion. a mandatory enforced version of tipping. i would just rather they included it in the already expensive entree prices. Soon enough they will add a water charge and eco-friendly charge to the menu too. And that sausages sandwich will go from $14 bucks per (and already pretty pricey if you ask me) to about $25 with all the extra charges.

                So in conclusion, I believe the Linkery is not a neighborhood restaurant, but is it worth it and good enough as a destination restaurant?

                1. re: kevin

                  Kevin,

                  I'm a bit biased since it is in my neighborhood and I'm not a fan. I like the Linkery for the fact they've been responsible for gentrification in my neighborhood.

                  I'll echo another poster that Hamilton's is my go-to place as well for a pint. I like the selection at the Toronado but in reality all I need is one tap of good craft beer and Hamilton's offers me plenty to choose from with a nice neighborhood ambience. If you see someone reading a book wih a boxer and a mutt, stop by and say "hi."

                  Desitnation restaurants I can suggest, are The Better Half, Cafe Chloe, C-Level (I love love love the view).

                  If you want to experience 30th St. however my picks would be do down to University to 35th and order some street tacos from the Mariscos German truck, walk it off by making your way back down 30th to the Toronado and finish off with dessert at Heaven Sent.

                  Have fun!

              2. re: kevin

                Along 30th you'll find: The Linkery, Ritual Tavern, Urban Solace, Apertivo, Lefty's, Jayne's Gastropub, Vagabond (meh), Rebecca's (coffee), The Daily Scoop (ice cream and cupcakes), Toronado, Hamilton's, and I'm sure others I'm forgetting right now.

                Yes, Toronado recently opened on 30th pretty close to The Linkery. I'm still not sure if the atmosphere has settled in but the beer selection is great. Alternatively I prefer Hamiltons which is a few miles south on 30th; not quite as many taps but just as good of a selection (probably better for local and specialty beers) and a better atmosphere.

                1. re: DougOLis

                  Yep, you forgot Rancho's Mexican. The prices are reasonable, attentive and fast service, and tasty, healthful food. Has Jayne's made any big changes in their menu or variety of options?

                  1. re: ginael

                    I'm not sure if Jayne's has changed much. I probably haven't been there in a year or so for whatever reason so take that suggestion with a grain of salt.

                    1. re: ginael

                      I recently had a beef carpaccio at Jaynes that was excellent.

            2. I went last night with a friend and everything we had was deilicous but I left dropping 80 dollars for 2 and still hungry. My only criticism of the food was the tripe and farro dish I had.There was hardly any tripe in it and almost all sausage. The soy grilled green beans brought out were outstanding as was the tres leches flan with fresh guava. I like the atmosphere and idea behind it, I just wish I could go more often!

              2 Replies
              1. re: kare_raisu

                Was there for lunch today. Love the place and concept but I think I am done ordering the sausage. I just feel their prep leaves them too dry, and some of the flavor profiles are a little funky. I am going to stick with other menu items. My better half has been ordering off the "other bits" part of the menu with good luck, except for today. He ordered the country fried pigs ear sandwich on fresh bolillo with black pepper mayo, arugula and tiny tomatoes. Flavor was great, but forgot how much cartilage there is in that part. We would have been there for 2 hours if he chose to chew through the whole sandwich. Specialty item, just should have thought it out and ordered differently.

                The new meat counter looks promising with beautiful pork belly bacon from various sources, whole country ham and house smoked whole mexican halibut. Was going to invest in some of the bacon, but everyone seemed too busy after our lunch to help us out.

                1. re: foodiechick

                  We've moved a digression about cooking and making your own sausage to the Home Cooking board at http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/587626

              2. I like the Linkery but it's pretty clear they lie on their receipts when they claim they don't accept tips. All they do is automatically charge you an 18% tip which really irks me because I want to control whither I give a tip or not. If I get good service then I tip generously but if the service sucks then they get stiffed.

                4 Replies
                1. re: oerdin

                  The Linkery is up front about the mandatory service charge - you can't leave less, and if you leave more they give it to charity. It's non-discretionary, so it's not a tip. You may not like the policy, and you certainly can choose not to go there because of it, but it's not a lie - it's perfectly open and honest how it works.

                  1. re: juantanamera

                    Just bump the posted prices by 18% and post "Gratuity included" then.

                    1. re: PommeDeGuerre

                      Was that addition worth bumping a 3-year old thread?

                      1. re: RB Hound

                        The Apple Of War will not be denied.

                2. Eater SD has an interesting interview with Jay about his decision to move to SF soon. Linkery and El Take it Easy will stay open but to be honest our last few meals at Linkery were a bit disappointing - food was OK but the service was unfortunately really bad. I hope he will still be enough involved that they go back to their old levels.

                  20 Replies
                    1. re: honkman

                      He's going to have to compete on a significantly larger turf, not only in the sheer numbers of establishments and diversity of cuisine. I like The Linkery, but he's got to offer much more that what is currently offered here in SD. In SF, there's an expectation of excellence, which I believe The Linkery has, but there also must be great value in order to build a following. The service level at The Linkery in SD will not cut it in SF.

                      1. re: cstr

                        I wonder if he will do something together with Gavin Schmidt since he hasn't officially started working at any restaurant in SF

                        1. re: honkman

                          Will, the mandatory service charge policy cut muster in SF ?

                          1. re: kevin

                            Not sure if there will be one as El Take It Easy doesn't have one

                            1. re: honkman

                              I'm not sure- that was part of our bill last time we were there.

                          2. re: cstr

                            cstr, I understand the point you're making. But the take-away I got from the article is that Jay & Katie's move is more about "reinvention" than recreating the same thing in a new location.

                            Having lived in the Bay Area for 10 years, I can attest to the fact that the dynamics of the food industry up there are substantially different than they are down here. It sounded to me as if that's part of the challenge they've decided to undertake. I don't think Jay will get "eaten alive" as was suggested in other post, but I do think it will force him to alter what he does and how he does it. And in the long run that may end up being a good thing for us down here. If, as Jay indicated in the interview, he eventually ends up spending half his time here in SD (or Baja) I can't help but think his restaurants here will see the influence of lessons learned in the Bay Area. I think it will be an interested experiment in living and lifestyle for he and Katie and I wish them the best.

                            As another native San Diegan, I can say that no matter where you go, the pull to eventually come "home" is strong. I'm betting that when the do come back more permanently, they'll be a more interesting couple with a more interesting style.

                            1. re: DiningDiva

                              thanks for the article DD. anyone who tries something new and dares to move to a new city deserves a nod for courage. even if they fall flat or go naively.

                              1. re: pickypicky

                                I'm pretty sure that we are not neighbors, so I suspect you are thinking of someone else.

                                1. re: jayporter

                                  We'll miss you Jay. We have had some very memorable meals at ETIE and really hope the quality doesn't suffer in your absence. It will be a challenge to be sure, to try to stir so many pots in so many locations at once. Wishing you and Katie all the best!

                                  1. re: jayporter

                                    Huge relief, Jay Porter. Thank you for clarifying. I made a fool of myself (the neighbor didn't) and I regretted it. Would have apologized if it had been you.

                                2. re: DiningDiva

                                  From the Linkery website:

                                  'Our biggest and most sincere thanks go to Troy Johnson of San Diego Magazine for honoring us as his “Critic’s Pick” for Best Neighborhood Restaurant in San Diego. '
                                  We work hard to craft food worthy of our patrons, and we are grateful for the kind words, support, and good vibes.'

                                  http://thelinkery.com/blog/best-neigh...

                                  Wishing Jay and his wife all the best.

                                  My take is I would of gone the Javier route, since he has a proven track record and could of learned from one of the best, whom has become the darling of the food world.

                                  1. re: DiningDiva

                                    'A reinvention' sounds like you had a nice discussion with Jay & co. As far a sourcing produce, meats etc, he should have access to the best of the best. Also for wines, the availability of Napa, Sonoma etc should be quite helpful as well. The real test will be jumping back and forth from SD to SF, no easy task. For experiementing in the new 'hood, there's not much better within the contiguous 48. I hope they do well.

                                    1. re: cstr

                                      Actually, I haven't seen Jay since one of his Baja dinners at ETitEZ. It was mentioned in the Eater interview several times.

                                      Reinventing ones self is not necessarily a bad thing :-)

                                      1. re: DiningDiva

                                        Didn't say that, moving forward and learning is a good thing. So you were just speculating about that.

                                        1. re: cstr

                                          cstr, I'm not following you?!?!??? Speculating about what? Did you read the Eater interview? I'm not sure what you're asking, and I'm not speculating about anything.

                                          Having had to reinvent a life myself on mulitple occasions and most likely will have to again in a couple of years, I was merely making a comment that it can be a good thing...

                                3. re: honkman

                                  He is going to get eaten a live up there. Every place up there does the same type of concept with the true locavore/seasonal thing up there EXCEPT they also provide good service in most cases. Really nothing to make him standout, minus the greyed Yahoo Serious hair of course. Linkery has always been a high on concept poor on execution place and thats before you consider that it might be the worst place in town for even mediocre service. That crap is not going to fly up in SF. I like El Take It Easy much more but still a lot of consistency issues there. I've been burned way too many times at the Linkery with crap service, meh food and friends wondering why the heck I ever convinced them to check it out to ever go back.

                                  1. re: mjill

                                    I don't know why Jay's hair is relevant to any of your other comments, but I can tell you that finding locally sourced meat in SF restaurants is nowhere near as easy as you are pretending it is.

                                    1. re: Josh

                                      Its not really but it is one way he will stand out in a crowd of restauranteurs who are doing the same concept. Bringing authentic baja med up there would probably be a good idea. As far locally sourced meats, I grew up in the area and there are a good amount of farms producing pig, lamb, ect ect. north of SF and in the central coast/inland. Beef is a little bit more trickey as it has to go to one of the few processing facilities in the state. I'm willing to bet - in fact I know for certain - there are a wide variety of places using these types of products across the spectrum of restaurants in the city so don't know what to tell you other than maybe if you got off the high horse you might take notice of these places.

                                4. I'm embarrassed to say we finally ate at the Linkery last week for the first time. We hoped it would be a standout, and a place that would last. You know, a quintessentially SD kind of place. I didn't post anything, because our sausages were not great. Both kinds were mealy and dry. And isn't that what the Linkery is about? Good luck to this guy in SF.

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: pickypicky

                                    Why not post your opinion about your visit, CH'ers needs this type of feedback.

                                    1. re: pickypicky

                                      Oh my. I live 3 blocks from the Linkery and I wanted to enjoy it too. I gave the sausages two tries, one being at a food festival. The sausages I had were actually awful. Dry and mealy as you said. A case of the "emperor's new clothes." When I posted that some time ago, the general reaction I got was that the place does not really focus on sausages anymore...??????

                                      1. re: wrldtrvl

                                        @wrldtravl perhaps your post was made at a time when it wasn't cool to bash the Linkery on this board. I would imagine, now that Mr. Porter "has left the building" so to speak, we will see a little more negative sentiment regarding his establishments.

                                        The last part of the Eater interview seems to echo some of the posts he has made here on this board in the past. Good luck to him in the Bay Area.