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Nov 1, 2008 12:48 PM

ARValentien (SD) named in US top ten

Always nice to see the hometown win! Epicurious just named their top ten American locavore restaurants, and La Jolla's A R Valentien made the list .

This Sunday the ARV hosts "Celebrate the Craft" (for one fee you get to taste from CA artisan cheese makers, winemakers, organic farms, local restaurants)-- and every Thursday they host their Artisan Table, which imo is one of the most unique dining experiences (and best kept secrets) in San Diego -- family-style, one-price, community seating dinner on their lovely terrace. But good luck finding information on it. The fusty conservative hotelier family that owns the Lodge and the ARV hasn't learned yet that restaurant websites matter . . .

I know the ARV often raises a debate on Chow, but today let's raise a toast to a restaurant that has supported regional food producers for eight years AND by doing so, has made San Diego look good!

Epicurious Most Dedicated Top 10 Farm-to-Table Restaurants

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  1. sounds like it's time for another dinner at AR Valentein! Congrats to them!

    10 Replies
    1. re: daantaat

      I've never been to the Artisan Table and would love to hear what that's like. Can only afford lunch there, I'm afraid.

      1. re: pickypicky

        We haven't done the Artisan Table, only ordered off the menu in their dining room. It sounds like a fun experience!

        1. re: daantaat

          is the Thursday Artisan Table year round? How much does it cost? The info on the website seems very dated.

          1. re: MrKrispy

            The ARV website is useless. From what I have heard from friends who go: yes, it's year-round. . they cancel if not enough people sign up for a particular Thursday. the chef and sommelier come out and do a little chat about what's served. depending on how many show, they seat communal style with as many tables as it takes. food is served on platters, family style. $75 per person inclusive of wine but not tax and gratuity (or it used to be. ..)

        2. re: pickypicky

          We have eaten at the Artisan Table once each summer for the last three years. It is a little more expensive because wine is included. Last summer was a little higher still but that was because the wine was Nickel & Nickel.

          Imusch prefer this style of eating to inside. Family style, more rustic, relaxed and a specyacular setting. The food has always been great to amazing.

          I heard an interview with the chef last week and I guess the menu inside has changed dramatically. Smaller (and less expensive) entrees. We are anxious to try but I would strongly recommend the artisan table for a summertime treat.

          1. re: pickypicky

            Good news - they have changed their format to small plates (small-er anyway) and nothing on the menu is over $21.00! They are also still doing the Artisan Table on Thursdays. I still haven't made it up there for that.

            Went to Celebrate the Craft today and it was fabulous - all of the food was amazing, but highlights included eating sea urchin straight from the shell and trying Stone's new Belgian beer. The fried chicken and waffles put out by the Lodge were pretty darn good too. It rained for a while, and people just kept on eating. Hardy bunch we San Diegans are!

            1. re: Alice Q

              Yes, today's Celebrate the Craft was a kick! I was intrigued by the sea urchin, but it was a little too quiveringly fresh for my taste. I really enjoyed getting to try out JSix's offerings. They had a hard time getting their act together on the Taste of the Gaslamp (?) last year and we gave up on them. Everything I tasted was yummy--especially their take on scrapple. I agree the Lodge's fried chicken and waffles were tasty!

              The Thursday night Artisan Table sounds interesting, but I wonder if the wine pairing is mandatory. My partner doesn't drink. Anyone know more about the details?

              1. re: Ms. Verde

                The urchin in the sparkling wine shooter was great. When I saw the guy shucking? the urchin right there, I just had to try. I enjoyed the pork belly from market and the restaurant that had the roasted beets and salad from McGrath farms. It was nice to see Lane Tanner pouring her Pinots and my s.o. always enjoyes her tastes of Tablas Creek.

                1. re: littlestevie

                  Does anyone know if they will do the Artisan Table on Xmas Night (12/25)? Looking for somewhere to eat dinner that night, will be visiting from out of town and sounds like a nice experience.

        3. More outsider praise for my favorite SD restaurant. My girl Ruth Reichl-- Gourmet editor, NYT Food Warrioress and uberpower-foodie-- was just in town. She twittered this about ARV: "back [at Lodge], fire blazing, after great interview by Mary Walshok, and great al fresco meal of local food served on the porch" and "shockingly sweet little local tangerines."

          1. I've always loved AR Valentien. It's one of my favorite places to go when I'm in town for a visit( I live in Philly). Fantastic fresh local ingredients. Great service. Ask for Rachel the next time you're there. She's a great server.