I've been watching as the staff applies the final touches to this new South Park restaurant. Apparently they've been doing dry runs this week and will be open tonight. One of the staff gave me an advance copy of the menu when she saw me staring through the window, and I am excited. Looks like they're going to focus on seasonal, fresh, local, and sustainable foods at some pretty good prices. A grass fed beef burger with manchego cheese, house cured pickles and parmesan frite is ten dollars - which seems about right to me for a quality burger and fries. (yes, I'm talking to you Linkery, Ritual, Jayne's, Starlite, et al.) Also:
duo of local salmon (house cured loin, timbale of belly tartare), $7
ceviche of fresh local sea bass(pickled mango, toasted coriander seed, plantain chip), $7
olive oil poached local halibut (caramelized brussel sprouts, toasted walnuts), $15
crispy skin jidori half chicken (baby bok choy, szechuan chicken broth, shitake dumplings, $15
I only hope it lives up to my expectations.
There's only a few wine selections listed on the menu, but they seem interesting and most are six or seven dollars per glass.
Can't wait to try it, if anyone gets there before me please share your experience!
Tried Alchemy today, and was not impressed. I know I'm in the minority here, but I really did not care for it. I ordered the burger. It was overcooked. I ordered medium, but it was mid-well at best. The fries tasted like they were fried on old oil. Since we were there duning brunch time, the rest of the menu was egg-based, leaving me with only the burger as an option. My husband ordered the eggs benedict. He was not happy. It was served on burnt toast (not just a little dark, but actually burnt). After we left, we went across the street to Grant's and he got a sandwich. End result--go to Grants. The food and coffee is good. The people who run the place are really nice, too.
We went to Alchemy for tapas and cocktails on Monday and really enjoyed it. First of all, we thought it was a pretty good deal. The "Snacks" have several combinations. We got 3 for $10, and they are a decent size, so decent value. We had the white bean hummus, which was as good as any WBH I've had (which is to say I prefer traditional hummus and find this a bit boring), but the pita was excellent. Don't know that they made it themselves, but either way, it was perfectly to my taste. That dish is also served with a little olive oil. Our second snack was the pinxtos del dia which were some seasoned pork kebabs...our least favorite. It was fine, but the pork, or maybe the fried exterior, was a little rubbery, and definitely not as flavorful as I expected based on the spices it was rubbed with. Finally, we got the pork stuffed piquillos...perfect! So tasty, and kind of unique!
We shared the gazpacho, which was refreshing and tasty, and also a very good size for $8. Finally, we shared the "San Diego Sliders" which are tiny fish tacos. They are very nice and good balance of ingredients/flavors.
I also had a nice cocktail for $6...like a mojito, but with bing cherries and tangerine. And, the service was great. Granted, we were there around 6pm on a Monday, so it was not busy at all, but the bartender was super friendly and everything went along just perfectly. We definitely want to go back to try entrees!
I went on opening night (Friday). Some good, some bad.
First the good: the food and prices. I had a burger and with parmesan fries (the burger is normally topped with manchgo, but I had it without). The fries were fantastic, crisp and full of flavor; the parm was noticeable but not too overwhelming. Very good grass-fed beef burger, one of the best I've had in SD. And for $10! Much more reasonable than the places the OP offers for comparison. For $15, my friend had a sous-vide pacific halibut with caramelized brussel sprouts. A simple fresh dish, nicely executed. For an app we split a sea bass ceviche. Also well-executed, a few ingredients (mango, peppers, cilantro) that let the fresh fish flavor come through.
And the bad: first, as is often the case in SD, the service. It was 15 minutes after we sat down before anybody came to talk to us, and then another 15-20 minutes to get our drinks delivered (1 beer, 1 glass of wine -- that should take all of 5 minutes max, any waiter worth his salt knows people are much happier and more accepting when they get their booze quickly). The waiter came back 10 minutes after our drink orders, claiming he couldn't read what he wrote for my friend's wine, and had to ask him again, then took another 10 minutes or so after that to actually bring the drinks. The service was mostly OK after that, but frankly large screwups like that at the beginning leave a bad taste in one's mouth.
I also was not impressed by the beer selection, which consisted of a few taps (I had a Stone), and bottles limited to Bud and Bud Light. Frankly for a place in South Park promoting local food and attempting to attract a young hip crowd, I was very surprised how little beer there was to choose from. The wine selection was decent, well-priced, but very limited and not spectacular.
The food is very promising, and if they can continue to offer that quality at those prices they're in good shape. The service was extremely poor, but hopefully those were just some first-night kinks they'll iron out in the future.
I agree...from my experience, going to a new restaurant requires at least a month before the kinks can be worked out in the "service" arena. I usually just expect slow drinks, an even slower kitchen, and a check that seems to never arrive. Just remember your first day of college....took a lot longer to get to your classes, right? I can't wait to try his joint out..., but I will make sure to plan extra time.
So we tried Alchemy last night and I have to say it was very good and pretty reasonable. I don't have the energy to give a run down on all the food, but the menu was well priced and interesting.
Our faves were these little stuffed peppers filled with slow roasted pork they sell as a small starter...amazing, I could eat a whole plate of them. We also all got burgers which were VERY good and the parm fries did not dissapoint either.
The wine list was priced well and quite varied (lots of wines by the glass). We tried a Pinot from Oregon, a Syrah from Central Coast, and had a few glasses of a Portugese red. All glasses were like $7 or less. I totally reccomend this place if you like fresh ingredients and an ever changing menu.
The only downside is that its a big loud. I am sure given time they will rectify the situation.