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Mar 7, 2010 06:44 AM

Il Postino - North Park / Smoking Goat - North Park

Il Postino is open in North Park, in the LA BOHEME condo complex. This is the newest outpost of the Arrivederci family of establishments.

We found it as consistent and tasty as the Hillcrest location with many of our favorites on the menu.

I think Arrivederci i best when ordering off the daily specials and the homemade egg noodles with fresh porcini and cherry tomatoes was wonderful.

Gnocchi with smoked mozzarella and tomato sauce also hit the spot on a cold rainy night.

HUGE place - with a wine bar, bottle shop, antipasti counter on the south side and then a full bar, pizza bar, and the main restaurant on the north side. Has that "industrial chic" look to it - which means hard surfaces and LOUD dining. At 1/3 full the place was incredibly loud- wonder how it will sound when the place is packed.

Service was excellent. Kitchen was able to accommodate some special dietary requests from someone in our party without flinching.

Incredible wine list, very well thought out and incredibly reasonable with some nice priced Super Tuscans as well as yummy Gruner Veltliners.

All in all a welcome addition to the 'hood. Will be on our rotation for sure.

Walking home, passed The Smoking Goat which is now open next to the Blue Foot bar at Upas and 30th.

Cute French bistro, the menu looks tasty. Fries in duck fat. Sweet sweet duck fat. Far too stuffed to try anything but was able to get a website address:

I'm on a diet, so we'll need to try this one next week or so...

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  1. We tried the Smoking Goat last night - it's brand spanking new, so no beer/wine license yet. We went next door to Mosaic for a glass when we found that out, and came back for dinner. (We tried, they wouldn't let us BYO.) They're currently open for lunch and dinner and prices are very reasonable.

    I had the steak au poivre - two of our number had a halibut special with a minty herb pesto, and one of us had a burger. The burger looked good and received rave comments. Though I didn't try it, I did borrow some of the horseradish sauce that came with it with for my steak. The fries were really the only weak point. They are fried in half duck fat half vegetable oil and "truffled." - i.e. drizzled with truffle oil. Some were crisp and some were limp. They're sort of medium cut, a thinner cut might be a smarter call.

    The fish was very nice - it was served on skewers, grilled with a really good minty pesto/charmoula type of condiment, and served over quinoa. The steak was a hangar cut, cooked medium rare and served with a melted shallot sauce over it.

    They're just getting started and desperate for business, so give them a shot if you're in the area!

    6 Replies
    1. re: Alice Q

      Do you know where they source their meat?

      1. re: Alice Q

        Menu looks pretty good if a bit conventional. If they are so desperate for business, seems that they would let you bring in your own drinks if they can't serve you!

        1. re: mayache

          mayache -We asked about that, but they said they were so close to getting their beer/wine license they didn't want to take any chances, since they don't have a byo (bring your own) license. I expect they'll expand their menu offerings as they get going.

          Josh - I heard a rumor they're buying grassfed from Hamilton's - but I am not sure. If you find out, report back!

          1. re: Alice Q

            BTW - walked by last night and it seems they have their liquor license - beer and wine only. Would've popped in but was out walking the puppies and my boxer would've eaten all my duck fat fries. She's like that.

            1. re: Ewilensky

              thanks for the heads up. Been waiting to check this place out.

          2. re: mayache

            I thought it sounded like a good new addition so I tried it for lunch. We had the bbq pork sandwich and the short rib sandwich. Both were fine but neither left me wanting to rush back any time soon. The bread seemed to be over buttered and the pork was a bit on the dry side. They did a nice job renovating the place and the people were nice so I hope it does well. Our fries were crisp but I didn't notice any truffle oil and they just seemed like ordinary fries.

        2. I would have expected a place called "The Smoking Goat" to actually have goat on the menu. Smoked goat would have been even better.

          1. Ate at Smoking Goat last night. According to my friend the menu had changed a bit since last time he was there (menu on their website is outdated). We split the tortellini with porcini cream sauce and the Duo of Duck (Crispy Braised Leg and Breast “a la plancha,” Gnocchi & Spring Vegetable Ragout, Herb pan Sauce). The tortellini themselves were well-cooked but fairly flavorless, but I didn't care because the porcini sauce was to die for -- rich, powerful, well-rounded. In addition to porcini I believe there were wild mushrooms. The duo of duck was pretty good, particularly the leg portion, which was much more tender. Reasonably priced wine by the glass ($8). Kind of a neat little hole in the wall. I would go back.

            1 Reply
            1. re: mangiatore

              I think The Smoking Goat is an excellent addition to the neighborhood (I'm slightly bias as I can walk there). The food is approachable, fresh and reasonably priced. There's something charming about an owner who's also chef as well. I've also had the goat cheese tortellini, but didn't find them bland at all, rather, the tart cheese was contrasted nicely with that rich wild mushroom cream sauce. Also had the duo of duck, which was good, but not something I'd order all the time... just because it's almost bikini season. Have also tried the lamb which was great. Their sauces are excellent.

            2. Made it to the Smoking Goat on Friday with some friends....have quite an impressive dinner.
              The place is cramped, very few tables for 4 people even so if you go be patient or be ready to wait at the bar for a bit. They had two beers on tap (the local rookie brewery Airdale with an impressive Hefe and the veteran Lightning with a wildly imbalanced Pilsner) and many wines by the glass with reasonable prices ($6-8 a glass for a decent pour).

              We started with some duck fat truffle fries....they were all crispy, consistently cut wider than shoestring but not too thick. Good flavors, nice parm topping, but kind of boring on their own IMO. Probably would have went better with a dish. That's just my opinion on fries/frites in general, not to take away from the flavor of the fries.

              Out came the Panzanella Salad ($12) which was short on the bread part but bursting with red, yellow, and green heirloom tomatoes, oh so tasty right now. Fair amounts of burrata were tossed in; velvety, buttery, creamy, but not too diluted to not taste like mozzarella still. I need to see burrata on more menus!

              I was really interested in the Delmonico steak ($20) but I had read about it coming out swimming in red wine sauce which I think is a waste of a Delmonico so I passed. Instead we got the Butternut Squash Ravioli ($12?) and the Braised Goat Leg ragu ($20). The ravioli plate had 4 pillows on it, containing a nicely pureed squash. I was looking forward to the accompanying brussel sprouts and pancetta but there weren't very many in the dish, maybe 3-4 sprouts. The ones that showed up were damn good, cooked al dente not mushy.
              The goat leg was braised with a very strong flavored ragu, perhaps overreduced. The goat meat was perfectly cooked, not dry, but juicy and flavorful. The meat was shredded and topped on a creamy polenta. The ragu was overpowering, especially with the polenta, IMO.

              Their website doesn't have a menu up, and it say to go to their facebook page for updates and the menu. The facebook page says to go to their website for the menu lol. Oh well, the Internet isn't everyone's forte. Service was excellent and the place wasn't too noisy, all in all an excellent and fun dinner...I look forward to returning to try the rest of the menu.

              2 Replies
              1. re: MrKrispy

                Nice review.

                I love this place. Even with all of the wonderful entrees and dishes (and even desserts) coming out of that kitchen, the burger is probably my new favorite in San Diego.

                Smoking Goat and the Farmhouse Cafe are the two best small bistros going right now in San Diego, imo. Nice variety in the menu/dishes, excellent techniques, and good prices. Red Velvet Winebar in Little Italy is doing some great stuff on their menu as well, just with smaller plates. Definitely a winner.

                It would be nice to see the Smoking Goat move into a larger space, but there's actually something nice about the size and to the quirkiness of the location. They seem to have just enough space to serve the tables in there and still produce that kind of quality food.

                1. re: cookieshoes

                  yeah I like the space inside the Smoking Goat (except for the mess above the bathrooms haha) but the patio tables look difficult due to the slope. The restaurant was busy all Friday night but how do you stay in business in San Diego with a low volume like that? I hope they figure it out, because it is a wonderful addition to the neighborhood.

              2. Had dinner there last night- nice folks, I enjoyed their hospitality. The food was OK.

                Two things, though- the 70s classic vinyl soundtrack blaring and there was a chain-smoker in the bar next door on the patio, nearly in front of the restaurant's front door. This person's industrial waste was sucked in and distributed throughout the place- awful. Not the Smoking Goat's fault, but nevertheless...

                2 Replies
                1. re: Fake Name

                  Maybe the guy was hired to be The Smoking Goat?

                  1. re: Tripeler

                    Finally tried the Smoking Goat. It exceeded expectations and we'll definitely be back. As the other reviewers have mentioned, the menu is seasonal, so last night's menu was heavy on the squash (which is fine with me - I love the stuff). The spinach salad with sautéed red onions, fried goat cheese, roasted butternut squash, pancetta (which was so good) and balsamic was great. The butternut squash ravioli with the tiniest roasted brussel sprouts (no bigger than my thumb nail in some cases - so tender!) and walnuts with sage and brown butter sauce was very very tasty. As for the burger, I am the first to balk at paying $14 for a burger, but this one was one of the better overpriced San Diego burgers I had. It was perfectly cooked on toasted brioche, with bleu cheese, grilled onions and a side of aioli for the burger and fries. I would say, for the price, including the mound of delicious duck fat fries it came with, it is a much better value than the Linkery burger.

                    Cutting to the chase, it was a very good dining experience for 2 under $40 (no booze on school nights). We'll be back for sure and we encourage others to try it out to keep it around in the neighborhood!

                    3794 30th St, San Diego, CA 92104