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Il Postino - North Park / Smoking Goat - North Park

e
Ewilensky Mar 7, 2010 06:44 AM

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:

http://thesmokinggoatrestaurant.com/C...

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

  1. southoftheborder Nov 29, 2012 01:08 PM

    We read the reviews and were really looking forward to eating here..started well-good wine and beer list-my partners appetizer of Veal sweetbreads arrived..well before mine..they were the only high note of the meal-my butternut squash ravioli appetizer came, they were tough and the sauce was a odd combination of something that looked like cheese sauce with no flavour and a mole..not the best..I followed that with their TSG cassoulet..waiter said it was a bomb..I should have listenned..awful-no complexity of flavours-mushy beans-soggy bread crumbs..what tasted like a chicken leg on top, not recognizable as confit of duck,, a hunk of lamb on the bottom of the dish and what tasted like keilbasa sausages sliced up and mixed in..not andouille..I could only eat about a third and was slightly grossed out by it..I love cassoulet and have had it many many times before..this was correctly a bomb:(..my partner tried the local seabass and was very dissapointed as well-a mix mash of flavours where the fish was not the star-good food is not about dazzling with a medley of different ingrediants-it is about the simplicity and flavour of the food..remakably hard to do for most places it seems. Very dissapointed-won't go back I'm afraid..even if it was an off night..there must be SOMEwhere good to eat in San Diego please!

    7 Replies
    1. re: southoftheborder
      m
      MrKrispy Nov 29, 2012 01:11 PM

      that is unfortunate. I haven't been there for a while, waiting for the expansion dust to settle.

      1. re: MrKrispy
        c
        cstr Nov 29, 2012 05:18 PM

        What does expansion have to do with what comes out of the kitchen? Stop the excuses.

        1. re: cstr
          m
          MrKrispy Nov 30, 2012 12:16 PM

          No need to be snotty, I don't have a goat in this race. When a restaurant expands they usually have to hire new staff. I hold off, same as avoiding new restaurants.

      2. re: southoftheborder
        notjustastomach Nov 29, 2012 01:14 PM

        "..there must be SOMEwhere good to eat in San Diego please!"

        Starlite is always a pleasure.

        1. re: notjustastomach
          southoftheborder Nov 29, 2012 01:25 PM

          Thanks I'll check it out!

        2. re: southoftheborder
          Josh Nov 29, 2012 04:07 PM

          Our one experience at Il Postino, probably about a year ago, was not a happy one. Pasta was overcooked and drowning in sauce. Total amateur hour. Its popularity is disappointing.

          1. re: southoftheborder
            honkman Nov 29, 2012 06:01 PM

            We had a very similar dinner about two weeks ago (butternut squash ravioli, veal sweetbreads, Cassoulet and quail) and were very happy with all four dishes. The raviloi was the opposite of tough and we in general like complex, unusual flavors and thought that their two sauces worked very nicely with the butternut squash. The cassoulet was again very different from what you describe with tender beans, crispbread crumbs, nicwe duck confit etc. and even though it wasn;t a classical cassoulet it was a tasty rendition. The quail was similar good and had a more unusual filing of duck sausage and wild rice. Smoking Goat was always about mixing different, often unusual flavors and we went a few times over the last few weeks and the kitchen is getting better and better. It seems that you simply don't like their style of cooking, e.g. your comment of "mix mash of flavors where the fish is not the star...". And it would be boring if all restaurants were just about the "simpicity and flavor of the food" (and I think most of the restaurants similar to Smoking Goat in San Diego, e.g. Starlite, Alchemy, Linkery, Urban Solace, Farmhouse, Cafe Chloe are mainly focusing on it) and I wish there would be more restaurants like Smoking Goat who trying something more unusual (Avenue 5 is another restaurant which is going in the same direction).

          2. d
            diningwithkids Dec 20, 2010 10:36 AM

            We went to Smoking Goat back in May and liked it, but weren't blown away. We went back this weekend, and WOW, it was fantastic.

            The menu is still relatively small, but has grown a bit since the last visit. Everything we tried was executed well. We started with the roasted beet salad with arugula, goat cheese, walnuts and champagne vineager. It was so good, I could have eaten two plates as my meal. But I was also happy to have the evening's special, a meaty braised short-rib. It was tender and not too fatty, which is a common downfall IMHO. It had a perfectly seasoned red-wine reduction and served with uber-creamy mashed potatoes and excellent, if a little plain, fresh grean beans. My husband had the pasta with a ragu sauce and he thought it was great.

            We also had some of the duck fat fries and mac and cheese ( mainly for kids but managed to grab a few). The fries had changed a bit in that they are thicker, but still good and served with a mustard aioli that begs to be licked from the nearly empty bowl. Mac and cheese was also good, but didn't really focus on that since it was for the kids. I did try a taste and thought it was pretty good. The wine list has some gems, didn't really have enough time to focus on that this visit and just went with the server's suggestions.

            I'm so happy this place is in my neighborhood. Just don't want too many people to know about it because there are only 2 4-tops inside. :)

            1. Fake Name Sep 17, 2010 06:33 AM

              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
                Tripeler Sep 17, 2010 05:56 PM

                Maybe the guy was hired to be The Smoking Goat?

                1. re: Tripeler
                  s
                  salustro Dec 6, 2010 09:05 AM

                  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!

                  -----
                  Linkery
                  3794 30th St, San Diego, CA 92104

              2. m
                MrKrispy Sep 13, 2010 02:22 PM

                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
                  c
                  cookieshoes Sep 13, 2010 02:37 PM

                  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
                    m
                    MrKrispy Sep 13, 2010 02:48 PM

                    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. m
                  mangiatore Apr 23, 2010 08:42 AM

                  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
                    Granite Apr 23, 2010 09:38 AM

                    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. d
                    DougOLis Mar 8, 2010 09:09 AM

                    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. Alice Q Mar 7, 2010 08:32 AM

                      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
                        Josh Mar 7, 2010 10:02 AM

                        Do you know where they source their meat?

                        1. re: Alice Q
                          m
                          mayache Mar 7, 2010 02:46 PM

                          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
                            Alice Q Mar 7, 2010 05:41 PM

                            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
                              e
                              Ewilensky Apr 14, 2010 01:52 PM

                              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
                                m
                                MrKrispy Apr 14, 2010 03:33 PM

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

                            2. re: mayache
                              s
                              sdaints Mar 12, 2010 04:19 PM

                              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.

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