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Bankers Hill Bar and Restaurant

SDGourmand Apr 4, 2010 09:05 PM

Sample menu is up on the web site www.bankershillsd.com. Looks solid with great price points. Says it will be opening this month. Looking forward to it!

  1. c
    cookieshoes Jul 17, 2010 10:41 AM

    Nice place. Good food. Deviled eggs were a nice version, and the bbq pork sliders on happy hour were very tasty.

    One comment to make is that they have some issues with how they've priced out the beer they offer on tap. Their pricing structure is completely wrong for what they're offering. In fact, I think that they just might take the crown for the most expensive pint of "non-rare" beer in all of San Diego right now. A 16oz pour of Racer 5 was $9.75

    Yet, they had Leffe on tap for $8 or so, Hennepin for $7, and Stone Smoked Porter for $6 or so. Had they been charging the $9.75 for the Leffe or the Hennepin, that would've been a little easier to understand. Hennepin is from Ommegang in New York and Leffe is from Belgium.If anything, getting a full pint of both Hennepin and Ommegang at the prices they currently serve them at, is actually a steal. Any other bar (Blind Lady, Small Bar, etc.) would be offering half that pour, in a smaller glass, for $5-$6. Whereas, at Banker's Hill you can get a full pint for the same price. But Racer 5 is from Northern California, and you can find that pretty much everywhere in San Diego right now. From PB to East Village to Mira Mesa. I see that beer on tap more than I see Stone IPA. So charging close to $10 for a pint of that is grossly over-priced.

    To compare, the BBQ pork sliders on happy hour were $6, and 90% of the small plates, and all of the salads were $9 or under. The entrees all stayed under $20. So, methinks they need to re-examine the bar pricing.

    I overheard a customer complain about the charge for his pint of Racer, and the reasoning given was that the bar has limited bar space, and so can only use 5 gallon kegs. So, overhead is high on the money they can make off of kegs. I dunno. If that were really true, my advice would be to look elsewhere in the restaurant to recoup that money, or perhaps think about flattening the prices across the taps to $7.

    4 Replies
    1. re: cookieshoes
      geekyfoodie Jul 17, 2010 10:50 AM

      Huh... that's interesting about the beer pricing. What are the happy hour times?

      1. re: geekyfoodie
        cookieshoes Jul 17, 2010 10:59 AM

        I seem to recall that Happy Hour was 4:30-6:30. The food specials were the steal at $6. The beers, not so much, at only $1 off.

        1. re: cookieshoes
          geekyfoodie Jul 17, 2010 11:17 AM

          I don't recall the bbq pork sliders when I went a while ago... a new item?

          1. re: geekyfoodie
            cookieshoes Jul 17, 2010 11:26 AM

            Yep. It was off-menu. Came with some slaw. Absolutely delicious.

    2. geekyfoodie Jul 15, 2010 07:18 AM

      Well, it looks like things have quieted down about BHBR... anyone been very recently? Some of the stories were sounding kind of dire.

      22 Replies
      1. re: geekyfoodie
        Fake Name Jul 15, 2010 07:30 AM

        A friend reports she's now a regular, always orders the salmon, enjoys the consistency and location. Which is their target market- local regulars who appreciate good food, and priced accordingly.

        She also reports that while she dines early (after work) by 715/30 the place is getting ready to get very crowded.

        1. re: geekyfoodie
          mjill Jul 15, 2010 10:21 AM

          Went the other day. Their steak sandwich is so good, I love it. I also tried a new dish as an app, fried green tomatoes with crab and aruguala salad. It was killer. Haven't seen anyone in a long time do fried green tomatoes in town. Nice twist.

          Everytime I've gone, the place is either packed or is filled by the time I leave. To me it seems the "dire stories" have been embelished quite a bit.

          1. re: mjill
            Josh Jul 15, 2010 12:03 PM

            Crowds = quality. Just ask Cheesecake Factory.

            Cheesecake Factory
            2015 Birch Rd Ste 705, Chula Vista, CA 91915

            1. re: Josh
              Fake Name Jul 15, 2010 12:11 PM

              Oh, come ooooon.

              People are nearly lustful in their hope and anticipation that this place will fail. And when customers continue to show up, pay money, have fun and enjoy the place, they're compared to corn-fed beef eaters at CheescakeFactory?

              Ever try to get a res at French Laundry? Must be all those Cheesecakeeaters.

              1. re: Fake Name
                honkman Jul 15, 2010 01:10 PM

                "People are nearly lustful in their hope and anticipation that this place will fail" - I think you couldn't be further from the truth. Nobody wants them to fail and go out of business - I don't think anybody (or at least me) wants that people lose their jobs etc. I might think they are a mediocre restaurant living from the hype around their chef (not very different from Searsucker) but as long as they have customers who are happy with them I hope they will survive.
                Also, I don't think there is anything wrong to point out that large crowds are not really a good indicator for good food.

                1. re: honkman
                  Fake Name Jul 15, 2010 02:05 PM

                  As by now everybody knows, I see cuisine as an art and a restaurant as commerce. Here in the doghouse known as Chowhound, we discuss most frequently quibble about restaurants.

                  A restaurant exists to make money for it's investors, often the proprietors, and in the process pay employees- not to create fantastic examples of culinary art.

                  So. When one asks if a BHBR is successful, I reply- hell, yes. They've created a successful restaurant.

                  We can argue if the food is to our particular taste or style until the cows return home from the vast fields of healthy, organic grass. But if there's always line out the door, and you can't get a res, it's probably successful.

                  1. re: Fake Name
                    Josh Jul 15, 2010 02:10 PM

                    I have no issue with any of what you just said. I'd argue though that the raison d'etre of this site is not to discuss the success of a given establishment in terms of its popularity, but their success at making something good to eat (and maybe even good to think, to borrow a Pollan-ism).

                    1. re: Josh
                      Fake Name Jul 15, 2010 02:18 PM

                      Oh, you mean raison d'être! I didn't recognize the term without proper punctuation.

                      Wow, ewe tipe gud.

                      :-D <<< tongue in guanciale icon.

                    2. re: Fake Name
                      honkman Jul 15, 2010 02:44 PM

                      Nobody disagrees with you about the the reason why restaurants exists - to make money. The question is why does CH exists - to discuss the different opinions about the quality of a restaurant not if there are lines out of the door and if it is successful. But quite often people who get defensive about restaurants (in this case BHBR) tend to argue that the restaurant has to be good because there are long lines which is not an arguement if the restaurant is good but if it is successful. And there are many restaurants which are very successful (and have long lines) but absolutely not good. I would even argue that part of the interest of CH is to find those gems which are not successful but good.

                      1. re: honkman
                        Fake Name Jul 15, 2010 02:59 PM

                        "I would even argue that part of the interest of CH is to find those gems which are not successful but good."

                        Yeah, I can agree with that. But I need to work in raison d'être somewhere...

                        1. re: honkman
                          jayporter Jul 15, 2010 03:44 PM

                          I'll take the bait -- I disagree that restaurants (and businesses in general) exist to make money. Restaurants and businesses come to exist in order to provide a service to their community or market, to fill a gap that needs filling in order to make their micro- or macro- society function better.

                          Profit is required in order for the business to exist, because there has to be a return on the capital (financial and labor) required to start the restaurant. However, it's not the point.

                          Profit is to a business as breathing air is to a human: required to exist, but not the point of existing.

                          1. re: jayporter
                            honkman Jul 15, 2010 04:03 PM

                            I know that you see the role of The Linkery beyond you just making money and see it as a part of the community but I believe you are the exception and not the rule with this view. There is of course no hard data and I don't see an easy way to get this kind of data but I think that the owners of a large majority of businesses/restaurants (not only in SD but the US and the rest of the world) would close their businesses/restaurants if they would find an easier way to make more money in a different way. That doesn't mean that there are not people who run a business/restaurant because they believe in what they are doing and would even do it if they could earn their money faster and simpler but they are in the minority.

                            1. re: honkman
                              jayporter Jul 15, 2010 04:37 PM

                              I don't disagree, and I know the data isn't there. I will note that when I worked in the tech industry, many of the businesses (not all, certainly) that I interacted with, had been conceived to fill a technological niche that the founders felt needed to be filled. Many people I've talked to feel this is true in other industries as well.

                              I think if you talk to the owners of independent start-up restaurants in San Diego -- some that come to mind, that I know of (where I've talked to the owners about it) include Jayne's Gastropub, Cafe Chloe, Sea Rocket, Ritual Tavern, and Lefty's Pizza -- you'll find that they started these restaurants because they really wanted their neighborhood to have the option of enjoying a certain kind of amenity (SF-style dining, local seafood, etc.), and they knew they could deliver it. The challenge for them then is to figure out how to make the finances work (i.e., make enough profit to pay their capital) so that they can provide that service (and enjoy being a part of it).

                              I agree that there are plenty of restaurants -- often started by investment groups, whatnot -- that exist solely to make maximum profit but I think the difference between the two kinds of restaurants is so obvious that any attentive person/palate can immediately ascertain it. I personally find restaurants like that so dull that I don't bother to eat in them, because I want more out of my life.

                              Cafe Chloe
                              721 9th Ave, San Diego, CA 92101

                              Ritual Tavern
                              4095 30th St, San Diego, CA 92104

                              1. re: jayporter
                                Fake Name Jul 15, 2010 05:29 PM

                                I think the examples you offer (I'll add the Linkery) are pretty clear examples of places made with the love cuisine first. But I can think of several more independent start-ups (that I won't name) that offer artisan level food, but are well-run businesses that might not exist without a profit motive.

                                One in particular I believe worked the formula a the opposite direction- wanted a successful business that was passion-based on good quality food.

                                And then there's the CH darling, the Cheesecake Factory. And the more local very successful chain to boot, both based on sound business principles first, food a (sometimes distant) second.

                                So- you're right.

                                And I'm right.

                                And thanks for the discussion.

                                3794 30th St, San Diego, CA 92104

                                Cheesecake Factory
                                2015 Birch Rd Ste 705, Chula Vista, CA 91915

                            2. re: jayporter
                              Fake Name Jul 15, 2010 04:10 PM

                              Uh-oh. We're gonna get in trouble, Jay. This is politics. I feel the breath of the moderators on my neck...

                              I understand and respect your point (not to mention enjoying your place) but believe there are chickens and there are eggs, and prehistoric feathered dinosaurs notwithstanding, it can be difficult to parse which arrived first.

                              I believe businesses exist with a profit motive first, and fulfill that motive by filling (or creating) a need in the community. But I can't prove it.

                              Either way we choose to view it, a restaurant is a different environment than a culinary arts kitchen that exists only to please the creator of the food.

                              In my business, there are great art photographers (some of whom make a living at it) and there are the commercial hacks. I fall in the second category- if I create a beautiful image for my client that, while beautiful, does not fill a client's need, I've failed, as will my business if I make it a habit. But I can fill all my client's needs, but not make a profit, I'll fail as well.

                              Some draw a parallel to prostitution, and I'm not averse to the comparison ; )

                              The happy place is (and moderators, here it comes) to make enough profit to enjoy Banker's Hill Bar and Restaurant or The Linkery. And that, friendly 'hounds, is the raison d'être.

                              3794 30th St, San Diego, CA 92104

                              1. re: DiningDiva
                                Josh Jul 15, 2010 05:52 PM

                                His photos are pretty sweet.

                                1. re: Josh
                                  Fake Name Jul 15, 2010 05:57 PM

                                  You're both very kind.

                                2. re: Fake Name
                                  DougOLis Jul 16, 2010 09:51 AM

                                  Actually, scientists now have proof that the chicken did come before the egg. They just have no idea where the chicken came from. http://gizmodo.com/5587134/scientist-...

                                  1. re: DougOLis
                                    Fake Name Jul 16, 2010 10:49 AM

                                    The comments alone on that link are worth the jump.

                                    But remember, they all arrived about the same time because nonspecifichigherpower made it so.

                        2. re: Fake Name
                          Josh Jul 15, 2010 01:42 PM


                          There needs to be a tongue-in-cheek emoticon.

                    3. re: geekyfoodie
                      foodiechick Jul 15, 2010 10:24 AM

                      Had an early dinner at BHBR on Monday. 6pm and only three tables, couple of people at the bar. New salad of fried green tomatoes with corn, arugula and dungeness crab was light but flavorful on a warm evening. Hubby tried the burger for the first time and was quite happy. Rachel's peach and raspberry pie with crumble topping was fantastic. When we left it was filling up but not super crowded and the noise was at a medium buzz. Very enjoyable experience, for CH peeps, early is definitely the way to go.

                      1. re: foodiechick
                        leanneabe Jul 15, 2010 02:40 PM

                        I knew I should have tried the fried green tomatoes/crab cake! We got swayed by deviled eggs. I want to go back to try some pie, but can't get the butterscotch pudding off my mind. Mmm... pudding...

                    4. j
                      jennywenny Jun 2, 2010 08:16 AM

                      So I'm thinking of trying Bankers Hill on Friday but is it just insanely busy? If its like Cucina Urbana, I'll wait for a quiet midweek time.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: jennywenny
                        Fake Name Jun 2, 2010 08:31 AM

                        Early, you're ok. At 8, I expect they'll be full.

                        1. re: Fake Name
                          stevewag23 Jun 2, 2010 09:49 AM

                          And at 9:45 I would expect them to be empty.

                          1. re: stevewag23
                            Fake Name Jun 2, 2010 12:52 PM

                            Could be- call first.

                      2. s
                        sdnosh May 28, 2010 12:32 PM

                        The menu looks interesting and looking forward to trying it this weekend. Has anyone else noticed the deviled eggs on the menu. Also saw them on the menu at the recently opened Jimmy's in Point Loma. Is this the new food item to go upscale and for every chef to put his/her twist on?

                        Point Loma Cafe
                        4856 N Harbor Dr, San Diego, CA 92106

                        8 Replies
                        1. re: sdnosh
                          foodiechick May 28, 2010 01:29 PM

                          The deviled eggs at BH are head and shoulders above Jimmy's. I think this kind of twist on "bar" food, you know...the old jar of pickled eggs on the counter.

                          1. re: sdnosh
                            DougOLis May 28, 2010 01:55 PM

                            yep. I saw an article somewhere recently about deviled eggs trending.

                            1. re: sdnosh
                              SDGourmand May 28, 2010 04:04 PM

                              I had them they are just like any deviled egg that you would have at a family holiday party, nothing special. I have a picture two posts up of the 10 dishes I had

                              1. re: sdnosh
                                Beach Chick May 28, 2010 05:03 PM

                                Where's Jimmy's in Point Loma?
                                I make imho, the best deviled eggs in the world, so it would be interesting to see BH's take on them.

                                SDGourmand..where are you going next...love your blog

                                1. re: Beach Chick
                                  sdnosh May 28, 2010 09:08 PM

                                  Jimmy's is on Harbor in the new Driscoll development just a bit down from Pizza Nova. Great views of the marina, good food with a few twists.

                                  Pizza Nova
                                  5050 N Harbor Dr, San Diego, CA 92106

                                  1. re: sdnosh
                                    Beach Chick May 29, 2010 10:19 AM

                                    Thanks noshie!
                                    Friends have boats moored in that inlet which I'm so glad is being cleaned up.
                                    Jimmy's call themselves a 'gastropub'..what did you have..good beer?
                                    What I love is we can take the dinghy and add it the list of drinking and eating good times places with a dock on the bay!

                                  2. re: Beach Chick
                                    SDGourmand Jun 1, 2010 09:02 PM

                                    BC- thank you for the compliment. I haven't been keeping up with my blog. Honestly I didn't think anyone even read it. I've been to a lot of other places since my last post on there. I've been working on other projects that will hopefully be ready to launch by years end. In the next few days I'll add atleast the pictures of the meals I've had and start posting more reviews. Atleast I know I have one reader!

                                    1. re: SDGourmand
                                      Beach Chick Jun 2, 2010 09:23 AM

                                      Love your take on things..pictures are awesome too!
                                      Get a free stats counter so you can see how many people are visiting your site.
                                      you'd be surprised how many people really view your website.

                                2. k
                                  Katherine H May 17, 2010 10:12 AM

                                  What's the noise level like at Bankers Hill? I'm looking for not-too-loud place to take my parents this Wednesday, and the menu looks great here.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Katherine H
                                    Bob Foster May 21, 2010 09:52 PM

                                    The food is super, the noise level is high. Not the place for quiet detailed conversation. Between the brick floors, the exposed ceilings, the noise from the bar, the music and the planes flying by, it is noisy. But who cares, the food is top notch

                                  2. SDGourmand May 15, 2010 12:43 PM

                                    Going here tonight. Very excited will report back.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: SDGourmand
                                      SDGourmand May 17, 2010 12:40 PM

                                      I ended up trying BH on Saturday. I have to say I'm not that impressed with it. I thought the menu was a little boring. Everything was straight forward. I mean do we really need a basic crab cake dish or deviled egg? I wish that Carl being as talented as he is, took a little more of a chance with this menu and played around with it. I don't understand how you can open a new restaurant with the same old food. Where is the innovation? What I did like were the Mussels, fries and the pork tacos. Although on the taco's there was no need for the carrots and green beans on the side. I would rather pay an extra two dollars and get rid of that in place of another taco. They have a great selection of beer even carrying Ferran Adria's Estrella. I think the design of the place came out well but is lacking color big time. All the walls are dark and the bar looks dirty with the way they painted it. Also service was a little spotty forgetting silverware, not clearing plates but I can't hold to much to that as they have only been open a week. My overall thoughts are that it's good and would go back for the mussels and a beer but that's about it. I want to see chefs taking chances not doing the same old thing and charging a little less for it.

                                      Dishes I had
                                      Mussels, Fries, Deviled Eggs, Crab Cakes, Braised Chicken Pasta, Pork Tacos, Salmon, Short Ribs, Dessert was the special that night, I believe it was an almond bread pudding.

                                    2. m
                                      mjill May 9, 2010 10:16 AM

                                      Banker's Hill opened last night. It was amazing to me the change from when the space was Modus to what it is now. Definitely a positive. The menu is the same from what they have posted on the website. Food is very good and I felt inexpensive for the quality and portion sizes, ex. Duck Confit was $15 and delicious, I'm still remembering the ting of the whole grain mustard. Would eat that again without hesitation. Most of their stuff is made in house such as pasta, dressings, desserts ect. Really, REALLY nice house made Cherry Pie for dessert. All desserts including a cheese plate were $5. I felt a real bargain.

                                      Overall, I think this place is a winner and is worth checking out. It has to be noted that BH isn't Market though, as not to get people's hopes up. You're getting I believe the same standards at BH but it's dressed down for sure. You still see some definite Market applications in the food, so it isn’t your “average” bar faire by any means. To me it is a really nice bar first with restaurant quality food second at very affordable prices. A place people from the neighborhood could go to a few nights a week for food without killing the wallet or simply grab some drinks after work. A welcome addition to the Banker's Hill dining scene for sure, was worth the wait.

                                      5 Replies
                                      1. re: mjill
                                        foodiechick May 11, 2010 12:52 PM

                                        Hit Banker's Hill last night, great addition to the area and a nice alternative to the frenzy of Cucina Urbana (although given enough time, I can see this venue becoming just as big of a hit). They have done a terrific job with the space. Service was spot on (I was a bit worried since they had only been open two days), and the food was terrific (with one exception of overly salted hay stack fries).

                                        We shared perfectly cooked mussels, duck confit and the best fettuccine Bolognese (actually housemade pappardelle) I have tasted - I am "lifting" chefs idea of topping this dish with goat cheese. They did push the braised shortribs, noting that Chef Schroeder was famous for them. Highest price point was $19.75 for the shortribs and two fish entrees. All desserts $7.

                                        Looking forward to returning soon and trying the Prosciutto & Burrata plate, baby lettuce and veg. salad with sweet peas & young green beans, dungeness crab and rockfish cakes with beluga lentil & arugula salad, cast-iron roasted king salmon, braised chicken papparedelle with pinot noir sauce, and butterscotch pudding. You get the idea - I think it's a keeper.

                                        1. re: mjill
                                          Alice Q May 12, 2010 04:48 PM

                                          Went last night and really enjoyed it. DO NOT MISS THE DESSERTS. They are phenomenal. The butterscotch pudding is better than Mozza's. Really. Strawberry shortcake was also textbook perfect. Rachel (pastry chef formerly with Region, Market and Blind Lady) really knows her stuff!

                                          We had the fish & chips, devilled eggs, spring veg salad & duck confit - plus a bottle of very good Spanish rose, for $100. Interestingly I agree with Pam, the only flaw in the food was the salt on the potatos - both the chips and the shoestrings with the eggs. It's a little strong on the lemony flavor. Other than that, super. I really think Carl's duck confit is the best I've ever had - it's the same here as it is at Market, and I assume the short ribs are too.

                                          The interior is much improved. Light & airy, industrial chic with fun mismatched chairs and a really nice succulent living wall on the outdoor patio.

                                          I made my next reservation before I left.

                                          1. re: Alice Q
                                            geekyfoodie May 13, 2010 12:47 PM

                                            Whoa... looks like a bit of a CH rush to Bankers Hill, because I went on the evening of the 11th, too. Loved the duck confit, which was perfect and topped with a little dollop mostarda. I wasn't sure about the fruit used, but it looked and tasted like currants. Yum.

                                            Agree on the potato chips. Mr. Geeky thought they were way too overseasoned and there was barely any potato flavor coming through. Great buttermilk dip, though. The other thing (not a complaint, just an observation) was that we thought the "chips" of fish and chips meant fries, but it was more potato chips. Should have asked... it would have changed our choice of appetizer. He loved the dish overall, though.

                                            Mjill's post had me going for the cherry pie and I LOVED it. I'm typically ambivalent about pie crusts, but this one was thick, rustic, and delicious. Gorgeously done and the vanilla ice cream was the perfect accompaniment... it was served on a little bed of butterscotch and crumble topping. Mr. G's chocolate cake was delicious and nicely bitter with dark chocolate, albeit a tad too dry.

                                            I'm excited about trying the Bolognese, which was my second choice behind the duck confit. Everything I had went really well with my 22 oz. Alesmith X, which was served with a nice frosty glass. Whether it was smart to drink a 22 oz. when I hadn't eaten much all day is another thing entirely... the Asian glow was in full force by the end of dinner. Service rocked... everyone was really nice and a manager teased Mr. Geeky, upon hearing that he found out about the place via Chowhound (I was away using the facilities), "Don't judge [i.e. post about] us too harshly! It's only our third day open!"

                                            We're definitely headed back.

                                            1. re: geekyfoodie
                                              Cjposada06 May 13, 2010 11:18 PM

                                              Yes It is as good as it get! !!!

                                              I had the Proscitto with a very creamy burrata cheese it was perfectly seasoned. The Duck Confit was balance just right a little sweet and salty it was excellent. The Butter Scotch for dessert was a brilliant ending to a quality meal. The whole experience was great, the service was on top of everything. the beer and wine list was top-notch..
                                              San Diego needed a place like this, the ingredient on the menu speak for themselves. the restaurant has a very open design look to it, almost like a big loft. it looks great, i hope they do Sunday brunch soon.

                                              1. re: Cjposada06
                                                Divamac May 15, 2010 10:02 AM

                                                I had the identical meal as you last night, and it was wonderful. Not a single bad note (hat is, after figuring out where the restaurant's front door was!).

                                        2. Beach Chick Apr 7, 2010 12:11 PM

                                          Menu looks fab and simple..

                                          Steve..back in the day when Lubach's was down at Harbor drive they used to serve steak tartare tableside and being that I haven't had red meat for almost 35+ years but still crave a cheeseburger and had a taste of the steak tartare and I must say that it was sublime!

                                          4 Replies
                                          1. re: Beach Chick
                                            DougOLis Apr 7, 2010 04:32 PM

                                            you haven't had red meat in 35 years? what about the patty melts at Longhorn's?

                                            1. re: DougOLis
                                              Beach Chick Apr 7, 2010 04:59 PM

                                              LOL..I have a patty melt about once or twice a year but the way I drool and talk about them like some high school crush, you'd think that I eat them everyday!
                                              Doug..you would have to mention Longhorn's...super jonesing for one right this very second with extra cheese, grilled onions and gobbs of thousand..yes, I said gobbs!

                                              1. re: Beach Chick
                                                Fake Name Apr 7, 2010 05:36 PM

                                                I had a patty melt in your honor at Major's Diner in Pine Valley after a dualsport ride Sunday. It dishonored you. Worst patty melt in a lifetime.

                                                1. re: Fake Name
                                                  Beach Chick Apr 7, 2010 06:09 PM

                                                  Sorry to hear you had a bad patty melt at Major's..nothing worse than a bad PM, especially after a ride and a 7.2 earthquake!

                                          2. Fake Name Apr 6, 2010 07:29 PM

                                            Interesting menu- it has a very Cucina Urbana feel to it. Lower price point, interesting dishes, but not fine dining. Similar also to Bencotto.

                                            Not intended as critical- both Schroeder and Gavre are experienced pros, and I'll bet the food will be great. But the position in the marketplace is notable- it's a sign of the times.

                                            Like most creative endeavors, sometimes budget and/or time limits force great creative solutions.

                                            31 Replies
                                            1. re: Fake Name
                                              stevewag23 Apr 6, 2010 09:19 PM

                                              "Like most creative endeavors, sometimes budget and/or time limits force great creative solutions."

                                              I honestly think this down economy shake out was the best thing that could have possibly happened to san diego dining.

                                              No more pretending we are las vegas or miami beach.

                                              More focus on good food, local ingredients and a decent price point where people can eat out more than once per month.

                                              All we need now is some money in this town!

                                              1. re: stevewag23
                                                honkman Apr 6, 2010 11:34 PM

                                                "I honestly think this down economy shake out was the best thing that could have possibly happened to san diego dining." -

                                                I think it is more the opposite than the best thing that could happen to San Diego dining. This will only "help" to strengthen the trend of "no risk" mid-prize bistro style restaurants with "save" dishes. The new restaurants might have a decent quality but how many more restaurants do we need with "truffle fries", "burrata cheese", "steamed mussels", "roasted beet salad", "classic ceasar salad", "burger", "braised shortribs", "strip steak" etc. on the menu. It's not that we didn't have many restaurants with similar dishes already even before the recessesion and I don't see why it should be a good thing to have many more restaurants with very similar (boring) dishes. Beside some ethnic food, mid-prized bistro style food was always one of the reasonable strength of the San Diego culinary scene but I really don't see why San Diego need any more of these restaurants. San Diego doesn't have to become a second Las Vegas but there are many different intermediate culinary stages between the current San Diego and Las Vegas which I would hope San Diego would develop towards but currently it doesn't look like any real development but just culinary stagnancy

                                                1. re: honkman
                                                  stevewag23 Apr 7, 2010 10:26 AM

                                                  I see where you are coming from.

                                                  I just want to be able to order an steak tartare entree some day in san diego.

                                                  1. re: stevewag23
                                                    MrKrispy Apr 7, 2010 11:26 AM

                                                    I can't tell if you are being facetious about steak tartare or not haha.

                                                    A lot of places that seemed to serve it (and the sushi places that had raw beef slices) took them off the menu during all the MadCow and E.coli messes.

                                                    1. re: MrKrispy
                                                      ibstatguy Apr 7, 2010 09:45 PM

                                                      Cowboy Star does a damn good steak tartare and Kitchen 1540 does a very nice bison tartare...

                                                      1. re: ibstatguy
                                                        jturtle Apr 8, 2010 09:03 AM

                                                        Also, on Sunday at Cafe Chloe!

                                                        Cafe Chloe
                                                        721 9th Ave, San Diego, CA 92101

                                                        1. re: ibstatguy
                                                          stevewag23 Apr 8, 2010 11:55 AM

                                                          app or entree?

                                                          1. re: stevewag23
                                                            ibstatguy Apr 8, 2010 12:12 PM

                                                            I recall that it is an app at both but both are, I think, "user friendly" and might accomodate a request to make an entree

                                                            1. re: stevewag23
                                                              jturtle Apr 9, 2010 03:46 PM

                                                              It is an appetizer portion but quite large. That and some cheese or a pot de creme would make for a great Sunday dinner.

                                                        2. re: stevewag23
                                                          Captain Jack Apr 7, 2010 12:18 PM

                                                          Kaiserhof in OB has steak tartare on their menu. I have had it there a few times and it is good to very good. I limit my rating to good, as I have a Krups meat grinder at home, and make my own using the tail of a whole USDA choice tenderloin primal from Costco. I adjust the grind, and the seasonings to suit my own preference (as well as using super fresh farmers market eggs), so mine comes out perfect for me. That said I have always enjoyed the tartare at Kaiserhof when I have ordered it. When you have the urge you should give it a try.

                                                          1. re: Captain Jack
                                                            stevewag23 Apr 7, 2010 02:13 PM

                                                            I always forget about that. I think that is the only place in san diego.

                                                            1. re: stevewag23
                                                              foodiechick Apr 7, 2010 02:31 PM

                                                              La Valencia serves tartare.

                                                              1. re: foodiechick
                                                                stevewag23 Apr 7, 2010 03:15 PM

                                                                Sky room?

                                                                1. re: stevewag23
                                                                  foodiechick Apr 7, 2010 11:14 PM

                                                                  Whaling Bar.

                                                                  1. re: foodiechick
                                                                    Fake Name Apr 8, 2010 08:51 AM

                                                                    Been wanting to go there for some time, but feel like I need a guide, a mentor, an ambassador(s) for La Vie. Anyone know anybody?

                                                                    1. re: Fake Name
                                                                      foodiechick Apr 8, 2010 03:36 PM

                                                                      Ah. Transparency from the character that assumes a fake name. Afraid we have let our diplomatic credentials lapse, but we could possibly organize a culinary sherpa expedition. Name the date.

                                                              2. re: stevewag23
                                                                MrKrispy Apr 8, 2010 10:53 AM

                                                                we had steak tartare at Neighborhood, but it was cut with way too many onions.

                                                                1. re: MrKrispy
                                                                  stevewag23 Apr 8, 2010 11:56 AM

                                                                  appetizer or entree?

                                                                  1. re: stevewag23
                                                                    MrKrispy Apr 9, 2010 09:40 AM

                                                                    argh can't remember but I think it was an appetizer.

                                                                2. re: stevewag23
                                                                  Josh May 13, 2010 11:42 PM

                                                                  Neighborhood has it.

                                                                  I didn't have the onion problem, but I haven't had it in more than a year. It's an appetizer portion. Order two.

                                                              3. re: stevewag23
                                                                ibstatguy May 15, 2010 10:21 AM

                                                                just guessing here but I think they would do it for you as an entree at Cowboy Star

                                                              4. re: honkman
                                                                mayache Apr 8, 2010 11:24 AM

                                                                I agree with your analysis (even though I do think there are a few mid-priced restaurants in town which do interesting, creative food). Not that I don't like short ribs or roast chicken, but when going out to eat it would be nice to have something I couldn't or wouldn't cook at home, and a little bit of the the chef's ideas coming through in the food. Plus the short rib trend is out of control.

                                                                1. re: mayache
                                                                  Fake Name Apr 8, 2010 01:40 PM

                                                                  Agreed. For 2010, I've foresworn both short ribs and mac n' cheese. Nonspecifichigherpower, please can we get off that kick?

                                                                  1. re: Fake Name
                                                                    stevewag23 Apr 8, 2010 03:53 PM

                                                                    Around 2005 it was an ahi tartar and caprese salad bonkers in san diego.

                                                                    Thank goodness that ended. Or has it?

                                                                    1. re: stevewag23
                                                                      MrKrispy Apr 9, 2010 09:41 AM

                                                                      Was at Wet Stone last Friday and the server (not the owner guy) mentioned both of those haha.

                                                                  2. re: mayache
                                                                    honkman Apr 8, 2010 01:55 PM

                                                                    I always wonder why some restaurant don't at least use some of the trendy ingredients (e.g. short ribs, beets etc.) in a more unusual way if they are afraid to loose customers. Why not use braised short ribs as filling for agnolotti pasta or use stuffed beets as an entree etc.

                                                                    1. re: honkman
                                                                      mayache Apr 8, 2010 02:59 PM

                                                                      FWIW Cucina Urbana (one of the SD restaurants showing some real creativity) does a short rib pappardelle which I've heard is quite good, although I can't personally vouch for it. Anyway yeah I don't see why it's such a big deal to have a menu with mostly "safe" or "trendy" dishes, and then a 2 or 3 with a little personality and novelty. I'm sure the food is cooked just fine, and the ingredients are good, but frankly I feel like I've seen that Banker's Hill menu before. That braised chicken pappardelle has potential though; hell maybe pappardelle with braised meat is the new SD trend!

                                                                      1. re: mayache
                                                                        SDGourmand Apr 8, 2010 03:38 PM

                                                                        I have had that pappardelle and it's soooo good. I order everytime now. That and their ravioli. I think that these two pastas are on par with Mozza in LA.

                                                                        Short rib pappardelle


                                                                        1. re: SDGourmand
                                                                          honkman Apr 8, 2010 04:39 PM

                                                                          I heard from a few people that not all pasta at Cucina Urbana is made in-house and for me the key to an excellent pasta dish (and to be on the same level as Osteria Mozza) is freshly made pasta. Do you know more information if all their pasta is made in-house ?

                                                                          1. re: honkman
                                                                            SDGourmand Apr 8, 2010 04:52 PM

                                                                            If I remember correctly, the manager said they are all made in house. The three that I've had were for sure(pappardelle,ravioli, cavatelli). They also cook their pasta perfect. Which not many places do.

                                                                        2. re: mayache
                                                                          Fake Name Apr 9, 2010 09:29 AM

                                                                          Agreed, their short rib pappardelle is excellent. But even the best music becomes tiresome after a while.

                                                                          Also agreed about the "faux déjà vu" of the menu. I've never been there, but it sure seems familiar. Like the same menu as CU, but with different ingredients.

                                                                          I'm sure I'll enjoy it, and I'm thrilled not to be in the restaurant business.

                                                              5. s
                                                                stevewag23 Apr 5, 2010 01:45 PM

                                                                That does seem like an impressive, interesting menu. I hope they can pull it off. San Diego needs more places like this like a strip club needs beautiful girls.

                                                                Bar open till 2am and kitchen till 11pm on weekends. Lets hope they hold to that.

                                                                Barrio Star also opening up soon.

                                                                The Bankers Hill/ 5th Ave area is blossoming again.

                                                                It will be interesting to see how it all shakes out.

                                                                3 Replies
                                                                1. re: stevewag23
                                                                  DiningDiva Apr 5, 2010 02:10 PM

                                                                  Yep, much more conveniently located for me than either Del Mar or Pacific Beach. I don't know which opening I'm anticipating more...Banker Hill Resto & Bar, or Barrio Star

                                                                  1. re: DiningDiva
                                                                    Captain Jack Apr 5, 2010 02:30 PM

                                                                    Hey DD,
                                                                    I don't get the Pacific Beach reference, what am I missing?

                                                                    1. re: Captain Jack
                                                                      stevewag23 Apr 5, 2010 03:06 PM

                                                                      Chef Isabel Cruz, who founded the Mission Café and owns Isabel’s Cantina and Seaside Cantina in Pacific Beach and La Jolla’s Coffee Cup, is gearing up to launch a new venture in Bankers Hill this spring. Her new restaurant, Barrio Star, will open in the Fifth Avenue space recently vacated by Mukashi Sushi and feature fresh and healthy takes on traditional Mexican dishes.


                                                                2. DiningDiva Apr 5, 2010 09:37 AM

                                                                  Thanks for posting this. Was just wondering last week if this place was open yet.

                                                                  FWIW, I'd eat every single item on the menu..not all at once of course

                                                                  12 Replies
                                                                  1. re: DiningDiva
                                                                    cstr Apr 5, 2010 10:17 AM

                                                                    have you tried it yet, what did you order?

                                                                    1. re: cstr
                                                                      mackrelmint Apr 5, 2010 10:45 AM

                                                                      I don't think it's opened yet (unfortunately). If anyone knows the exact date it'll be opening, please post!

                                                                      1. re: mackrelmint
                                                                        mjill Apr 5, 2010 02:27 PM

                                                                        They're opening May 4th.

                                                                        1. re: mjill
                                                                          mackrelmint Apr 6, 2010 12:55 PM

                                                                          Good to know. Thank you, mjill.

                                                                          1. re: mackrelmint
                                                                            DiningDiva Apr 6, 2010 01:19 PM

                                                                            Barrio Star opened yesterday. I don't think Banker's Hill is open yet

                                                                            1. re: DiningDiva
                                                                              mackrelmint Apr 6, 2010 04:25 PM

                                                                              Thanks. I wasn't aware Barrio Star had already opened. Anyone know what their hours are—are they open for lunch?

                                                                              1. re: mackrelmint
                                                                                foodiechick Apr 6, 2010 06:32 PM

                                                                                I was told by a reliable source that they are open for lunch. Anyone seen a website yet?

                                                                                1. re: foodiechick
                                                                                  SDGourmand Apr 6, 2010 07:05 PM

                                                                                  www.barriostar.com. No menu yet

                                                                      2. re: cstr
                                                                        DiningDiva Apr 5, 2010 11:36 AM

                                                                        It's not open yet. Just sayin' I think the menu looks pretty good. Very safe, but given the track record at Market, most likely to be well exceucted.

                                                                      3. re: DiningDiva
                                                                        Dagney Apr 5, 2010 11:09 AM

                                                                        Ha! Boloney! You would too! And I would be at the table next to yours doing the same thing. The menu looks delicious.

                                                                        I am a little excited about this place, no schtick, a proper website, and a solid menu.....thank you restaurant gods.

                                                                        1. re: Dagney
                                                                          DiningDiva Apr 5, 2010 11:38 AM

                                                                          Let's wait to thank the restaurant gods until after they're open and the bugs worked out :-). But I have to agree, it looks promising. Not particularly cutting edge or innovative, but it doesn't have to be. All I want is for them to serve good food, well prepared, at a fair price with decent service. Is that too much to ask?

                                                                          1. re: DiningDiva
                                                                            Dagney Apr 5, 2010 12:02 PM

                                                                            Unfortunately, in San Diego, these basic elements of food service seem like a pipe dream. (I give you, Cheez Fac, Olive Garden, popular and thriving).

                                                                      4. d
                                                                        DougOLis Apr 4, 2010 10:49 PM

                                                                        Is this Carl Schroeder's new restaurant?

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: DougOLis
                                                                          mackrelmint Apr 4, 2010 11:29 PM


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