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Cosmopolitan - Old Town

We went to check out The Cosmopolitian in Old Town last Sunday. We had gone to a function earlier in the day, so we really were not that hungry. We split a couple of apps. and soups. First of all, they really did a beautiful job of restoring the building. It was getting a bit war weary and the end of the Bandini days. The outside may still be a bit sterile, but once the plants fill in, it should be very nice. The place wasn't too crowded, It seemed like there was more action over at Fiesta de Reyes. The crowd was mellow, except for one drunk dude at the outside bar. There was a piano player put in the patio playing old-timey tunes and it was not obtrusive and a nice background fill in. I had the white corn soup, Very corny flavor, with out a lot of filler. It was blended woth whole kernals added. Mrs. LS had the gzapacho. it had bits of squash and avocado added. very good flavor. We then split the clams and mussels. It was in a clar broth with Spanish Chorizo added. I liked it. I thgought the chorizo added a kick to the shellfish, it was too salty for my S.O.. The service was polished. I am ready to give it another try and see what Amy can do with the entrees.

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  1. Thanks for the report. I've been kinda wondering it. Will probably make it down there in September.

    1. I'm glad you had a positive first experience there. I really wanted to love this place because I am a fan of the Chef and her menu intrigued me. Unfortunately, we had such awful service issues on our first visit (we didn't even stay long enough to receive our first beverage - 20 minutes+), that we will never go back. I know our reaction is harsh and unfair to the Chef, but if you can't get service right you've got nothing.

      11 Replies
      1. re: foodiechick

        You know that may be a problem with the restaurant. It was maybe 10 minutes before the server got to us, and he was super apologetic about being late. He was the bartender and he was dealing with the above mentioned drunk. He ended up comping us for our drinks and we were really suprised because we were not upset. We were having fun reviewing the menu and seeing what other people were getting (there was a big party a couple of tables away).

        1. re: littlestevie

          I believe that restaurants should ask patrons whether they are out for a leisurely meal or want to eat quickly. Sometimes I don't mind chatting with friends and taking two hours for three courses, and sometimes I want to have the same three courses bought and paid for in 30 minutes. When I am in a rush, don't make me wait! When I am out for a long night of eating, don't bring my main course before my appetizer is even finished!

          1. re: notjustastomach

            And, I should have added . . . if the dinner is spendy enough, the server should make sure s/he knows which mood I'm in, and accomodate it. If s/he lacks the sensitivity to do so without asking, then by all means find some way to ask about the pacing that will make me happy.

            1. re: notjustastomach

              "I believe that restaurants should ask patrons whether they are out for a leisurely meal or want to eat quickly" - I think the customer shouldn't expect that the server has to find what pacing the customer wants but the customer should mention it when ordering. If the customer doesn't mention anything regarding pacing the restaurant should assume that you want a "normal" pacing.

              "...sometimes I want to have the same three courses bought and paid for in 30 minutes. When I am in a rush, don't make me wait!" - Based on several discussions with restaurants regarding the best pacing and how kitchen can accomodate it most chefs/owners have no problem if you want your dishes slower than normal but it creates a lot more problems in the kitchen if you want it much faster than normal and can't always be accomodated.

              ",,,don't bring my main course before my appetizer is even finished!" - Couldn't agree more and unfortunately one of the biggest service issues I have seen in San Diego.

              1. re: honkman

                I'm not into 3 hour dinners, my butt would be numb, but no no do not bring my main course before my app is finished! It's a service issue everywhere and I hate it too, especially when the table is tiny and there isn't room without shifting stuff around. So tacky.

                I have no desire to try the Cosmopolitan. Not an area I will ever associate with fine dining. It's tourist and will always be, which is OK, it is what it is, but no longer for me now that the main drag is chock full of shops selling trinkets. I miss the Old Town of 15+ years ago when it was more contained, festive and colorful centered around the Bazaar Del Mundo in it's original location and the Casa de Bandini's floral filled patio. It was a nice area to take out of town visitors or meet up for happy hour and enjoy a marg outdoors. It may be more authentic (there's that word again) now, but I'm not diggin the dusty drab Old West theme.

                1. re: Island

                  The bustle dresses (costumes) are an insult to the senses. GAH!

                  1. re: Island

                    I was the biggest fan of CdB and I am very happy that it is Carlsbad now. It is so much closer to my home. But it was touristy Mexican, which I liked. I am just happy that Delaware North is out. Just because the Cosmopolitan is in a touristy area does not mean it can't have fine food. There are fine dining places in the Gaslamp, such as Cowboy Star or out on Coronado, such as 1500 Ocean. Now it remains to be seen if this will work in Old Town, and I guess time will tell. As to the dress and decor, the State of California Parks System gave them restrictions along those lines, and I really think the current lease holders are trying their best.

                    -----
                    1500 Ocean
                    1500 Orange Avenue, Coronado, CA 92118

                    1. re: littlestevie

                      Ah.

                      Somebody who actually knows what happened down there. The stories are all very interesting and so few actual facts have made it to the surface. Delaware North has been blasted for the whole deal, but the enemy is us down there. State of California.

                2. re: notjustastomach

                  It wasn't paced slow or fast on our visit. It was nothing. Place was pretty much empty at 1pm on a weekday. There was a dedicated bartender at the outdoor bar not far from where we were seated. A server took our beverage orders. 20 minutes later nothing...not even water. Manager was not apologetic, when we got up to leave, and explain why, drinks still not delivered, they still wanted us to pay for unpoured glasses of wine.

                  1. re: foodiechick

                    they had the nerve to want to charge you for waiting 20 minutes for drinks not delivered and unpoured..
                    frigging unbelievable!

                  2. re: notjustastomach

                    I second that 100%! Kudos on this idea. Not synching with the diners' pace is an ongoing problem with many servers and pretty much sometimes I just chalk it up to them not being intuitive enough to understand the needs of a table of patrons psychically! That isn't fair of me. Your idea is a great key to wonderful service. If the server were to ask right off the bat everyone has just communicated what pace, style and ambiance is expected.

              2. I don't think the establishments can be expected to read our minds. It's up to us to let them know the pace we prefer. As mentioned in a previous post, we all have different desires at different times. I don't know of any decent place that is not willing to pace a meal as asked by the patron. It's just like your steak- rare, well done, just ask.

                I'll share a story. We were dining in France last month with another non-American couple. Spendy place, Michelin star(s) etc. We were seated on a nice patio with a great view of Provence. And we waited for service. And waited. And waited some more.

                Our European friends commented that while they're aware how irritating American-style service can be (Hi! I'm Sally, and I'll be taking carreee of yewww like, totally tonight) they often wished for a healthy dash of that style in France.

                No, it's not just a different style. Yes, I am aware that in Europe (even Berlin!) people spend hours luxuriating over meals- believe me, we do that. This is a simple paucity of service.

                There are notable exceptions:

                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7224...

                but overall,as a grand generalization, I found service in Europe to be lacking.

                4 Replies
                1. re: Fake Name

                  In August, in the south of France, in the harbour at St. Jean Cap Ferrat, French families on vacation spend three plus hours dining on the patios of the restaurants because it is too fricking hot to go and sit inside the house.

                  1. re: Gypsy Jan

                    It's not widely known, but St. Jean Cap Ferrat is named for the french superhero, Ferrat, a small furry woodland creature illegal to be kept as pets in most US states.The legend of Ferrat is that this tiny caped-crusader led an environmental revolution in the dark ages to rid small towns along the Côte d'Azur of diseased rodents. With his trademark flowing blue cape, Ferrat's leadership saved thousands of lives in both the animal and human community. After his demise, the only one small town, St Jean, would recognize his achievements. The mayor, gazing on the majestic blue sea, re-christened the town St. Jean Cap Ferrat.

                    The food and restaurants as very similar to those in the French cafés of San Diego, thus making this post directly associated with San Diego and belongs in this thread.

                      1. re: Fake Name

                        LOL...what a bunch of crap..Cap Ferrat...hee hee

                        BTW, love staying at the Grand-Hôtel du Cap-Ferrat...ohhh la la

                  2. Naomi Wise review:

                    http://www.sandiegoreader.com/news/20...

                    3 and a half stars - very good to excellent.

                    1. I hadn't intended do Restaurant Week but a friend suggested we get together as it had been far too long and the RW menu at Cosmopolitan looked pretty decent.

                      She opened with a Sidecar, and I a Manhattan. Umm....let's just say, either we're getting very old or the bartender needs a refresher course on how to make 2 very classic drinks. We're not sure what the Sidecar was, it just wasn't what was expected. It was, at leas,t drinkable. The Manhattan, not so much. How hard can it be to screw up bouron, vermouth and a couple dashes of bitters? Apparently easier than I had imagined. The drink had strong notes of something herby and floral. My guess is either too many dashes of bitters or one of the trendy specialty bitters. In any event, cocktails did not get the evening off to a great start.

                      Starters were better. My friend ordered the Mussels and Clams combo and me the Corn and Poblano soup. The mussels were delightful; well cooked and tender. The broth that came with them was tangy with nice punch of citrus. There was a seasoning in it I didn't care for but it wasn't my dish and my friend didn't have the same reaction. So the mussels got a thumbs up. My soup was very good, tho' I'm not sure where the poblanos were as they were not visible in the dish.

                      One entree was a real hit the other a real miss. My friend had the pork cheeks with quinoa and it was stellar. The meat was incredibly tender and the pairing with the quinoa was inspired. Such a great combination. I had the steak served with fries and creamed spinach. The spinach was utterly forgettable, the fries were good, the steak was not. I ordered the steak medium rare, I got a tad over that. The meat was tough and the outer portion of it dry and tasteless. The interior was great but whoever manned the broiler screwed up this piece of meat big time. The sauce served wtih it was also a miss, extremely bitter.

                      Only one word can describe dessert, and that word would be horrid. Friend ordered the apple galette and got a leaden round of pastry with a miniscule portion of chopped, tasteless apples in the center. The presentation was great, but it stopped there. Actually eating the thing was not fun. I ordered the bourbon-pecan pot de creme. Much like the poblanos in the soup, the pecans were missing in action. The flavor of the pot de creme was sort of like butterscotch but not really. If there is a pastry chef at the restaurant they need to a refresher course in Dessert 101 because both desserts were truly some of the worst I've had in SD in the last 5 years.

                      The biggest problem with had with the food was temperature. Most of it was served at room temperature or lukewarm, all of it could have stood to be several (and in some cases a lot) degrees hotter than it was. We actually sent our coffee back because it was barely warm.

                      Service was not bad. Our waiter was actually quite good, but the backstaff were a little inattentive. Since my friend and I hadn't seen each other in a few months we asked the waiter to pace our meal on the slow side, which he did.

                      Cosmopolitan shows some flashes of being a very good restaurant but for us there were too many missteps to warrant a whole lot of interest. Hot food should be served hot, not lukewarm, classic drinks should be made like classic drinks, and dessert should NEVER be the inedible course in a meal. I might go back if it's on someone elses dime, but I'm not sure I'd really want to spend my hard earned dimes here again.

                      11 Replies
                      1. re: DiningDiva

                        ohhhh crap....we were going to try and check it out next week. Hmmmm

                        1. re: MrKrispy

                          I would say try it. It's not a total disaster, it's just very, very uneven. Don't eat dessert.

                          1. re: DiningDiva

                            we avoided Restaurant Week this year fortunately, so that won't be a problem haha. Thanks for the review.

                          2. re: MrKrispy

                            Worth checking out. Happy Hour I highly recommend. HH food is very good plus they have $3 drafts and wells. The courtyard is a nice place to throw a few beers back and eat sopes.

                            1. re: mjill

                              I agree, the courtyard is very, very nice. And in spite of our drinks being rather dreadful, they were only $5, the Happy Hour price

                              1. re: DiningDiva

                                I'm still puzzled about the Manhattan, pretty hard to screw up a drink as old as Moses unless you use really cheap booze but, herbs??

                                1. re: cstr

                                  Odd about the drinks. The person they hired to set up the bar/drink menu/recipes is supposed to be a "heavy weight" in this area of expertise.

                                  I think there are a few new "artisan" bourbons that have come out recently with "herby" undertones. I'm all for new twists on old favorites, but some of the current experiments with mixology are just silly.

                                  1. re: foodiechick

                                    I don't think it was an artisan boubon. More likely it was an artisan bitters. The drink really tasted like someone had a heavy hand with the bitters. I've got several flavors of Bitterman's bitters at home that I've been playing around with in cocktails. Their Xochitl (chocolate mole) bitters actually does go really well in a Manhattan, and the Bitterman's Grapefruit bitters cuts through some of the sweetness in a Margarita, but a little goes a long way. An extra shake is sometimes what unbalances the drink

                              2. re: mjill

                                well no one mentioned Happy Hour and sopes, sounds like a plan! ;)

                                1. re: MrKrispy

                                  We tried Cosmopolitan on Thursday. Unfortunately they had a big event going on in the patio--service was very poor. No water refill, long delays between courses and extremely hard, uncomfortable seating made for an unpleasant evening. The food was mostly good, once it arrived. Loved the clams and mussels dish and the lemon curd and blue berry shortcake dessert. My partner loved the pork cheeks, but I thought the lavender honey glaze was too much. Sadly, we probably won't be back anytime soon, unless it's for happy hour in the garden.

                            2. re: DiningDiva

                              Not even on someone else's dime, honey. Although the patio did look like THE place to lay back and get a feel good on. I'd have to stick to my 'NEAT' preferences as those well drinks were, as mentioned, truly mysterious. I'd have to order "ICED COFFEE" and would hope they served Hagen-Daz. Pass on the tourist traps.

                            3. Intended to try 25-Fourty Bistro last night but found it was closed so we wandered over to Cosmopolitan. The menu looked fine and based on Roseville, we like the chef, so we decided to give it a try. Walked into the courtyard to find the hostess station empty. Headed toward the bar where two of the waitstaff were standing around, chatting, but did not acknowledge us. Back to hostess station and waited a little longer trying to figure out what we were doing wrong. We observed at least half the tables were empty, however, the courtyard space is very nice as reported here. We were just about to give up when the hostess walked up and asked if she could help us. "yes, a table for 4 please". "there is a 20 minute wait, is that ok?" No further explanation. We asked why that would be, and she told us there were only two servers working. "No that is not ok" I replied, at which point she turned her back and left us standing there. No "sorry"; no "we can seat you at the bar while you wait"; no "please join us some other time", no NOTHING. I found the attitude pure tourist trap. Its off the list for good. Bad service is one thing but to be confronted with complete indifference from the get-go is insulting.

                              13 Replies
                              1. re: sdnativa

                                Well, clearly you were unworthy to arrive at a restaurant with your silly money in hand and expect a meal. ; )

                                I'd have done the same thing.

                                  1. re: sdnativa

                                    Two servers on a Tuesday and making people wait when half the place is empty doesn't bode well for a decent lifespan.

                                1. re: sdnativa

                                  "Walked into the courtyard to find the hostess station empty."

                                  Always a bad sign, that typically signals the tip of the iceberg.

                                  "Headed toward the bar where two of the waitstaff were standing around, chatting, but did not acknowledge us."

                                  Another huge red flag that the iceberg is near.

                                  ""yes, a table for 4 please". "there is a 20 minute wait, is that ok?" No further explanation. We asked why that would be, and she told us there were only two servers working. "No that is not ok" I replied, at which point she turned her back and left us standing there. No "sorry"; no "we can seat you at the bar while you wait"; no "please join us some other time", no NOTHING."

                                  You just hit the iceberg!

                                  1. re: sdnativa

                                    Unfrigging unbelievable!
                                    Hostess skanks..most are a taco short of a combo platter..dumb as a box of rocks...they sure can make or break your meal, since they are the first person you see when you arrive and the last on your way out.
                                    I would let the owner know exactly what happened to you sdnativa..

                                    1. re: Beach Chick

                                      I looked at the website for the inn/restaurant. The proprietor is identified but there is no contact information. I will take another look but didnt see anything helpful there.

                                      And I dont think anyone at Cosmopolitan is monitoring internet feedback. They should, though.

                                      1. re: sdnativa

                                        A post of defense from a "satisfied customer" (in reality a Cosmopolitan dishwasher or line cook that has happened upon this site via a Google search) is coming in five...four...three...

                                    2. re: sdnativa

                                      You suffered almost a play-by-play repeat of our experience there. No excuse. Not returning.

                                      1. re: sdnativa

                                        Hostess on smart pills! I bet she was hoping to keep the place empty so she could leave early. I mean, forgetabout da customa..

                                        1. re: sdnativa

                                          That's not even tourist trap attitude. That's just bad I don't give a crap attitude. Lack of leadership. Maybe the assumption is if we build it they will come just because it's in Old Town. How long ya gonna give this place if they don't get their act together?

                                          1. re: Island

                                            I haven't been back since my 1st post. Don't really get much south of the 56 on weekends, north county is so nice this time of the year. But I am really suprised about the hostess and the "I don't give a flying fig" about you attitude. This is not the first restaurant the consession owner has run, they are an experienced group. I know that the South Bay restaurant that he runs may not be a culinary mecca, but it packs 'em in, and that is due to, at least in part, to decent service. If they don't change and change fast, this will sink quicker than Delaware North.

                                          2. re: sdnativa

                                            Weird. I went last Saturday with my parents and the service and food was very good. My mom's fish was overcooked and a bit dried out but that was really the only miss.

                                            We did hear one of the hostesses tell a group behind us that there would be a 20-30 minute wait though. Which we found to be kind of odd given that the place was mostly empty.

                                          3. FoodBuzzSD reports that Chef Amy DiBiase has left the restaurant over creative and money issues.

                                            http://www.foodbuzzsd.com/blog/2010/1...

                                            13 Replies
                                            1. re: foodiechick

                                              Oh well at least I can say I tried it while it was under Chef Amy's guide. I wonder where she will show up. I hope some place up in north county, 30th street can't have all the fun. Good luck to the next person who takes over this place. With the restrictions that the state parks department have put on the restaurant, and trying to make this place a viable restaurant, seem to be to me, opposite in direction.

                                              1. re: foodiechick

                                                Sounds like that the owners of the Cosmopolitan want to turn it into another Old Town Mexican Cafe. Cool!!!

                                                -----
                                                Old Town Mexican Cafe
                                                2489 San Diego Ave, San Diego, CA 92110

                                                1. re: foodiechick

                                                  Wow moving on again? What's that, 3 restaurants in a year?

                                                  1. re: foodiechick

                                                    UT ran an article....owner came off sounding very professional and pleasant to work with:

                                                    http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/20...

                                                    1. re: MrKrispy

                                                      "Dysfunctional" immediately comes to mind.

                                                      1. re: sdnativa

                                                        I don't think an owner wanting to control costs is dysfunctional. It sounds more like a failure to communicate between the parties; that perhaps expectations and philosophies were not discussed enough on the front end of the deal

                                                        1. re: DiningDiva

                                                          Good bye Suzzie's Farm, hello Birds Eye.

                                                          1. re: stevuchan

                                                            Not necessraily since that is still a State owned property in a State Park. The owner has contractual obligations to the State of CA and the State may have some requirements for food served. I think they do want the menus to be historically accurate (whatever the h*ll that may mean in this case)

                                                            That said however, I thought the swipe that the owner took at Cooks Confab and Slow Food was not really necessary. Wanting to use quality ingredients of known orgin may not be exactly mainstream yet, but it's certainly nothing to be dismissed as another crazy idea from those fruits and nuts in California. It also demonstrated a rather profound lack of understanding about the function of both Cooks Confab and SF.

                                                            Probably won't be Birdseye, more like U.S. Foodservice or Sysco where you can buy just about any product, at any price and in any quality range.

                                                            1. re: DiningDiva

                                                              Yes, the comments about Cooks Confab and Slow Food is sort of a low blow. I understand his need to try to control costs, but honestly he had to have know what he was getting into when he hired (at great expense) both of those chefs.

                                                              BTW, congrats on the SF Urban Board of Directors seat.

                                                              1. re: foodiechick

                                                                Thanks.

                                                                I agree, both Jeff and Amy are pretty well known for their ingredient use, so it shouldn't have been such a surprise. Missed communications, plus we're only getting his side of the story. Lord only knows what he may have initially offered each one to move.

                                                          2. re: DiningDiva

                                                            I am not referring to the owner wanting to control costs. I am referring to the completely dysfunctional state of the restaurant and its staff on the occasion my attempted to dine there. The departure of chef DiBiase is further evidence of that state as far as I am concerned.

                                                            1. re: sdnativa

                                                              Okay, gotcha. I read your comment with a different interpretation. Thanks for clarifying

                                                        1. re: foodiechick

                                                          Sounds like the owner pretty much did a hard turn from how he sold the place to DiBiase, probably after having tourist after tourist walk away from the Cosmo because they weren't making tortillas in the joint.

                                                          I guess this clears the deck for somebody that wears a fedora.

                                                          1. re: RB Hound

                                                            They should try fish tacos.

                                                            I understand they're popular here.

                                                            1. re: RB Hound

                                                              Very funny, but further fedorazation of SD? Save us.

                                                              1. re: foodiechick

                                                                My dictionary has no such word.

                                                                Is the root Fedora:

                                                                Fédora, the title of a drama (1882) written by the French dramatist Victorien Sardou (1831–1908).

                                                                1. re: Fake Name

                                                                  why not put little tortilla fedoras on each fish taco?

                                                                  1. re: MrKrispy

                                                                    Lovely innovative concept, but that ingredient is probably too cost prohibitive for the owner.

                                                                  2. re: Fake Name

                                                                    Well, in all fairness, it might have been a reference to a software program: http://fedoraprojectDOTorg/

                                                                    1. re: Fake Name

                                                                      My brainiack dictionary sez fedorazation: from the root Fedora. In San Diego, Fedora/fedorazation = too much Malarkey.

                                                                      And yes, I probably spelled brainiack wrong.

                                                                  3. re: foodiechick

                                                                    The new December Issue of Food & Wine has a half-page spread about Amy (includes one of her recipes) and Cosmopolitan. Opps.

                                                                  4. I realized I had a Restaurant.com coupon the other day and wanted to get in to Cosmopolitan while they were still serving some of Amy DiBiase's menu. We had the exact same situation getting seated that sdnativa did up above. We found the hostess desk (unstaffed) and it was nearly 10 minutes before anyone showed up. The first time she walked in, got something off the computer and walked away without acknowledging us. 5 minutes later she came back and told us it would be a 5 minute wait. I laughed and said, "Really?". Yup. There were only two tables with diners inside, a table of 4 out at the firepit. A large group showed up at the same time as us. We waited another 10 minutes...I was fuming and wanted to leave (i paid all of $1 for the coupon) but my GF insisted we stick it out since at that point we weren't planning on ever setting foot in there again.

                                                                    Apparently they can't seem to function with several servers and a bartender and handle more than 2 tables in the entire restaurant. That they would let us sit at the front desk for 30 minutes with an empty restaurant is not only ridiculously bad planning/training, it is also bad for business....people are more likely to bail at the front desk as opposed to waiting at their table.

                                                                    The food was actually good (suckling pig confit, rare top sirloin, charred romaine salad, carnitas sopes), and the server was friendly and obviously experienced (splitting the entress, spacing the small plates, etc). However they all seem to like to stroll around the grounds repeatedly for 10-15 minutes at a time...far away from their customers. I could go in to more detail about the food specifics but the place doesn't deserve any more of my time....sorry, I guess I just don't have the staffing to write a full review.

                                                                    No chef could be worth the hassle and annoyance of how difficult it is to get a meal here (IN AN EMPTY RESTAURANT!!!), so I hope a talented chef doesn't cut their culinary wrists by taking a job here. Someone needs to pull the life support soon.

                                                                    15 Replies
                                                                    1. re: MrKrispy

                                                                      I thought that Chuck Ross was running the Cosmopolitan and not Mellusio. His South Bay Fish and Grill may not be on most chowhounders radar, but it is successful in terms of making a lot of customers happy. That is why I am so shocked at these stories of how poorly run the Cosmopolitan is. Fiesta de Reyes in the old Casa de Pico space seems to be picking up steam and seems to have attentive staff and servers. Does Ross even walk around the Cosmopolitan? It really seemed like a great concept, I am sorry to see this turn into a huge dumpster fire.

                                                                      -----
                                                                      Fish and Grill
                                                                      4545 La Jolla Village Dr Ste E-18, San Diego, CA 92122

                                                                      1. re: littlestevie

                                                                        Melluso definitely owns the Cosmopolitan. I stopped by there last night with a friend just to check it out. I'm no expert, but it seemed far fetched to begin with to think fine dining would work there. First, it is in Old Town, second, the restaurant is in a renovated building that looks like a Farrell's Ice Cream parlor, and third, and possibly most telling, the ridiculous period dress. They are essentially setting the expectation that it will be touristy food. Add to that the poor service that has been mentioned here and the food becomes irrelevant, no matter how good. We walked in and there was a hostess and a waiter there. The hosted greeted us while the waiter, leaning against the wall, looked at us then looked down, without so much as a smile or hello. As we returned from our stroll through the courtyard, he walked by us and did the same. I enjoyed Chef Amy's food at Roseville and know she left as the ship was sinking, but why she choose to work at the Cosmopolitan is beyond me. The same goes for Chef Thurston. Melluso must be one heck of a sales person!

                                                                        -----
                                                                        Roseville
                                                                        1125 Rosecrans Steet, San Diego, CA 92106

                                                                        1. re: sdnosh

                                                                          "why she choose to work at the Cosmopolitan is beyond me. The same goes for Chef Thurston. Melluso must be one heck of a sales person!"

                                                                          Ahhhhh maybe the salary? What makes anyone think chefs are any less concerned about $ than the owners?

                                                                          As for the staff, perhaps they're bored to death in a restaurant with so few customers walking in the door.
                                                                          Agree this place did seem far fetched to begin with.

                                                                          1. re: Island

                                                                            In terms of what the State of CA required of Delaware North - the original contractor for Old Town - in the way of "historically accurate" use of the property and buildings, the concept wasn't so far fetched. Ill-advised, yes, but for contract compliance, regrettably, no. <sigh>

                                                                            1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                              That was the point of my post. The now "historically accurate" Cosmopolitan along with it's "historically accurate" uniforms makes the concept of putting a fine dining restaurant there far fetched which is the same as ill advised.

                                                                              And I agree with Island, money is a huge lure, but still, wouldn't you think a chef would also look at the viability of a project so they are not forced to jump ship when the owner wants to switch from fillet mignon in a port wine reduction to stagecoach corn dogs?

                                                                              1. re: sdnosh

                                                                                We're all on the same page, I'm not disagreeing with anyone. I'm only saying that the concpet of historically accurate is being required of the operator by the State of CA. It's ill conceived and poorly executed and, yes, the costumes are silly and ridiculous. In fact, my dining companion and I both commented on them being silly when we ate there a couple months ago. People don't go to Old Town for fine dining frontier style.

                                                                                As for the chef...sometimes positions look very appealing or promising when presented but once you're into the actual job the dynamics aren't what was presented. Haven't you ever taken a job that seemed to hold a lot of promise only to find out it wasn't what you thought? I did that in 1993. What looked like a plum position turned out to be the job from Hell. We have no idea what was promised to the chef, nor do we really have any idea what the internal operation was like. It's unfortunate it played out in the press because that just makes for a lot of speculation.

                                                                                1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                  See they missed the boat on this completely with their "in the box" thinking.

                                                                                  While I understand the idea of the period wardrobe, I don't believe the state could have possibly considered the work-around for this.

                                                                                  Period underwear.

                                                                                  By removing the outerwear of the period garments, the establishment would be in compliance with their contract, and could raise awareness of the Olde Towne theme at the same time. Thousands would flock to eat those high-falutin meals and learn about the customs and fashions of yesteryear.

                                                                                  Obviously, this would interest those attracted to women more than those attracted to men- the drop-tail buttoned down faded longjohns with the big red buttons can't hold a candle to a corset and garters.

                                                                                  An alternative here would be to dress the males in the corsets and garters, and the females in the longjohns as the males can only stand to improve their appearance, and the females, well, they look good in anything especially a drop-tail buttoned down faded longjohns with the big red buttons.

                                                                                  Only goes to prove- there is a silver lining in every cloud, and our job is to find it and exploit it.

                                                                                  1. re: Fake Name

                                                                                    What about a 70's era san diego disco/drug smuggler theme?

                                                                                    Or a 90's san diego grunge music theme?

                                                                                  2. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                    The part that bothers me about this, is what period are we trying to be accurate to. The Plaza de Posada nee Bazar del Mundo nee Casa de Pico Motel is now a quasi Mexican early Californio style eating and shopping arcade. That building was built in the 30's and designed by Richard Requa. So to be historically accurate, that building should be set in the mid-30's style and food. What I am getting at is, the Victorian era imposed on the project, is one of many choices they could of made and still have been "accurate" I think that the state needs to lighten up on the project, and still have something a bit higher end that will work. I can't even comment on FN proposals.

                                                                                    1. re: littlestevie

                                                                                      I could not agree more. If you remember, Bazaar del Mundo was wildly popular, was profitable and returned good revenue to the State. The State got greedy and after 20+ years probably wanted greater control over the park operations than Diane Powers was willing to relinquish. I think the State was being rather short-sighted. What was it the UT reported, that in the first year without Bazaar del Mundo business was down by more than 60%. Kind of sends a pretty potent message.

                                                                                      San Diego was still a Mexican town at the time Mexico achieved it's independence from Spain (1821) and didn't get passed to American possession until the 1830s (or maybe it was the 1840s). In any event, the era the State wants to recreate was only about 40 years removed from 200 years of Mexican identity. Certainly every last vestiage of San Diego's Mexican roots was not erradicated in 40 short years.

                                                                                      Granted, the early Mexican heritage is not going to be nearly as colorful and gaudy as Bazaar del Mundo, but neither was it as dull, drab and boring as what it's been converted into. Surely there must have been a happy medium in there somewhere.

                                                                            2. re: sdnosh

                                                                              That would be cool if it turned into a Farrell's Ice Cream parlor.

                                                                                1. re: Josh

                                                                                  What if the ice cream was only made from products that originated from grass fed, free range dairy cattle?

                                                                                  I don't know why people keep dancing around it - the best route to go would be an upscale combination Rubio's / Jack In The Box.

                                                                                  1. re: RB Hound

                                                                                    The ice cream is actually derived from free-range corn derivatives, so it would fit nicely within the Park.

                                                                                2. re: stevewag23

                                                                                  Yeah, we could have 60s-70s style nostalgia for the 1900s style ice cream parlor.