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Oct 18, 2010 02:57 PM

Is Whisknladle becoming predictable, even a bit stagnant...?

Whisknladle is one of our top go-to restaurants, where we take out of town guests and where we head for a spontaneous night out.

But while we once thought their "short" menu was a plus, since it was delicious, fun, promised focus on good ingredients, and had something for everyone, I have to admit I've become a little bored as "favorites" have staked out a place on their menu and there is little room for turnover. Every time we go we order the flatbread and then search for something new.

I understand that date fritters, scallops of some kind, and tagliatele bolognese deserve a spot on the almost permanent rotation. (In addition to the chicken, steak, burger, and even the fish entree.) Every time we go there is a usually interesting new salad, and last night the (new to us) shrimp conchiglie was fantastic.

But I while I admire their focus and attention to detail, I increasingly think the novelty is at risk of wearing off for those of us that go there often. The one page menu has a lot of spots taken, apart from the reliable flatbread and salad of the month. Doesn't leave a lot of room for new dishes.

If they are going to start staking out places on their menu for certain dishes, shouldn't they consider expanding their repertoire or offering specials? The more we go, the less we know what to order to keep things interesting.

P.S. The pumpkin bread pudding was a rare miss. Overly bready, indiscernible pumpkin flavor.

1044 Wall Street, La Jolla, CA 92037

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  1. The shrimp conchiglie is my wife's favorite dish!

    1. Funny you posted this, I was about to put up a thread asking for some interesting recommendations at Whisknladle for my birthday dinner haha

      1044 Wall Street, La Jolla, CA 92037

      3 Replies
      1. re: MrKrispy

        MrK, you already have one excellent choice. The muscles are outstang. The small chacuterie and fromage plate is also very good and plenty of stuff even for the small plate. I just don't care for the crostinis that come with it, too dry for me, just ask for more regular bread. Also make your reservations via and go through the 1000 point restaurants and you'll get 10x the normal points. And happy b'day!

        1. re: 4wino

          thanks for the help!

          I will report back if it is stale haha

          1. re: MrKrispy

            to combat staleness they added a ricotta gnocchi and braised oxtail dish that was absolutely fantastic. The gnocchi were light and had a airy creamy texture that paired very well with the meaty oxtails and heavy, sticky braising sauce.

            I finally got the nerve to try the bone GF wasn't too in to it so that was a lot of meat butter for me to get down haha. We had several other of the "regular" dishes that were excellent as always.

            I see what you mean about the menu running out of room for new items, hopefully they refresh it in the spring. Regardless, I love that place.

      2. After reading the Urban Solace thread on service, I had to comment on our Whisknladle brunch experience yesterday. The server referred to my friend throughout the meal as "hon." Hon? Is this the new address form for women of a certain age?

        To his credit, when our entrees came to the table stone cold, the Honster did notify the manager of our displeasure, and the situation was addressed.

        But "Hon?"

        Never. No. Not even in San Diego. Unless you're a truck stop waitress over 60.

        4 Replies
        1. re: pickypicky

          Was the server chewing gum in an exagerated manner? perfect diner motif. Funny, a cashier at Albertson's did that to me last week, really?

          1. re: pickypicky

            In San Diego, one must typically go to Corvette Diner to be called "Hun".

            Did they rush your meal?

            1. re: pickypicky

              Different resto - but called "Hon" this afternoon. What is up with that in San Diego of all places?!

            2. No. They did not rush our meal. Instead they served food that wasn't hot, which took a while to straighten out. (Cold eggs. yuk) The poor Birthday Girl was still eating long after they'd taken our dishes away, and she had had to suffer the Hon-calling, as well.

              5 Replies
              1. re: pickypicky

                In my mind, this incident is really inexcuseable, did you contact the MOD or GM? I don't think I'd be returning soon.

                1. re: cstr

                  It was my friend's birthday-- and she thinks I complain too much. So I kept my mouth shut, except to snicker every time the server said it. Whisknladle had been the friend's choice, but I have had nothing but amateurish experiences there. This episode sealed my disdain. NOTE: the GM came to the table to discuss the cold food, but it was awkward and unsatisfying. I repeat: amateurish.

                    1. re: pickypicky

                      maybe they think cus they're in LJ they can get away with it.

                      1. re: cstr

                        I believe he was a boorish young person who wasn't taught properly. "Hon" from a man to an older woman is always disrespectful. Maybe from any man to any woman. (Of course the men at our table said, did nothing.)

                2. Just wanted to put up a post saying that we had a dinner at Whisknladle last week and it was darn near perfect. Sous vide steak with a quick char on it was spot on, the Farmer's salad had some sort of local string bean I had never tried before (forgot to ask) and overall was creative and quite tasty, the yellowtail crudo with kiwi and avocado was mouthwatering, and the service was flawless.

                  I always wonder if [what I consider] fantastic SD restaurants that don't get much love on Chowhound are because of general cynicism that comes with the SD board or because people don't want their neighborhood gems to become tourist pits or if I just don't expect as much of SD restaurants as the more verbal contingent...or if i just have mediocre tastes haha.

                  Anyway, had a great dinner there and just thought I would give them a public thumbs up.

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: MrKrispy

                    Because It's unpopular to be positive.

                    Much better to demonstrate bloviated fussiness than to enjoy some of the very good for our city offers.

                    1. re: MrKrispy

                      Whisknladle is one of the better restaurant if you look on the quality of the dishes alone but compared to other restaurants the dishes are very overpriced, e.g. just looking on their menu and based on past experience - charcuterie plate $24, half chicken $30, scallops $36. It is a good restaurant but not on the level it should be based on the prices.

                      1. re: MrKrispy

                        As Fake Name has instilled a "do not yuck your yum" policy, I usually don't respond to a poster's positive review with negative comments. So...I won't mention the lunch we suffered there two weeks ago. ;)

                        1. re: foodiechick

                          I was going to make a general comment that if there is anything I've noticed about Whiskenladle (other than Honkman's observation), I've heard and seen widely variable reports - even over short periods of time. I've lucked out - the 3 times I've been there in the past 3 or so years have all been pretty good.

                          I'm not sure if the variability is who is working in the kitchen a particular day, their food sources, their traffic level, or some complex mix of all 3.

                          1. re: foodiechick

                            Fake Name is not empowered to instill anything- yuk away, if that's your impulse...

                            1. re: Fake Name

                              I know you think that way and I'm glad to hear you say it, because I don't think a "don't yuk someone's yum" mindset would promote a healthy environment for open and honest discussion about food.

                              1. re: DoctorChow

                                I believe there are ways to support and engage in a discussion without resorting to adversarial methods. I believe in the idea so strongly that I volunteer weekly to coach Eighth graders to do it.

                                "Yukking a yum" is a bit like using sarcasm- despite what people claim, both methods are intended to damage and discredit the other party, not to provide alternative points of view in a mutually-supportive learning environment.

                                It damages further dialog, and discourages the introduction of alternative points of view.

                                We are rapidly losing the spirit of civil discourse, and with it, our ability to learn from others with differing experiences and perspectives- this reinforces prejudice and encourages well-defended positions of ignorance.