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Yummy, casual places like Urban Solace that are new to me?

With time off these next week or so I'm trying to think of places that the two of us might want to have lunch or dinner at that could be new or just new to us that doesn't start with Link or El or Arby.

Around $35 or $50 for two, for food. Little more if it's dinner, I suppose. From North Park to Coronado to Encinitas to RB / Poway or inbetween. I guess maybe we should try the newish Moonlight Solace up there. Stone is an option, Slater's 50/50 or other burger joints too or non-burger burger joints too.

Leroy's in Coronado, is that something?

Toss me some names! (And Merry Everything, everyone!)

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  1. $50 for two (or even $60 for dinner) will only be possible (even at Urban Solace or Moonlight Solace were the price are a bit higher than at Urban Solace)) if you don't drink any alcohol and share an appetizer and dessert and have two entrees. Some options: Smoking Goat, Avenue 5, Jayne's Gastropub, Cucina Urbana.

    1. Maybe a nice happy hour with some outstanding apps or small plates, Wisk & Laddle, Prep Kitchen etc.

      1. Urge Gastropub in RB if you happen to be stuck on the 15 corridor?

          1. Tiger Tiger!

            or rather, Tiger! Tiger!

            3 Replies
            1. re: MrKrispy

              I've been kind of underwhelmed on my last couple of visits.

              1. re: Josh

                We went for the first time a couple weeks ago and underwhelmed is a very kindly adjective to describe our impression. I mean, if you are going to do sandwiches, how about *good* sandwiches? SD *does* need more great sandwiches. Everything we ordered tasted dry or was otherwise lacking in flavor. Leaden, underseasoned sweet potato chips, punky arugula in a salad with fried goat cheese...I had the Autostrada; in retrospect, who in god's name would think to make 'housemade' mortadella and then put it on a panini press? Would you do that to Oscar Meyer bologna? Tastes very similar. Hot bologna.
                Why they didn't just get some Molinari salami from Mona Lisa, we will never know
                I actually didn't finish my meal. That never happens.

                1. re: TheeAce

                  Well, mortadella is bologna. . . .but that said, I haven't been impressed with the non-oyster menu selections either. Which is too bad because the beer has been pretty good, and I like the atmosphere. In the ideal world, the owners of Tiger!Tiger! and the owners of Carnitas Snack Shack team up and create one great place.

            2. I happen to like Leroy's in Coronado.

              1. Have you been to Local Habit in Hillcrest yet? I went with a few friends while I was home and was quite impressed. Good beer selection (and slightly different beers than a lot of other similar places) and good small plates to share.

                7 Replies
                1. re: DougOLis

                  I've been there several times and would probably have a hard time returning. They're pretty hit or miss, and at their price point I find misses pretty tough to take. Sounds like you got lucky.

                  The brussels sprouts are reliably good, but other menu items less so, and the pricing is sometimes bordering on science fiction. When they first opened they were a much better deal - I'm guessing the new focus on small plates at higher prices is a more accurate reflection of their food cost.

                  1. re: Josh

                    I just look at the menu and prices of Solace Moonlight and I know it is not even worth a try even though I live in Encinitas. I just don't get it.

                    1. re: pantani

                      I'm confused...what don't you "get"? Seems like a pretty straightforward and typical menu.

                      1. re: DiningDiva

                        Nothing on the menu appeals to me. Everything seems very heavy which I guess appeals to some. I think there is a lack of balance not to mention the high prices.

                        1. re: pantani

                          Fair enough.

                          FWIW, having eaten at Urban Solace I can honestly say I didn't find the food heavy.

                      2. re: pantani

                        We had a wonderful meal at Solace several weeks ago. Just like Urban Solace, the quality of food and service at that price point is great. Between the two of us, we enjoyed the crab brik (cake), pork belly, and the steak of the day (hangar). It was all well-prepared and very fresh.

                        1. re: dustchick

                          I managed to eat at both Solace (for lunch) and Urban Solace (for dinner) in the same week. Lunch was 1/2 dozen fresh oysters and the 4 cheese grilled cheese sandwich w/ tomato fennel soup. Dinner was cheese biscuits, cheese plate, Duckaroni and butterscotch pot du creme.

                          Oysters were well-shucked w/ lots of liquor, fresh and clean. Grilled cheese was excellent. Really liked their choice of challah bread, which held up well and didn't get soggy, plus added a nice "chew" to the sandwich. I can't remember all the 4 cheese types except for a creamy blue, but their choices melded well together AND didn't get all congealed by the end of the meal. Soup was good, my only nit pick is that I prefer a stronger tomato flavor, but I o/w thought it was a well made soup. Total was around $30, a bit high for lunch, but then again, the oysters made up for 1/2 of the tab.

                          Dinner was also very good. Very nice cheese plate, esp the spicy honey, which we nabbed for our cheese biscuits. Biscuits were fluffy, flavorful but delicate at the same time. Duckaroni was very flavorful, with pleasant hits of spiciness among the creaminess. Their choice to add arugula to it was a surprising and succesful choice b/c the pepperiness added a nice foil to the richness of the dish. Pot du creme was the hit of the whole table--not too sweet but rich and flavorful with a nice hit of fleur de sal to balance it all out. Not sure what the damage was b/c someone else paid.

                          Looking at the overall menu, I don't find it heavy. There is plenty of variety for one to create a heavy or a light meal. They had a farro dish which I almost got. Someone at our table got the red quinoa w/ goat cheese and veggies, which was definitely a light dish. Someone else got the sashimi tuna, which was also a light dish.

                          Service was attentive but not intrusive at both places. Didn't get rushed out for dinner, even though it was a weekend evening.

                          I would go to both again in a heartbeat. For what you get in quality, creativity and quantity, it's totally worth it.

                  2. Sessions Public in Point Loma - good drinks and a relatively small, but good menu.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: ipsit

                      Good call on Sessions Public. Been there a couple times and the food was pretty good.

                    2. In addition to those that have already been mentioned, some casual places I can think of are:

                      Cafe 21 (Adams Ave. location)
                      Ritual Tavern
                      Farm House Cafe
                      25forty Bistro (Just try to forget that it's in Old Town and you'll be fine)
                      Vagabond (Maybe past it's prime but still a great neighborhood place)
                      R Gang Eatery
                      Red Door
                      Kensington Grill (Live down the street from here, what can I say?)
                      Jimmy's Famous American Tavern (Great location)
                      Parkhouse Eatery (More of an old school favorite of mine)

                      For shared small plates check out Cueva Bar or Counterpoint

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: hungerpane

                        After trying Alchemy for the first time tonight (I know, I know), its definitely a place to try. In addition to the plates of food I ordered, it seemed like everything the other diners got left me thinking, "Holy S___, what is that?" (in a good way). Definitely a good place to eat.

                        With regards to Pomegranate: the food is delicious, the menu is hilarious, but the cash-only policy is weird and somewhat creepy, especially considering the price point. Maybe its just me. . .

                        1. re: jmtreg

                          I'm pretty sure I paid with a credit card the last time I went to Pomegranate (~November).

                          1. re: Katherine H

                            Wait, what? Are you sure? If they do now, that would be awesome.

                            1. re: jmtreg

                              Yep they now take Visa and MC.

                        2. re: hungerpane

                          actually Vagabond got a new chef recently (hails from SF I hear) - the menu has been reinvigorated and the daily specials have been really fantastic the last few times we've been.