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Tasting Menu Question

Going to be Downtown for a weekend with a friend in a few weeks.

Wanted to do a tasting Menu. Looked at all the websites and narrowed it down to

6 course at Georges
Chef Mercy at Nine Ten
Tasting at A.R. Valentine

I ruled out the 7 course at Addison (I could be convinced though) Mainly think it might be too formal and style of Cuisine. Kind of want somewhat relaxed / romantic

I was hoping for Delicias in RSF but looks like McCabe (sp) is no longer there ...at least he's not listed on the culinary team part of the web site.

Total unrelated note. Has anyone tried Sora Downtown yet Italian Japanese Fusion near the Coaster station. Chef Noriyoshi Teruya worked for Nobu in Italy, which I guess explains the concept.


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  1. Three excellent choices. Three excellent chefs. Hard to split hairs cuisine-wise. You mentioned relaxed/romantic. Reasonable minds might differ, but George's has never struck me as relaxed, although the view is quite romantic. Nothing romantic about Nine-Ten, really, although it is relaxed. I'd vote for A.R. Valentien given your criteria, but it's a close call.

    1. Georges is doing a 5-course tasting menu (on a daily basis without prior "discussion" with the kitchen) or a 7-course tasting menu (which requires prior "discussion" with the kitchen). Had the Chef's Mercy at 9-10 and would call it the biggest disappointing dinner of the year and not worth the money. Other options might be Wine Vault (regular 5-course tasting on Saturday or look on their calendar (webpage) for some of their special winemaker tasting menus (often on Sundays). JSix has also a very good 5-course tasting menu (Chef's Mercy) but I wouldn't call the dining room romantic (but relaxed). Winesellar & Brasserie (which we haven't tried for a few years) has also a 7-course tasting menu (which can be personalized). The Sky Room is also still offering their tasting menu until the end of the year before it will close down (so it might be a good time to try it).

      1. I would recommend Flavor Del Mar as well as the George's 7 course. Both will be relaxed and romantic and both have excellent wine selections.

        I would definitely not recommend Nine Ten and have never been to AR Valentien.

        Sora does not have a tasting menu. The early reviews were that it was not a good price to experience ratio because of the small portions, but during my recent visit, I actually felt some portions were too large and the pricing was generally appropriate. If you want more details about Sora, you can check out my post at: http://www.gastrobits.com/2012/11/sor...

        1. Out of your choices, George's and NineTen are the best kitchens in the area (for fine dining). Addison is a waste of money IMHO based on my last tasting menu there. George's is my go to when I need to entertain a foodie who is also a client, though for some reason I'm not in love with Nine Ten's tasting menu offerings. Can't quite put my finger on it- I'm sure part of it is that I hate that dining room (the layout of it).

          1. Total unrelated note. Has anyone tried Sora Downtown yet Italian Japanese Fusion near the Coaster station. Chef Noriyoshi Teruya worked for Nobu in Italy, which I guess explains the concept.

            Sora is awful

            No other way to put it.

            And I'm being understated and diplomatic when I say "awful". It's sort of like describing the Grand Canyon as "a hole in the ground."

            1. Georges also has a local Spiny Lobster tasting right now worth looking into. I just visited for my first TBL3 with Karatheon and wouldn't hesitate to do it again.

              Flavor Del Mar is a great option as well, just call in advance to make sure they'll offer it. Chef Redzikowski has a very impressive background, and the food is great.

              If you wanted a modern Kaiseki you could try Akinori's $60 Omakase, which is an incredible bargain.

              from the choices above - Georges.

              1. Recently went to Nine-Ten and did 6 courses. Great meal, highly recommend. I also re-checked out George's a few weeks ago and another great meal. The only tasting they were doing though was local Spiny Lobster which looked awesome but not everyone at the table was into it too much. Just ended up ordering basically all the apps and they did not dissapoint. Killer lingua tostadas! I would not recommend Addison, tasting for 2 with wine easily runs in the 600 range and while good food, I left feeling it definitely didn't live up to the hype or price tag. Good luck.

                12 Replies
                1. re: mjill

                  Thanks for the feed back everyone. Yeah that's what I thought about Addison as well for a couple hundred more I can go to San Francisco for two days and eat at Incanto food and trip all together.

                  Looks like after reading probably do Georges, though I am going to contact flavor and see about a tasting menu I looked at the site at when doing my research but did not see a tasting option listed.

                  1. re: chris2269

                    If you are expanding search, check out Market Restaurant + Bar. Arguably the best in town.

                    1. re: mjill

                      Here's my thing about Market- everything is great, and the service is great and on and on and on, but every dish I have from them my immediate reaction is "could you have done at least one LESS thing on this plate?"

                      1. re: chetatkinsdiet

                        I thought the food at Market was fine, not as crazy on the setting - not worth traveling from Downtown IMO

                        1. re: Rodzilla

                          I'd agree with that, plus you've generally got similar food by the same owners at Bankers Hill Bar & Grill. The problem is, get a bit north and there's really nowhere at the high end to go outside of Flavor (very meh), Addison (again, meh), and so on- the selection is pretty light once you get north of la jolla.

                          1. re: chetatkinsdiet

                            I did not go into this before but I have eaten at Market and was the same Meh...In between Girlfriends (I know that sounds bad) my dining partner is my little sister who because of me has had great food. Her take on market was wow did they have to put cilantro on every dish.

                            Looks like Georges ...I have eaten at Nine Ten and never been let down but all things considered think that's how to go.

                            Also the person I'm spending the weekend with is Colombian and we have found a few restaurants in LA ...the reader just had an piece on Antojitos Colombianos but if anyone has better intel please share...thanks again

                            1. re: chris2269

                              One thing I hate about Flavor (and Market) is that they are horrible at updating their website. For Flavor, I would definitely call the restaurant and ask to speak to the manager about the tasting options. I have spoken to both managers in the past and they are extremely friendly and knowledgeable about food.

                              1. re: karaethon

                                Flavor is horrible in resonding to email, phone or twitter. It's OK not reach the manager immediately but if somebody doesn't response after you left several messages (including through people working at Flavor) you get the impression that they don't want your business.Other friends had the same problem over the last several months. And it is the only restaurant in SD where we have these problems.

                                1. re: honkman

                                  Unless they say "we take reservations via twitter" I would stick to calling the restaurant and explaining what you want.

                                  1. re: Rodzilla

                                    I called the restaurant several times and emailed them several times but every time the manager wasn't there and would call back (what he never did) or they never replied to any emails. Especially if you want to set up a tasting menu it would be helpful if there is any way to contact a restaurant - Flavor seems to be rather unorganized/unprofessional which also leaves some doubt with us how professional they are in the kitchen when dealing with tasting menu requests. Luckily there are enough other places in SD who are interested in providing some special tasting menus.

                                    1. re: honkman

                                      Probably should have mentioned you know Fake Name. You'd have gotten a call back right away.

                                      (that's humor)

                                      1. re: honkman

                                        I meant my comment generally, not in defense of Flavor.

                  2. I've never had an official tasting menu at the A R Valentien, but every meal I've had there has been outstanding. They, like George's and NineTen, are simply pros. But better than George's and NineTen are the beautiful outdoor venue and dining room. (You can have a drink before or after dinner in front of a oakwood fire in the bar.) Comfortable and elegant in an age of minimalism. It just always seems that by going there, I've been somewhere.

                    I also know that Chef Kara and sommelier John will respond to any request. Again, they're pros.