HOME > Chowhound > San Diego >
Are you making a specialty food?

special dinner: kaito, tbl3, or ???

notjustastomach Jan 8, 2013 07:17 AM

Here in SD, we tend to go out for neighborhood fare: Starlite, Tender Greens, etc. But we have a special occasion and are seeking an all-out extravaganza.

Anywhere to add to the short list?

Price is not an object. We don't eat meat and we don't drink wine.

  1. Dagney Jan 8, 2013 09:02 AM

    Addison. If you contact the GM ahead of time to explain your drink preference, they will probably be able to accommodate you with a good "mocktail."

    Though, Omikase (oh dear, spelling?) at Kaito would be incredible to.

    Some things to consider:

    Addison is ultra ultra high end, choreographed, precision dining. If you have never experienced anything like it, Addison is a cacophony of sensory stimuli; from the room, to the service, to the amazing food, it's like food opera.

    Kaito is a more casual environment, but the chef is incredibly personable and welcoming, you will be treated like a dear friend. The quality of your meal will be second to none.

    Hope this helps!


    9 Replies
    1. re: Dagney
      chetatkinsdiet Jan 9, 2013 10:13 AM

      Honestly, we thought Addison was a giant waste of money- elevated banquet food would be the mean way of saying it, but it wasn't particularly impressive in either service or food. It was good, but it's trying to be a type of fine dining that it just doesn't achieve.

      1. re: chetatkinsdiet
        Fake Name Jan 9, 2013 11:03 AM

        at least it didn't achieve it when you were there. I've been a few times and each was a tremendous experience in both food and service. Throw your best Super Sergio's joke here.

        Addison would be my choice.

        1. re: Fake Name
          4wino Jan 9, 2013 01:04 PM

          FN, I've always had great times at Addison. Been a loyal customer ever since they opened, and the quality of food and service has steadily improved.

          My only complaint is that they do not change their menu enough. Last year, I went there 4 times, and 3 of the times they had the same or almost the same menu.

          Still dream about their cauliflower dish from a couple of years ago.

          1. re: Fake Name
            chetatkinsdiet Jan 9, 2013 04:37 PM

            Honestly, it's hotel banquet food done in a nicer setting- put in any other major city there's no way this would survive. I'm being taken there in a few weeks so I'm sure I'll post again, but for the kind of money Addison costs it makes far more sense to go to LA to the any number of places that really know fine dining. Unfortunately, fine dining is just one of those things San Diego has never done very well.

            1. re: chetatkinsdiet
              Fake Name Jan 9, 2013 05:16 PM

              Clearly your experience is different from mine.


              1. re: Fake Name
                Dagney Jan 10, 2013 03:04 AM

                Right? "Honestly" I agree with you FN. lol...

              2. re: chetatkinsdiet
                Dagney Jan 10, 2013 03:05 AM

                So, are you honestly saying you don't like Addison?

                1. re: chetatkinsdiet
                  pickypicky Jan 10, 2013 06:09 AM

                  Chet, I agree 100%. You nail it with: elevated banquet food and in no other city would it survive as what it purports to be. Opera it is, but a 3rd class production in an Ohio opera house. All the pretension without an understanding of true fine dining.

                  (Banquet Food seems to be a SD trend. Wine Vault is another place that tastes like pre-made wedding buffet to me-- and the Promiscuous Fork in LJ)

                  And need I remind the poster of Addison's owner's politics? That alone would ruin my dinner.

                  Great suggestions below ||||||

                  1. re: pickypicky
                    honkman Jan 10, 2013 10:35 AM

                    I don't know under which chef you had dinner at Wine Vault but especially Chef K.C. Howland was one of the most underrated chefs in SD and the food at Wine Vault was everything else than banquet food.

          2. c
            cstr Jan 8, 2013 09:56 AM

            Fish Market, upstairs.

            1. k
              karaethon Jan 8, 2013 10:16 AM

              When you say you don't "eat meat" it means you're pescatarian (fish + veggies)?

              I wouldn't call Kaito an "all-out extravaganza" - It is actually quite reasonably priced compared to your normal places as each person costs about $65-85

              For "all-out" I think you should decide if you value the food more or the entire overall experience.
              TBL3 will give you awesome food with acceptable service
              Addison will give you acceptable food with awesome service

              I don't know anywhere in San Diego where you get both anymore (RIP Blanca)

              1. b
                Beach Chick Jan 8, 2013 01:21 PM

                I would stay at the Inn at Rancho Santa Fe for the night and the free breakfast for two for $149 a night and dine at Mille Fleurs or Delicias which is a half a block away in the village of RSF.


                1. Rodzilla Jan 8, 2013 11:17 PM

                  What are your requirements for special occasion? As others have said, Kaito is a more casual atmosphere and moderate pricing.

                  TBL3, is always a great option, and I'm sure the kitchen will be able to accommodate with more fish/veggie focused courses.

                  Ota is another possibility, from what I've read the omakase is more of a kaiseki type experience..a few more composed dishes than say Kaito with comparable quality. You will have to schedule a few weeks in advance to sit at the bar with Ota-San.

                  I guess it depends on the experience you're looking for as well. I would only recommend Katio/Ota at the bar, but if you're looking for something more intimate TBL3 at Georges is likely the best option.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Rodzilla
                    chetatkinsdiet Jan 9, 2013 10:14 AM

                    I'd agree with all of this- though personally I'd lean towards TBL3

                  2. SaltyRaisins Jan 10, 2013 02:22 PM

                    Starlite or Kaito. Both always end up feeling "special" somehow. Good ingredients and good service, I guess.


                    Ah...just read that you are regulars at Starlite. Kaito then. On a different level than sushi in SD county, on par with that found in other cities, and above the bar for chill, unpretentious accessibility of the itamae.

                    1. Gypsy Jan Jan 10, 2013 02:31 PM

                      Oh well, the CH overseers will probably excuse my reply, but, in the interest of the OP's desires, I would really recommend a meal at the Rancho la Puerta in Tecate.

                      1. notjustastomach Jan 10, 2013 07:32 PM

                        Thanks all. We've decided on tbl3. I turn 50 in January and my wife makes the same transition in May. So we decided to have both of our special bday meals at tbl3, allowing us to enjoy the seasonal differences between the two menus.

                        And for good measure, we'll make sure to hit Kaito for omakase at the half-way point.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: notjustastomach
                          ipsedixit Jan 10, 2013 07:49 PM


                          TBL3 twice in the span of 5 months, with a visit to Kaito wedged in between?

                          That's good living and a marvelous way to kick off the next 50 years of your lives together.

                          Congrats and enjoy.

                          1. re: ipsedixit
                            karaethon Jan 11, 2013 02:47 PM

                            Great choice! congratulations!

                            The amazing part is that both of your TBL3 experiences will be at least 75% different :)

                        Show Hidden Posts