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Sea and Smoke Del Mar

Officially Opens today at 5pm.

I managed to make it in yesterday (they allowed reservations) and it was really good. The wait staff was super friendly, knew the menu, and was extremely enthusiastic.

I actually went to Son of a Gun in LA earlier this week and this meal was better in every way. I thought the Sea and Smoke appetizer was great as was the duck entree and the Sea and Smoke dessert.

I can't wait until they work out the restaurant opening kinks and really work into high gear. I think it will be one of San Diego's best.

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  1. High praise I would say. We have been to Son of a Gun a couple times and based on those visits, the bar could not be set much higher. Looking forward to trying S & S.

    1. With a name like that, I wonder if their BGM will feature "Smoke On The Water" in heavy rotation...

      1. What else did you have to eat?

        1. Finally tried Sea and Smoke last week. Lovely patio, beautiful bar/lounge, eclectic menu. We start slowly with new restaurants so we went for lunch last Saturday. Husband enjoyed a mighty fine burger and I ordered a tasty, different-than-the-norm salad (more on that on the Sept/Salad topic). Husband declared it a favorite new place to the north of our hood. Can't wait to go back and explore that menu.

          1. Dinner here recently was not the best experience. The service was significantly lacking. Server was nice and friendly, but horribly bad at timing. Tables are set with large plates. Food runner brought out appetizers and had no place to set the plates. We had to move things around to make room. Apps were not finished and main dishes arrived. Again we had to juggle plates to make room. One of our party's main course had to be sent back so they could finish their app. The food was not bad, but also not great. Salmon has a sweet glaze to it. The mushroom vegetarian dish was not well balanced by flavors. Heavy and mushy feel to it. Could have use acidity. Busboy tried to remove plates before the table had finished eating, which is a pet peeve of mine. Hopefully management can get the service issues worked out. The bar area was nice as was the outside/patio area.

            5 Replies
            1. re: Grog

              I think they will get the timing issues under control but it might take time. The first half year at Solace in Encinitas had pretty lousy service but now it is getting better to a good standard

              1. re: Grog

                Oh you sound mighty patient. I hate it when dinner is brought before apps are cleared.

                1. re: Grog

                  Completely agree with the timing issues and with the physical table set up. Between the 2 of us, we ordered 2 apps, 1 salad, and 2 mains, the tiny table could not hold all of those dishes...and they just kept bringing them. Salad appeared before we were done with the apps and there was no where for it to go. The food runner dropped it off on the corner of the table and we had to arrange everything ourselves to make it fit. Empty plates then took forever to be cleared, even though we really needed the table space.

                  Mains made it out when there was actually room on the table, but they had obviously been sitting and died in the window. Both were barely warm and just above room temp.

                  All of this for mediocre food. The Sea and Smoke appetizer was one of the worst things I've had in a restaurants in a long time. I see it is no longer on the current menu, which is a good omission.

                  Maybe things will improve after it's been around longer. However, to compare it to Son of a Gun in LA is a huge insult to Son of a Gun.

                  1. re: Ponder99

                    That sounds like an irritating meal. These are service 101 issues. How and why are restaurants allowing such crummy service? Between this review and recent BG reviews.....I just don't get it. Why why why all this crappy service? S & S is another one off the to-go list.

                    1. re: Dagney

                      I hope the awswer to your question is "only a few restaurants have degenerated in this way".

                      One goes to a restaurant to have an enjoyable meal and a pleasant time, not to be made tense and irritated by inscruitable restaurant policies and annoying service malfunctions.

                      Off my list, too. At least for now.

                2. I think it will be one of San Diego's best? Really?

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: annasue

                    Welcome to Chowhound- always good to see a first post.

                    Do you think it WON'T be one of San Diego's best? On what basis do you disagree?

                    Tell us about your experience there- positive? Negative?

                    Again, welcome!

                  2. Tried last weekend Sea & Smoke for the first time and overall good to great food (only the steak tartare was disappointing (and seems to be consistently bad between all Gordon restaurants, should have known better when deceided to order). Nice ambience and the patio could be a great place for dinner once it gets warmer. Service was OK but we deceided to order in "waves" based on previous comments and was a good decision to not let them pace the meal (many other tables got their food often when the previous plates weren't even finished).
                    Overall the best of the three Gordon restaurants (more refined than the other two) with Urban Solace as second and Solace a far away third

                    1. Just tried Sea & Smoke for brunch.

                      In sum? Left rather disappointed.

                      Croque Madame came on brioche bread (not toast), served open-faced, which left the entire dish without any textural contrast -- no crunch, all soft chew. Like one big salty marshmallow. In other words, it was a Croque Madame without the "croque".

                      Salmon Benedict was ok, except the salmon was tasteless and was rubbery. It was cooked medium-rare, as requested, but I've never had such a flaccid piece of salmon. Thank god for the Hollandaise.

                      The bone marrow app that we shared was pretty good. Good smokey flavor, and the bread was chewy with a good crust.

                      We did enjoy the cocktails, a Manhattan and a tequila mix made with yuzu juice.

                      Overall though, I'm not dying to go back. Probably head to CUCINA enoteca next time I'm at Flower Hill.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: ipsedixit

                        Our meal at Sea & Smoke a couple weeks ago was average at best, and poor for the price point. Total lack of attention for almost all of the dishes. Slow service, wildly overcooked food, odd flavors paired. Not going back.

                        1. re: y6y6y6

                          slow service ? That would be a real improvement to the normally overly pushy service.
                          I also wish they would update the menu at Urban Solace - went there last Friday after about 9 months and all the same dishes still on the menu. It's understandable to have a certain style which is successful but one would hope there would be some variations (within certain limits)

                          1. re: honkman

                            A sign that Matt Gordon is being stretched too thin by his projects...?

                          2. re: y6y6y6

                            I was also there a couple of weeks ago. I didn't get the slow service that you did, or the pushy service that Honkman alluded to. Pretty normal. The food was fine, but not really very exciting.