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Nov 30, 2013 08:20 PM

Romesco Baja Med Now Open for Lunch

Per their Facebook page, they will be serving "Tijuana Street Food" for lunch Tuesday-Friday from 12 - 4 not yet up on their website, but will be within a week...could fill the void for me given the sudden and unexpected closing of Los Arcos.

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  1. How is Romesco's these days? Last time i went about 1.5 years ago it was kinda ho-hum. Seemed the menu had changed to more "italian" than mex.

    19 Replies
    1. re: kriot

      They still have both, but I stick with the Baja Mex seafood items and their wonderful caesar salad--the Plasencia restaurant empire started out in TJ with Giuseppi's and then included Villa Saverios,among other restaurants, which I is why I suppose they offer Italian food at Romesco (plus, it was probably added to the Romesco menu to cater to many of the Tijuaneros who ate at these other establishments before fleeing Baja for San Diego last decade during the cartel violence period). I also like Romesco because they offer some tastey Baja wines, such as the Santo Tomas brand.

      1. re: El Chevere

        Why is it that the Plasencia brand is 'hip' while the Cohn brand is 'square?' I'm not trying to be a troll (I really like some of both empires a lot), but why?

        Apologie in anticipo.

        1. re: SaltyRaisins

          Now there's an interesting question...

            1. re: SaltyRaisins

              Valid question. Because Javier is hot and the press is currently in love with the thought of him singlehandedly bringing back the dining scene in Tijuana. The food I have had had at the Plasencia brand has been very good to middling, the food that I have had at the Cohen brand has been middling to poor. Just my humble, opinion.

              1. re: SaltyRaisins

                I've not eaten at Romesco, but as far as the brand goes, Placencia is BETTER.

                Their food is consistently awesome. Flavors are more evolved, technique is food-driven not profit determined.

                I think the Cohns do a great job running their business, and applaud their success.

                But the Placencia restaurants are the BMW compared to the Toyota Camry.

                  1. re: Fake Name

                    I don't know that I'd call the Placencia Groups' food consistently awesome. I've had fair to middlin' food at Ceasars, Mision 19 and Romescos, BUT I have never had a meal that was anything but stellar at Erizo.

                    The difference for me isn't necessarily in the execution of the menus so much as it is the items on the menu are just more interesting.

                    I agree with you 100% about the Cohn's running a great restaurant empire from the business standpoint, and that is something that is highly valued in the U.S. But their menus are stuck in that San Diego syndrome of tried and true, don't rock the boat safety and sameness that haunts 95% of the menus in town. Is there a short rib dish? Check. A burger dish? Check. A fish du jour? Check. Some sort of spinach or ceasar salad? Check.

                    There is a difference in doing business in Mexico and I think it allows the Placencia's more latitude and leeway to take more risks with their food concepts and push the creativity envelope more than is possible NOB.

                    Mision 19 and Erizo are Javier's expression of his food. Some of the other restaurants reflect the family business. Soemtimes their dishes work and are great, sometimes they miss, but they're not usually boring...(Okay, the milanesa at Ceasar's was boring, I ordered wrong)

                    1. re: DiningDiva

                      Latitude and leeway, certainly. But latitude and leeway are the antithesis of good branding.

                      Do I care? Hell no. I enjoy the latitude and leeway as demonstrated in the difference between Mision19 and Finca Altozano. Loved both places, but truly a branding fail.

                      Oh, sorry: #brandingfail. See, I'm a social media expert.

                      1. re: Fake Name

                        Somehow I'm thinking branding wasn't at the top of the list when the Placencia family was conceiving them.

                          1. re: Fake Name

                   mean they *weren't* concerned with trying to come up with a clever fabric name? Or trying on next size in fedoras? (she said as the sarcasm dripped onto the keyboard...)

                            1. re: DiningDiva

                              They got it all backwards. The made the food before the brand and the advertising.

                              Crazy, I know.

                    2. re: Fake Name

                      But I thought the Cohns were in a Lexus dealership not Toyota

                1. re: kriot

                  I think Romesco's is a gem and basically agree with El C's assessment -- food in TJ and in other metro areas of Mexico is much more than burritos and surprisingly (to the uninitated) ethnically diverse. Which is to say, Italian isn't something that's unusual at all (quite the contrary) in TJ restaurants -- even moreso in the Ciudad Grande. I think Romesco's offerings are a reflection of the broader cut of TJ, in other words. I wasn't there 1.5 years ago, but can speak for it more recently, and think you owe it to yourself to drive out to Bonita to check it out again.

                  1. re: kriot

                    Hmmm. This does not cater to what I see is their core client. But maybe that is what they need to do to expand the business.

                    1. re: kriot

                      We eat in the bar and make a dinner out of trying as many of the tasty small plates as we can.
                      I have yet to eat in their main dining area or try any of the larger entrees.
                      Some day!

                      1. re: The Office Goat

                        If there is a small plate/app with octopus on it, try it. I have never had a bad octopus dish from any of Javier's kitchens

                    2. They just posted new "street" menu items on FB.

                      SOME OF OUR NEW ITEMS.....

                      SHRIMP TACO: Chupacabras Pale Ale Batter / pico de gallo / fresh mexican cream / cabbage

                      TAQUITOS DORADOS DE CACHETE: Deep fried beef cheek tacos / tender greens / cotija cheese / marinated tomato and onions / mild salsa aguada / fresh mexican cream

                      CHALUPAS DE LENGUA: Tortilla in mild tomato sauce / beef tongue guisado/ tender greens / Cotija cheese / cilantro / onion / toasted cascabel chiles / fresh cream

                      TORTA DE COSTILLA: Artisan torta bread / slow cooked beef short rib / marinated tomato and onions / tender greens / mustard aioli.

                      TORTA CAESAR’S: Heart romaine lettuce / Tomato / Havarti cheese / red onion / avocado / Dijon mustard / mayonnaise / Caesars dressing.

                      GREEK BURRITO: Grilled Naan bread / cilantro jalapeno hummus / citrus marinated chicken / tomato / red onion / avocado / cucumber / kalamata olives / sweet pepadew peppers / tzatziki

                      ROMESCO THICK & JUICY CHEESE BURGER: 100% Black Angus beef patty / Havarti cheese / red onion / crunchy bacon / fresh ripe tomato / Romesco sauce

                      TIRADITO DE CAMARON CON CALLO: Shrimp and scallops / grilled cucumber, jicama, tomatillo & corn / ponzu / tostadas. “Ask for our aguachile versión”

                      SOUP & SALAD COMBO:
                      Combine any of our salads with your choice of a soup FOR ONLY $10.95

                      AGUAS FRESCAS AND MORE!!!!

                      12 Replies
                      1. re: foodiechick

                        Note to self...time to head south for lunch without having to cross border...

                        1. re: DiningDiva

                          thanks, might check it out this if I could only get my cigars from that island south of Miami without having to cross the border (never mind, different topic).

                          1. re: DiningDiva

                            One of the things I like about Romesco's is the overall "feeling" I get there. Even before the new offerings, it felt like being transported to TJ w/o having to deal with the border. Just the whole aspect of the place. Maybe I was pre-conditioned to think that way by my born-and-raised Chilanga companion who went there before I did and said she got that feeling, but that's how I feel now when I go. I also like the food there and can't agree with FC's assessment that it's midling to poor.

                            1. re: DoctorChow

                              To be fair, that was referencing the Cohen conglomerate.

                              1. re: foodiechick

                                I guess maybe I mis-interpreted your meaning. If so, my appologies. Yes, you were referencing the Cohen group as an entity, not a specific restaurant. But I took that to embrace Romesco's. Wrongly so?

                                1. re: DoctorChow

                                  I said very good to middling at Romesco's. A Caesar salad that was dressed with way too much Worcestershire sauce and an overcooked halibut dish were the only off experiences there. Oddly, while I mention the Worcestershire sauce I am looking at the Caesar Salad recipe from the legendary SF Chef Judy Rodgers who passed away yesterday at the early age of 57. Her famous version does not call for the brown sauce at all...think I will give it a whirl.

                                  1. re: foodiechick

                                    Thanks for clarifying. I'm not familiar with either the Cohen or Placencia groups as such, and guess I got things mixed up in the discussion.

                                    1. re: foodiechick

                                      @FC: Worcestershire is something that can easily be overapplied. Did you have the server prepare the Caesar at your table? Maybe he got distracted somehow and just kept shaking the bottle...

                                      There's no excuse for overcooked fish though.

                                      Glad those weren't your only two experiences there.

                                      1. re: DoctorChow

                                        I'm always a little nervous when younger servers prepare it tableside, so we specifically asked him to go "very light" with the WS. Not a major crime, just not to my liking.

                          2. Horrified that Romesco is sporting a groupon thingie, but might be a good deal:


                            10 Replies
                            1. re: Fake Name

                              That's a sign that they are in trouble.

                              1. re: honkman

                                Thus, the "horrified".

                                But let's not jump to conclusions. I might say:

                                "A Groupon or other heavily discounted offer has often indicated an establishment is desperate for business".

                              2. re: Fake Name

                                I'm not too worried. They have offered the groupon thingie at least once a year the last couple of years.

                                1. re: Fake Name

                                  They've been doing that for years. We actually used the discount coupons the first two times we went.

                                  1. re: Fake Name

                                    Nothing to worry about...they've also offered very good specials on Travelzoo for a number of years as well.

                                    1. re: Fake Name

                                      I bet Romesco’s is only doing the Groupon deal to launch their lunch. It's always so good!

                                      1. re: ChowHound3443

                                        NIce first post there, Chowhound3443! Welcome!

                                        I've noticed there is usually an uptick in restaurant-related discount coupon thingies (particularly for better restaurants) during fall/winter as tourist numbers dwindle and people stay home more during cooler weather. I bought some deals this fall from Barrio Star and Salt & Cleaver. I'll take happy hour prices during lunch hours if a biz is offering it up.

                                        1. re: ChowHound3443

                                          Tremendous opportunity for a wisecrack about "launching one's lunch".

                                          1. re: Fake Name

                                            Certainly is.

                                            Well, I know you wouldn't jump at that opportunity.

                                            Of that I'm sure.

                                            1. re: DoctorChow

                                              I have a responsibility to use my gift in a manner that is worthy of its grandeur.

                                      2. From the Food and Life blog:

                                        "Romesco Mexiterranean Bistro: New Tijuana Inspired Lunch"


                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: Gypsy Jan

                                          Can't wait to try the lunch menu.

                                          Thanks for the link. An interesting site.

                                        2. While we did not sample the new lunch menu (we were there for dinner), I'm happy to report that Romesco's appears to be doing just fine. There was not an empty seat in the house last night, they were even turning people away because there was no room at the bar or in the tapas restaurant for them to wait. Food was very good, entrees included steak, halibut with garlic, beef short rib (which Troy Johnson recently proclaimed as the best in the city) and the Chile en Nogada (Pork tenderloin and beef fillet picadillo with dried fruit and apple stuffed into a poblano chile with walnut sauce). Not sure how authentic or seasonal it is (my first time tasting the dish), but it was very tasty.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: foodiechick

                                            Fairly traditional, but being a restaurant, probably embellished. The traditional picadillo for chiles en nogada does contain both beef and pork and should be finely minced by hand, not ground. The fruit can be fresh, dried or a combination of the two; apple is a common ingredient.

                                            Did anyone in your group happen to order the Mexican Coffee after dinner? It is prepared tableside and includes lots of alcohol and lots of flambe-ing. Friend had it last month and said the whole thing from presentation to the actual beverage was spectacular.