Savoring the City

Savoring the City

Posted on Oct. 5, 2015

 

Bertrand at Mister A’s

File this under automatic/no-surprise. A fine dining fixture since before San Diego had any real fine dining culture, Bertrand Hug’s venerable penthouse white linen continues to dazzle, tastefully evolving to stay current while retaining classic French appeal. Pea gnocchi, black truffle macaroni and cheese, and duck with sauces of orange and huckleberry share menu space with traditional escargot, lobster bisque, and bouillabaisse. One thing that will never fall out of favor is a view of jetliners flirting with the downtown skyline. We recommend enjoying that with a flute of Veuve or a citrusy, minty Balboa Smash with Aperol, Beefeater’s and Lillet Blanc. 619.239.1377, bertrandatmisteras.com

Savoring the City

Mister A’s

Coasterra

If you haven’t yet experienced the latest from the Cohn Restaurant Group, there’s zero shame. It hasn’t been around all that long, yet it’s already garnering plenty of praise, enough to be among our top picks behind modern Mexican cuisine with a coastal SoCal bent best exemplified by dishes like scallop and Pacific sea bass enchiladas with smoked poblano cream, and an interesting surf-and-turf of braised short ribs with Oaxacan-style mole and lobster risotto cakes. Throw in a tequila bar plus one of the best views of downtown off the eastern tip of Harbor Island, and there’s plenty of reasons to check out this newbie. 619.814.1300, cohnrestaurants.com/coasterra

 

Savoring the City

Coasterra

Ironside Fish & Oyster Bar

Every workplace-dense downtown area needs a place for the people who work and play in the urban core to knock off after a tough day for a drink and some quick bites. Nothing hits the spot in that arena quite like an oyster bar, and this shucker raises the bivalve bar with thoughtfully sourced, high quality shellfish, including green lip mussels, Baja stone crab claws, and even live uni. Clam chowder, crab cakes, spot prawn scampi, and Oysters Rockefeller warm up the bill of fare with rich, hearty options nicely cut by a rotating craft beer list and cocktails up to par with sister venues Craft and Commerce and Rare Form. 619.269.3033, ironsidefishandoyster.com

Savoring the City

Ironside Fish & Oyster Bar

The Patio on Goldfinch

Aptly, the best dining at this second link in a growing chain of neighborhood casual restos is on the outdoor patio. Not only is it open-air and fashionably equipped with a leafy living wall, but you can enjoy it with rover in tow. He’ll enjoy his very own water bowl and haute doggy snacks, while you indulge in one of the most extensive and diverse menus in all of San Diego. With so many choices, picking favorites is difficult, but we’ll give it a go with three squares — pork shoulder machaca with ranchero sauce for breakfast (with a smoky Mezcal Plumosa for the brunch crowd); grilled cheese with fromage from an on-site, temp-regulated cave for lunch; and uni butter-dressed seafood fettuccine with toasted nori for din-din. 619.501.5090, thepatioongoldfinch.com

Savoring the City

The Patio on Goldfinch

Stake Chophouse & Bar

So, it’s way downtown — as in so far down it’s actually in Coronado. But with big, bold steakhouse offerings this extraordinary, we’re willing to afford a bit of wiggle room to our standard delineation. The meat of the menu is broken up like a bovine diagram — skirt, rib, strip — listing where each cut has been sourced, ranging from Idaho’s renowned Snake River Farm to American Wagyu from Nebraska. The other white meat and a bevy of sea fare (seared ahi, steamed halibut, butter-poached lobster) thin out the herd without sacrificing an ounce of richness. And like any good meat market, there are plenty of refined adult beverages to further up the decadence. 619.522.0077, stakechophouse.com

Savoring the City

Stake Chophouse & Bar

Water Grill

There’s something so primal and satisfying about approaching a giant tank and selecting the crustacean you’ll be dining on. Crabs and lobsters live to serve — or be served — at this luxurious downtown fish house. Prefer to let someone else do the picking? Head over to the raw bar and let them set you up with a variety of fresh-shucked oysters or a platter of chilled rock crab, sea urchin, lobster, clams, and more. Aquatic appetizers and entrées feature touches of Polynesian (bigeye tuna poke), Mediterranean (squid ink pasta with salsa verde), Asian (miso black cod with pork belly) and American (shrimp and grits) culinary cultures. 619.717.6992, watergrill.com   Brandon Hernández

Savoring the City

Water Grill

Photography by Vincent Knakal