Food of all sorts was priority number one when I accepted my job in San Diego. Following the premature requests to my to-be CSA provider, I made quick business diving headlong into the San Diego food blogging scene. The sites I found then (several of which I now avidly follow) represent a diverse set of interests – from restaurant reviews to travel to the slow food/locavore eating movements – that reflect the intense focus on quality, whole foods driving the San Diego food scene today.
Although I have only met a few in person thus far, the local food bloggers appear to be a friendly bunch and, while I read about the latest and greatest in the SD food scene, I take notes. The list of ‘to-eat’ places I am compiling came in handy when a few girlfriends and I were planning the first (of what I hope will be many) girls-night outing a few weeks ago. Rather than a series of back-and-forth emails filled with halfhearted suggestions, I just forwarded my list and told them to pick. Brooklyn Girl Eatery it was.
(Pear Spot Martini)
Relatively new to the scene, Brooklyn Girl seems more hip then trendy – filled to the brim with a mix of well-to-do clientele of all ages, each having a great time. The bar area was noisy, but not obnoxiously so, and there was plenty of space to pull up a seat, have a beer and watch the game without interfering with the more formal dinner customers in the dining area. An added bonus: the entire bar area was peppered with clever, snarky sayings –a decorative touch I definitely appreciated.
Our party of three arrived a few minutes early for our 8pm reservation on a
Friday night. While we waited, the hostess graciously allowed my request to
take photos and poke around. When we checked in with the hostess again,
this time about 15 minutes after our reservation had passed, she apologized, asked us to wait just a few minutes longer, passed out menus and
offered us an appetizer on the house to compensate for the inconvenience.
Rather than the haughty, self-important response I might have anticipated from a staff that knows their restaurant is on the “it”-list, we received nothing but
conscientious, impeccable service throughout the night.
(clockwise from the top: apple butter, quince paste, a nameless soft cheese
with black truffles, marcona almonds, blue with fleur de sel, brandied cherries, honeycomb, gouda and baguette)
After deciding on the cheese platter and cocktails to start, we
snacked on popcorn seasoned with garlic, parmesan and cayenne while choosing our main courses. Although the menu featured several main-dish salads and flatbread pizzas, we all chose meat heavy entrées, perfect for a rainy, blustery winter night (yes, winter in San Diego, go ahead and laugh).
(New York steak with cauliflower grain, fingerling potatoes and a cabernet
I ordered the steak, which was cooked perfectly medium, as requested. The
cauliflower gratin was creamy, with a hint of pepper, and especially delicious
smothered with the wine reduction. The few fingerling potatoes seemed unnecessary – maybe a small pile of greens would have been better to balance the heaviness of the meat and gratin – but, in all, this was the perfect meal for a stormy night, and a steak so well prepared that I have thought of it several times since.
(Half chicken with baby tomatoes, arugula, balsamic vinegar and olive oil)
The ‘brick’ chicken was also done extremely well, marinated with herbs and
featuring that perfect and rare combination of crispy skin and moist white meat. This dish may have benefitted from some type of substantial starch, but it is a great option if you are watching those sorts of things (despite my best intentions, I never am), and there was certainly plenty of arugula piled high, creating a colorful, vegetal confetti effect.
(House burger with cheddar and bacon, with fries and garlic-mustard aioli)
This burger was the surprising stand out hit at the table. It is easy to order a
mediocre burger for a pretty penny at several upscale bars – this was certainly not one of them. We all agreed that it was one of the better burgers we have ever had out. The meat was well seasoned, the bun was springy and fresh and the addition of a garlicky mustard aioli with the bacon and cheddar easily pushed it over the top into the greatness category.
(Brownie with whipped cream, fudge and salted butter caramel sauce)
Throwing all caution to the wind (and therefore really enjoying a girls’ night out), we went ahead and ordered a dessert, with three spoons of course. It was as a brownie sundae should be – rich, warm, gooey and completely excessive. Along with a glass of bubbles, it was the perfect last bite. On all fronts – food, ambiance, comfort – it is clear that Brooklyn Girl is here to stay, determined to being more than a flash-in-the-pan. Like the rest of the neighborhood we will be back, most likely on the hunt for one of those burgers, washed down with a tall, dark, local beer, hoping to be counted as one of the regulars.
Brooklyn Girl Eatery
4033 Goldfinch St.
(619) 296-4600 for reservations