Food Reviews by Annie Su
By Annie Su
I hope you were all able to enjoy some of San Diego’s great eats during last September’s Restaurant Week! I had a fun girl’s night out at TOAST Enoteca & Cucina in Downtown San Diego and a triple date extravaganza at The French Gourmet in Pacific Beach. Both restaurants were pretty good, but not mind-blowingly delicious.
Don’t forget to try a new cuisine or two during San Diego’s January Restaurant Week, from January 19-24, 2014 (usually extended through the following week as well)!
TOAST Enoteca & Cucina
It was pretty empty when we arrived on a Thursday night at 7:40 p.m. during Restaurant Week, so I was immediately suspicious. Did we choose wrong? I was pleased, however, that the décor was industrial but still cozy and that our server was helpful and attentive but not overly so.
Their Restaurant Week menu consisted of an appetizer, entrée and a dessert. Our starters:
1) Salciccie e radicchio al forno (sausage, red chicory, red onions, pomodoro sauce, cheese);
2) Crostini al pomodoro arrosto e formaggio (tomato, feta and sage on crostinis); and
3) Pere al gorgonzola (roasted Anjou pears topped with gorgonzola and honey glaze).
The Salciccie e radicchio al forno was jam-packed with flavor and had everyone at the table clamoring for a bite. It was the unanimous favorite. The Crostini was good but not extraordinary. The gorgonzola and honey glaze topping was a perfect complement to the pears but I would have enjoyed the appetizer more had the pears been roasted a little longer.
We ordered the following entrees:
1) Lasagna al broccoli e salcicce (broccoli, sausage, parmesan lasagna)
2) Tagliatelle alla bolognese (homemade pasta, bolognese sauce)
3) Penne pasta with pesto
The first entrée was really heavy on cheese, and my two friends who ordered it had to stop eating halfway through, even though the dish itself wasn’t particularly large. The second tasted exactly like a can of Chef Boyardee. It wasn’t exactly bad, but it certainly wasn’t restaurant quality. The penne with pesto was so, so, so good. I love pesto.
For dessert we shared the panna cotta and the mint chip gelato. Both were so amazing, we may have wanted to lick the plates.
In all, the food was decent and the service was great. I believe their wines were pretty good as well – my friend had two glasses, and she’s a bit of a connoisseur. But for a place that’s truly tasty, head over to Davanti Enoteca – there’s one in Little Italy and another in Del Mar next door to the Cinépolis Luxury Cinemas. Take your significant other out for a nice date and it’ll be a guaranteed night to remember.
Final score: a grudging B+, but only because my entrée was delicious
The French Gourmet
My fiancé and I, along with some friends, made it a point to go somewhere French for Restaurant Week so we could try frog legs for the first time. Do any of you watch the A&E show, Duck Dynasty? We do, and they positively rave about frog legs on the show. They were actually pretty good – kind of like chewier chicken. The appetizer came with a little bit of caviar on the side and it was quite tasty. I ordered the escargot as my appetizer — another first for me — but really could not get over the fact that I was eating a snail. It was smothered in garlic and butter sauce, but I still gave most of it to someone else. My friend ordered the duck pate, which was amazing. I kept asking him for more.
As for the entrees, the veal rack was very tender but did not have enough meat, nor was it very easy to cut. I also felt that it didn’t have enough flavor. The green beans and potatoes au gratin on the side were really good, though. I think the potatoes were the best I’ve ever had. The duck duo was also superb – the crispy one was especially good and the other one was wonderfully flavored. The fingerling potatoes on the side were perfectly seasoned and also had the perfect texture. Finally, the filet mignon and sea bass were also good, but not particularly memorable.
For dessert we had a Napoleon, crème brulee and a fruit tart. The napoleon was super yummy but very messy. The crème brulee was fantastic because it was very heavy on the egg. The fruit tart was good, but not the best I’d ever had because the crust was extremely hard.
The service was decent, but I felt that our waiter was overly familiar and it made me a bit uncomfortable.
Final score: B, but I’d give it a B+ if I had skipped the escargot