Growing up in U.S.’s finest city, I have easily employed joy and enthusiasm–in this case, noting to those who really know my behaviors–whenever my family or friends and I would leave out of my former Paradise Hills residence to any SD neighborhood, whether it’d be that blue landmark that connects to the Coronado peninsula, or to the then uncrowded outskirts of 4S or Escondido. One of my unexplored territories, still, happen(ed) to be in the western part of Clairemont; if that name sounds familiar, it is one of the major streets crossing the well-known street called Convoy at Kearny Mesa.
Anyway, in this certain region lies an unassuming restaurant–which I’ll explain soon, hold on–where its front exterior somehow blends with these upholstery and home decor-related businesses, if an explorer is not careful to either look for the color-popping, orange sign indirectly called Kitchen 4140 or the numbered address seems to be too easy to miss. To add a bit of insult, a driver oblivious to its back, narrowed parking lot might risk some frustration after speeding through an elongated, worm-like road. How placid could that be?
Assuming that the main route would be from the I-5, exiting at Garnet Ave, picture the virtually convoluted intersections like ones from SF’s Castro, LA’s Crescent Heights craziness, or pretty much the freeway exits and entrances where barely 100 feet are covered to change lanes. The point is, it takes a keen eye and patience just to reach Chef Kurt Metzger’s little Eden. Once parked at its back, a steadfast blackboard stand gives a much easier direction that it can be at-first noticeable to stumble upon their multifarious garden, which I’m heavily postulating that these were intentional for the restaurant ingredients.
“Behind” this garden contains 2 main indoor rooms, one that is the bar seating (where I almost sat), and one that exposes a darkened-lit resemblance of how a large, opulent family will have their holiday dinner,with half of the walls surrounded with a countless collection of blackened-coated wines–except that the proud welcome mat distracted me back to the real world.
The more enjoyable seating option, in such a pulchritudinous Friday afternoon, was to relax under these patio umbrellas colored exactly like its front sign. I ended up being forced nicely to make friends with the bountiful, salad green garden tabled right next to me.
Handed by my lovely waitress was a gross front-and-back menu consisted of the lunch portion, categorized by the usual appetizers, seafood, and sandwiches. With the mental assistance of the same server, one that really stood out with my appetite towards something that my fullness could last more than 4 hours turned out to be the Short Rib Sandwich ($16) with hand cut, semi-skinned steak frites.
Now comes the fun part: telling how ambrosial was this picnic-hearing sandwich, albeit the quality pricing. I find it particularly rare for an impeccably roasted [red bell] pepper bread to be faintly buttery and as flavorful as what were in-between the carbs. Frankly I thought the beer-braised beef appeared to be quite fearfully dry, until the slowly mouthful bite hugged what mattered most, within: succulent, scrumptiously beefy, and plentifully manly that excellently pulled off its soil-grown accessories. Making this more wow-packed in complex harmony were the pickled red onions, tangy Asian slaw, and sweet mango chutney that I became suspicious when I singled out some kind of flowery, lavender-like subtlety. It was, all in all, divine either as is or literally combo with the truffle oil-absorbed fries, plus its house-made ketchup and chive-filled aioli served on the side.
I was trying my best to deliberately save the other cut for leftover dinner, but the “Oh, I’ll walk it off eventually” excuse won this appetizing conquest. In spite of this unexpected incident, with smile-inducing service and atmosphere at this farm-friendly San Diegan edible gem, if patience–again–best describes a future foodie, I wouldn’t mind enduring the stretchy pathways again, which is closer to the Interstate 5 than it sounds, to pursue into dinner, which offers something like the Morimoto-inspired Angry Duck, or Sunday Brunch hours, which includes that lauded sandwich, the Seafood Kitchen Benedict and Red Velvet Waffles.
Chef Kurt, I’m clapping with my hands up towards the azure sky. Bravo.
Overall Grade: A!