Since I can't live in France forever (yet.), I'm back to my workaday life in San Diego. I work at a desk all day, come home, and then recline in a Slanket whilst reading about the West Memphis Three. Being home means occasional fun date nights with Jason though, and last Friday was no exception. We decided to try out a new place called The Patio on Goldfinch because I had read that they have their own cheese cave, and that drew me like a moth to a flame.
There is an indoor bar portion with big roll-up garage doors. It was packed full of the Mission Hills "big purse" set.
We were seated out front on the titular patio and it is a lovely setting. There's a living wall on one side and a fireplace (dormant right now for summer) on the other. However, it's a little cramped. One might call it festive and social if they were being generous, but that arm in the picture below belonged to the hostess and we were all up in the comings and goings of other guests for the whole meal. Jason did not appreciate having people constantly clunk around behind him.
He forgot about this somewhat by the time he got his cocktail though. We made fun of the dainty glass, but it ended up being just the right size because it was a very strong cocktail. He reports that it was very well-made.
I had a bit less luck with my drink. The Patio prides itself on its eclectic wine list, so I decided to go for it and order something I'd never had before: a Dry Furmint from Hétszőlő, Tokaji (Hungary). Sometimes trying a new kind of wine can be a revelation, but this just wasn't one. It was a bit like an off Chardonnay (and I HATE Chardonnay).
There is a fairly long and varied small plates menu, so we asked our waiter for recommendations. He suggested around five different things, and we chose three from that to share.
Spanish Octopus: braised octopus, gigante bean ragout, pork belly, pine nut butter, rocket arugula, salsa verde
This was a hard sell to get Jason to try it. He had never had octopus before and is not usually very keen to try new kinds of mollusks. However, our waiter helped me convince him by explaining that they boil the octopus with cork to make it nice and tender and keep it from getting rubbery. Even though google now tells me this is a myth, it was a good enough explanation to make Jason go for it. It was indeed not rubbery, but the real star of this dish was actually the ragout underneath. It was very rich and had a hint of sweetness from the salsa verde. The gigante beans, which can often be a bit hard for my taste, were perfectly cooked. We ignored the arugula because SNORE.
Two if by Sea: crab cake, crawfish cake, kimchee and lemon aiolis, micro greens
Both cakes were perfectly cooked, crunchy on the outside and tender on the inside. However, the crab cake blew the crawfish cake out of the water (ha haaaaaaaa) in terms of flavor. I would have preferred to just have two crab cakes. The kimchee aioli was also the superior of the two aiolis.
Wild Mushroom Risotto: black truffle butter, asiago, white wine, boschetta cheese
Now, my love of truffles is well-documented. So, in the interest of disclosure, I must say that I think MOST things taste better with truffles on them. However, Jason is kind of take-it-or-leave-it about them, and he loved this as much as I did. It was PACKED with mushrooms and had an overall delicious truffley essence. It's not gorgeous on a plate, but it was so good that I want to take it back behind the middle school and get it pregnant à la Tracy Jordan.
SO GOOD. We filled up so well on three plates that we didn't have room to try a key part of the menu, so we will return again for...
- Our waiter, Phil, was a very helpful and cool guy. We appreciated his suggestions and overall friendliness.
- They are reservable via OpenTable. DO THIS if you want to go here. They are super popular already and there was a line just to tell the hostess we had a reservation already.
-They offer inexpensive valet parking, and you'll need it because parking in the neighborhood is tricky. If you don't know how to parallel park very well (*hides face*) you are going to be circling for a very long time. Throw money at that problem and have someone whisk your car away for you!
Verdict: there's room to improve, but deliciousness abounds.
The Patio on Goldfinch
4020 Goldfinch St.
San Diego, CA 92103