Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Brother, can you spare a dime?

Wothwhile deals around San Diego

While the economic, money crunch has turned dining out into a luxury, San Diego restaraunteurs are finding unique ways for patrons to enjoy a night on the town without breaking the bank.

4)Avenue 5 (2760 5th Ave) regularly offers a three course prix-fix dinner for only $30 every evening of the week*. Their happy hour also includes filling treats like Camembert en croute (walnut toast, spiced honey), duck confit (blue cheese, port drizzle) and the 5th Ave burger (pickled onions, aged cheddar) for well under $10 - definitely worth checking out.

*They also design specialty dinners that are a little more pricey, but still give you a bang for your buck. Scotch lovers will appreciate the value of the Macallan Dinner ($75 on Feb 19), which includes four courses matched with different varieties of Macallan single malt whiskey. Colin MacLaggan of Avenue 5 and Victor Jimenez of Cowboy Star will be preparing the feast.

3)Wine Vault (3731-A India St)offers a five course tasting menu every Saturday for $25 (changes weekly.) For an additional $16 they will pair wines with the meal. It's a good idea to get on their mailing list because they are always actively creating weekly inspirations (osso bucco for two at $25 and this week, Pinot Noir battle- OR vs.CA [4 glasses], served with wild mushroom risotto- $26.)

2)Bite (1417 University Ave) is an affair to remember. Clearly one of the best San Diego venues, Chef Chris Walsh is offering a four course prix-fix for $20.09 (Tues- Thurs.)They've included a multitude of tapas from their regular menu, enough to make it hard to choose (onion tart, rock shrimp pizza, pork belly, mussels, lamb meatballs, blueberry cobbler, Grand Marnier gelato, etc.) They've even made a point to specify that they don't mind if customers share this 4 course delight - unheard of! Happy hour (5-7pm) brings wine and an interesting array of bubbly drinks for $4.50 (the elderberry and champagne is divine.)

1) The Better Half's (127 University Ave) $15 Blue Plate Economy Special is definitely the best deal in town. This includes three courses of fine dining with a continuously fresh menu from Chef John Kennedy, who can often be seen roaming the dining room enthusiastically explaining his creations. The ever changing soup is always served table-side and always exquisite (usually a prize at the bottom of the bowl like herb speitzel or julianne carrots.) They only offer half bottles of wine, but have a corking fee of $5 for any size bottle. Not to be missed!

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