Friday, April 8, 2011

Raising the Bar - Banker's Hill (San Diego)

This is where I’d want someone to take me on a first date. Banker’s Hill Bar + Restaurant slung a cocktail of casual and cool, going down with the smoothness of James Dean. A sultry look, seemingly effortless, but somehow you knew endless hours had been spent perfecting this relaxed, bad-boy beauty (a "mussed" see).

Deceptive doors had us groping at small wheels instead of knobs and falling sideways into this saffron-of-the-earth (= salt-of-the-earth + stylish) joint, dimly lit by the Paul Bunion-sized arrow blazing its Operation-esque bulbs.

Janis Joplin was wailing away and the wine glass chandelier tinkled like backup percussion as we were led past dark, wooden tables towards the bar. But Southern Comfort wasn't the special here. Instead it was enough fancy fare to make you feel like a real lady…the kind of a lady that might want to belt out “Me and Bobby Mcgee” while using a duck thigh as a microphone.

Our server, Shell, was laid back, but not to a fault and matched the overall aesthetic. It would be like asking a hippy to hurry up with the bong…some things just can’t be rushed.

Appetizers: (around $7-$12)

Roasted garlic flatbread with Burrata - cucumber, olive, roasted red pepper salad and basil pesto

Artichoke and tomato bruschetta - goat cheese, white bean puree, basil, extra virgin olive oil

Entrees: (around $13-$20)

Duck confit with fruited Isreali couscous, broccolini, mostarda, cabernet jus

Crispy bbq braised pork tacos with pepper jack cheese, avocado, herb lime cream

Housemade semolina pasta bolongese with petite spinach, goat cheese and shaved parmesan

Burger with truffle fries, aged white cheddar, heirloom tomato

Blood orange cheesecake and sorbet - I couldn't get the camera out fast enough before dessert was bludgeoned by our forks.

And forks would be fondled here again. All the swagger was backed up by a confident menu, flawlessy executed while making it look easy (and pretty). Banker's Hill Bar + Restaurant was the best type of bad that knew how to cook.

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