My Friends

Arrow Up

Arrow Up
Arrow Down
,
  • Tue
    21
  • Wed
    22
  • Thu
    23
  • Fri
    24
  • Sat
    25
  • Sun
    26
  • Mon
    27
Lester Bangs Memorial Reading Oct 21, 2014 Grossmont faculty and alumni writers, along with special guests, read their original works of poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction in tribute to “America’s Greatest Rock Critic.” In Room 220 of Building 26. 54 other events on Tuesday, October 21
 
Fall Arts
Epic San Diego Museum of Art exhibition promises a textbook lesson in the evolution of modern works
Editorial
Kevin Faulconer’s likely to tack left on sustainability
Film
Adaptation of Patricia Highsmith novel tops our coverage of movies screening around town
News
With few specifics on who they were looking for, officers held the wrong man at gunpoint
Theater
Steve Martin and Edie Brickell’s musical leads our rundown of local plays

 

 
Log in to use your Facebook account with
San Diego CityBeat

Login With Facebook Account

Recent Activity on San Diego CityBeat
 
Home / Articles / Eats / Wandering Appetite /  A very happy hour at Romesco
. . . .
Friday, Sep 14, 2012

A very happy hour at Romesco

Javier Plascencia’s San Diego outpost keeps the soul and wallet happy with an extensive tapas menu

By Marie Tran-McCaslin
appetite(1) Cajeta crepes and churros
- Photo by Marie Tran-CcCaslin

Growing up in L.A.’s San Gabriel Valley, all of the best restaurants were in strip malls. They were large suburban hubs with restaurants and bakeries occupying a series of monotonous buildings. The exterior may have been drab, but the food never was.

Likewise, there’s a wood-paneled Bonita strip mall that’s home to one of Javier Plascencia’s restaurants, its modest exterior belying the chef’s renown. Inside, the restaurant has a different kind of wood paneling, with clean and elegant lines. The formal dining area is adjacent to a bustling tapas bar, startling contrasts separated by a single glass-paned door.

The food at Romesco (4346 Bonita Road, romescobajamed.com) is what general manager Luis Peña calls “Mexi-terranean.” The menu is rife with Italian and Spanish influences and boasts an extensive tapas list. The tapas are as eclectic as the entrées, which feature everything from pasta to paella to chiles en nogada. Torta sliders are available with short rib or cochinita pibil and play on the mini-hamburger by delivering slow-roasted pork on a small grilled roll with aioli and pickled onions.

For a dish that’s just plain fun, there’s Grandma’s Tacos de Fideo. Like something concocted after a lot of drinking, they’re fried tacos filled with fideos (noodles) and are essentially a spaghetti taco with Mexican flavors. Enjoy them with a beer or with one of Romesco’s martinis.

Alex Zaragoza told us about the tamarind martini in CityBeat’s last Drink Issue, and Romesco also rolled out a cucumber martini for the summer. Like the tamarind version, the glass is rimmed with tamarind and Tajín seasoning, and then filled with a crisp mixture of cucumber and vodka.

It isn’t happy hour without something fried; here, there are chinchulines, fried pieces of beef tripe served with salsa verde. Not for the squeamish, it’s specifically a small intestine cut into small tubes. Battered and fried, the texture is perfect, but the dish could have used a little more salt. Going to another part of the bovine digestive system, the cazuelita de lengua en pipian is delicious: slices of beef tongue cooked in a pipian sauce and served with tortillas and a roasted chile salsa. The beef tongue is tender, the sauce is flavorful and it pairs perfectly with a glass of merlot.

Don’t want cow bits, but want something fried? There’s the huitlacoche quesadilla. The tortilla, cheese and corn smut is deep-fried into a pocket of umami goodness. The fungus-infected corn kernels are plump and taste somewhat like a mild mushroom. If you prefer happy-hour fare to be on the lighter side, general manager Peña notes that the ahi-tuna tostada is one of the more popular items on the tapas menu. For a sweet ending, I highly recommend the freshly fried churros or the cajeta crepes.

During happy hour, the tapas menu is half-off at the bar and a separate tapas bar that’s a little bit of a sports bar in a formal restaurant. Seat yourself, order a drink and enjoy a variety of small bites that are served with gorgeous presentation at dive-bar prices.

Write to marietm@sdcitybeat.com and editor@sdcitybeat.com. Marie blogs at meanderingeats.com and you can follow her on Twitter at @MeanderingEats.




 
 
 
 
 
 
Close
Close
Close