Review – Urban Solace – North Park, San Diego

A couple places we eat never need a good reason, Urban Solace is one and here’s why:

Ambiance: This is a great date night/girls night/parents in town kinda place. The outdoor dining area is quaint and its where you’ll find the bluegrass band on Sunday brunch.

Service: The service here is always, always, always top notch.  I believe they’ve realized that meals taste just that much better if you feel taken care of and Chef Matt Gordon does this key aspect of running a restaurant extremely well.

Price: This is not a place you come to pinch pennies. My entree was twenty-one dollars.  Twenty-one exceedingly well-spent dollars.

Refreshing watermelon salad with nice local craft beer in the background

Review: The watermelon salad above, with its feta and pine nuts and pomegranate vin, was really something special as salads go. I’ve had it twice in the last four weeks and it was good both times. For dinner I had the braised beef cheeks with smoked tomato jam.  To get your head around this, imagine a very tender, very flavorful version of a pot roast where the meat easily forks apart and you can see a little of the juice as you pull. The smoky sweet tomato jam may not sound like much right now, but its so good they now pair it with their trademark eat-all-the-time warm cheddar biscuits. Also, I didn’t get a picture of it, but save room for the salted caramel pots-de-creme. It’s a layer of cream, followed by a layer of dark chocolate, followed by a small mason jar full of sunshine (technically a salted caramel custard I think, but you get the idea).

local tip: a massive, well-lit, underutilized parking garage sits basically across the street. Its $1/hour and maxes at $5. The quirk is the entry is on 29th Street so if you come down University from the 805, turn south at 30th, quick right on North Park Way, then quick right on 29th and voila. Do yourself and the neighbors a favor and remove the stress of circling for parking.

Nearby: 30th Street is a haven of great craft beer, delicious food options and funky, inter-generational mixing. If you aren’t sold on the pots-de-creme, cross over to The Linkery for the lardo ice cream sandwich with candied bacon for dessert.

Dinner Lottery: Enter your review of any restaurant in San Diego here for a chance to win dinner for two (including drinks).

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