Best Things I Ate This Month: March 2018
Ahi at Oceana Coastal Kitchen, pho at Shank & Bone, and plantains at Pisco
Ahi @ Oceana Coastal Kitchen
Oceana is in good hands. As locals, we know the Catamaran. A classic. Your friends got married there. But a few years back the owners invested big into the signature restaurant, hiring chef Steven Reimer, who’d spent time at the Lodge at Torrey Pines, and as the pastry chef at the Ritz-Carlton. He knows his way around desserts (his banana “pudding” is one of those dishes he’ll never be able to take off the menu), but his sushi program is excellent, too. Try the seared tuna roll with togarashi (Japanese spice). The spice is perfect, delicious, judiciously done.
3999 Mission Blvd., Pacific Beach
Pho @ Shank & Bone
Shank & Bone is a welcome new spot in North Park. The owners (who’ve owned Ebisu Sushi for years) are betting that Vietnamese food is ready for a little gussying up. Sure, you can get a cheap bowl of pho (traditional Vietnamese soup, one of life’s great pleasures, seasoned with star anise and coriander and bones). In lesser restaurants, they won’t use many bones to flavor the stock, or they’ll cheat with bouillon cubes. But for S&B’s signature pho, they use twice the amount of bones, including oxtail, and the deep, rich flavor difference is stark. Yes, it costs more. Good food does.
2930 University Ave., North Park
Plantains @ Pisco
For an upcoming restaurant review, I checked into the Peruvian standout at Liberty Station. Of course you can get ceviches and lomo saltado, but the jaw-dropper is this dessert. Plantains are cooked and then caramelized until they have a near-banana flavor. The caramel is the real killer, flavored with star anise and a touch of orange juice. A bite of those with the scoop of ice cream will set you right.
2401 Truxton Rd., Liberty Station, Point Loma