Best Things I Ate This Month: November 2016
Polenta and Ragu at Cucina Urbana, Farro and Grape Salad at Herb & Wood, and Poke Tacos at Leroy's Kitchen & Lounge
Polenta and Ragu @ Cucina Urbana
Sometimes you just need a reminder how good something is. That's how I felt at a recent tasting at Cucina Urbana with chef Joe Magnanelli. His polenta with ragu–a 'chef's whim' ragu, which changes with the seasons–is phenomenal. The polenta is made creamy with mascarpone cheese, and the ragu is incredibly tender and delicious, topped with shaved Parmesan atop. While there, also try his prosciutto and ricotta ravioli.
505 Laurel St., Bankers Hill, cucinaurbana.com.
Farro and Grape Salad @ Herb & Wood
Chef Brian Malarkey's had pretty huge success with his new fine-dining showroom, Herb & Wood. But he's always seemed even more excited about the adjacent casual salad-and-stuff bistro, Herb & Eatery. Now it's open, and it's good. The salads are a choose your own adventure, where you can pick salad mixes, proteins, dressings, etc. It's what might happen if Souplantation was run by a good chef. Try the farro, roasted grapes, walnuts, goat cheese, and arugula salad. Excellent, and easily shareable among two people.
2210 Kettner Blvd, Little Italy, herbandwood.com.
Poke Tacos @ Leroy's Kitchen & Lounge
I've been on a search for the greatest hits at some of San Diego's top restaurants, and at Leroy's in Coronado it's definitely the poke tacos. Chef says the natives would revolt if they ever removed them. And it's easy to see why. The wonton shell is good enough to eat on its own, but folded around fresh raw chunks of tuna and just enough soy sauce, it's an excellent Asian riff on the classic San Diego fish taco. The side salad of cucumber and seaweed also sings.
1015 Orange Ave., Coronado, leroyskitchenandlounge.com.