Best Things I Ate This Month: April 2018
Dirty Flat Top Burger at The Friendly, Bolognese Al Forno at Barbusa, and The Queen at Giardino Neighborhood Cucina
Dirty Flat Top Burger @ The Friendly
The place looks like a half-ass diner. The owners cook on a flat top in front of you. They’re friendly. Thus the name. I’d heard good things about the Dirty Flat Top Burger. It costs a whopping five bucks. You can’t make any substitutions. It is what it is. And it’s ugly. A floppy white-bread bun, two thin patties, caramelized onions, a slice of American cheese, and mayo. And holy damn it’s delicious. There’s often a line, and it’s open til 2 a.m. Be inspired, and warned.
4592 30th Street, North Park
Bolognese Al Forno @ Barbusa
The Busalacchi name was the apex of Italian food for decades. Papa Joe immigrated to San Diego in the ‘80s and slayed it with his homeland recipes. Then he opened too many restaurants. The quality sagged. They fell behind. And now, they’ve regained that glory at Barbusa, which is the best Busalacchi restaurant I’ve experienced in years (Joe’s sons are helping breathe new life to dad’s know-how). Try this housemade pasta (which looks like large and fancy SpaghettiOs), with a generous heap of their grandmother’s Bolognese—with beef, sausage, English peas, and three cheeses. Excellent.
1917 India Street, Little Italy
The Queen @ Giardino Neighborhood Cucina
For next month’s restaurant review in San Diego Magazine, I check in at this wildflower in the middle of Lemon Grove’s restaurant desert. Opened by a Sicilian chef (and his wife) who immigrated here five years ago. Not everything’s perfect, but it’s a godsend for the neighborhood, charming as hell, and knocks a few dishes out of the park. Like this pizza. It’s a Margherita pie, the genius of which has always been quality ingredients and simplicity. House-made dough, browned and blackened, marinara, fresh, melted mozzarella and burrata cheese, and a confetti of cut basil. One of the better pies for miles and miles.
8131 Broadway, Lemon Grove