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by mike spradley



SUMMER IS HEATING UP and it’s a perfect time to explore San Diego bay restaurants, to enjoy some of our famous seafood in truly picturesque locations. This month’s food journey started in the South Pacific and ended in Brussels—as in sprouts!

We started another media night with the Rustic

Poblano Corn Soup with spiced popcorn, wonderful texture with a spicy corn chowder taste, $9. Chef added a delicious Compressed Watermelon Salad with Point Reyes blue cheese, cilantro and saba drizzle for $12. I really enjoyed this dish as it was a warm summer’s night and the flavors were a creative dance on the palate. One of the more interesting dishes served was the Duck Confit Quesadilla with mushroom, caramelized onion, Brie and pico de gallo for $16. The dish is very rich and full of flavor. My dinner companion enjoyed the Shrimp and Scallop Ceviche with pickled red onion at $14. For the large plate I recommend highly the Grilled Pork Chop with a red mole sauce, brussel sprouts and goat cheese brioche bread pudding. I have never had such a perfectly prepared piece of pork, $26. Located in the WHotel at 421 W. B Street in Downtown. For more information or reservations call 619.398.3082 or go to

THE UPTOWN TAVERN The newly opened Uptown Tavern was not at all what

BALI HAI The Bali Hai located on Shelter Island, is a blend of fresh seafood

and Asian cuisine from the Pacific Rim. Since 1953 the Bali Hai has served over three million Mai Tais, while offering spectacular views of San Diego Bay. To kick off their recent remodel and new menu, the chef team at Bali Hai put their culinary skills to the test during a hosted media dinner—always a nice thing to see other food writers and compare notes. The night started with passed appetizers, two of which stand out, the Coconut Shrimp with ginger lime dipping sauce and a Spicy Albacore Sashimi Asian Slaw, both flavorful and masterfully presented. The salad course followed with an Asian Cured Salmon and Beet Salad, with arugula, pickled fennel, tofu and Thai vinaigrette—delicious and gorgeous at the same time. The fish and meat courses were both dynamic, the first a Crispy

Ahi Tuna Tower, seaweed salad, tempura asparagus, with a soy caramel sauce, very fresh and flavorful. Next, I found the Char Siu Pork Tenderloin, pickled pineapple snap-peas, to be very inventive with a fresh clean taste. The dishes were served with Thai Brussel Sprouts and Chinese Garlic Noodles family style—the sprouts were a favorite! Located at 2230 Shelter Island Drive. For more information or reservations call 619.222.1181 or go to

KELVIN AT THE W HOTEL The new restaurant concept downtown in the W Hotel is called

Kelvin and was introduced by Executive Chef Kevin Harry, a recent transplant from the W Hotel New York and former chef for the New York Yankees. Kelvin offers a swank ‘60s vibe, while of- fering a modern cozy style and diverse menu options for food and drink.

58 RAGE monthly | AUGUST 2012

I expected it to be. In my mind, I saw a new upscale ham- burger joint, but not so. Uptown Tavern is a true winner for the neighborhood and a guaranteed good time. The chic decor comes with vintage newspapers glazed on the walls and a unique use of community tables.

We began our meal with the Charred Brussels Sprouts with

roasted garlic vinaigrette, chili flakes and Parmesiano Reggiano at $10. I have avoided these little green monsters since I was force fed them as a child, but I must say, I found this interpretation to be deli- cious and full of flavor. I suggest pairing them with the Burnt Ched- dar Mac’n’Cheese, filled with white cheddar, manchego cheese and fresh herbs for $10. The best value on the menu is the Pan Seared Sea Bass; with sugar snap peas, red endive, summer squash, aspara- gus and citrus mint vinaigrette for $15.50. Uptown Tavern offers a brunch, has a wonderful selection of desserts and a bevy of specialty drinks for your enjoyment. Located at 1236 University Avenue in Hillcrest. Welcome to da ‘hood! For more information or reservations call 619.241.2710 or go to


LEI LOUNGE Lei Lounge celebrated their grand re-opening with a media

night and to be honest, I am totally impressed. The cabanas have been replaced with movable booth seating and the walls and ceiling have been covered with an lush green arch, fitted with lights and a video screen centerpiece showcasing imagery from the around the world. Their menu leans towards Asian fusion and I had the opportunity to sample the Purple Sweet Potato Frites with shoyu ketchup and the Fried Spider Soft Shell Crab with spicy mint and eel—both were lovely at $6. Welcome back Lei! For more information call 619.813.2272 or go to

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