I drive by Urban Grill in the Gaslamp district quite often whenever I’m in San Diego and often wondered what it was all about, so when they invited me in for a visit, I was keen to give them a try.
The restaurant itself is separated into two sections with one side offering full bar service. The menu has a wide range of options with something for everyone, perhaps to appease the array of tourists who frequent this area.
(please excuse the poor quality of the photos due to low light).
We began with the Gourmet Charcuterie Board ($14), a decent selection including prosciutto, dry sausage, sopressata, bresaola, Tallegio, Port Derby, Cranberry Wensleydale and Gorgonzola cheeses. My favorites (as usual) were the bresaola and Tallegio.
The NZ Mussels and Pomme Frites ($16) were surprisingly good! The garlicky white wine broth which the sauteed green lipped mussels were swimming in was piquant and robust. What was truly impressive was how the French fries remained its crunch even though they were sitting in the sauce for a good part of the meal. My only complaint was that some of the mussels were a tad overcooked.
We were interested to see what the Asian Noodles ($16) were like. Essentially, rice noodles — the ones used in pad Thai — are tossed with sauteed red bell peppers, carrots, snow peas, green onions, celery, baby corn, shiitake mushrooms and bamboo shoots in a slightly spicy peanut sauce. Toasted crushed peanuts are sprinkled over the noodles for a crunch component. A perfect choice for vegetarians and it was very enjoyable to this carnivore as well!
I was a little hesitant about Kale & Corn Stuffed Chicken Breast ($24) but our server highly recommended it. I was concerned that the chicken might be dry, but the sauteed kale, corn and pepper jack cheese stuffed inside helped tremendously. The roasted root vegetables were good but the sauteed Brussels sprouts a little overdone.
The last entree was a special of the evening was a Bone In Ribeye 16oz with Crumbled Blue Cheese ($45). Ordinarily I wouldn’t order steak when there are other things on the menu, but my friend likes meat. We agreed that the meat was prepared a perfect pink and the port wine reduction demi glace, savory and robust. Unfortunately, I didn’t care for the blue cheese which was neither crumbled nor melted. The salamander warmed it to a strange, rubbery consistency not pleasing to me, but I assure you, it tasted far better than it looked.
Service was attentive even though there were quite a few people in the restaurant, including a few large groups. I still can’t figure out what category Urban Grill falls into, but maybe Californian is the best way to describe it.
827 5th Avenue
San Diego, CA 92101