Several years ago, I am browsing through a list of San Diego Restaurant Week restaurants and see Brooklyn Girl in the mix. It is right after a trip to New York City, where my friends and I fall in love with all the little eateries we manage to eat at while we are there. In fact, I still dream about the porchetta slider at the Brooklyn Flea Market — the best porchetta I have ever come across to date. I am still reminiscing about it all these years later.
But back to the story at hand — so when I see Brooklyn Girl, my first instinct is “I have to eat there”. But life has a strange way of detouring and it takes me many years before I am able to visit this restaurant. On a recent trip to San Diego, I finally make my way there.
The restaurant is not the way I imagine. It is a lot larger with a chic, yet quirky interior, a perfect reflection of owner Victoria (and her husband Michael) whom I am lucky enough to have a quick chat with. She is the Brooklyn girl the restaurant’s named after, and you’ll understand the restaurant once you meet her. She reminds me of a modern day bohemian — friendly, creative and warm in nature. Take a look around and you will marvel at the bird cages encasing the chandeliers — an homage to the area Brooklyn Girl is located, with streets named after birds of all kinds. I especially love the school chairs with the Public School district boldly embossed on its back.
The menu is eclectic with Asian-influences here and there, representative of southern California’s melting pot of ingredients and flavors. As we peruse the menu, a bowl of popcorn arrives for us to munch on. There is seasoning on it, but has now escaped my memory.
Fried Rangoon Stuffed Blossoms ($18) is a favorite we are told. The blossoms are stuffed with blue crab, scallions, garlic, ricotta, goat and cream cheeses. The mustard and soy teriyaki sauces are drizzled on top of the “rangoons”. Make sure you share because this is a heavier appetizer and you don’t want to fill up with the other offerings on the menu.
One of my favorite items on the menu is Bacon Wrapped Vietnamese Meatballs ($13). These shrimp and pork meatballs are light and tender. The bacon adds saltiness, but it is the combination of all its ingredients which make these meatballs absolutely delectable. A quick “tiger slaw” adds an element of tartness while the sweet ginger glaze gives it a touch of sweetness. All in all, this is a stellar dish I will order again. I’m happy to eat them with a simple bowl of steamed rice!
Another incredible item is Black Mussel Pot ($18) featuring a melange of Thai flavors including basil, coconut, chiles and lemongrass. So fragrant and aromatic, it is served with fries as well as grilled baguette — Asian moules frites if you will. Ask for a spoon to savor the broth in the pot — I didn’t want to waste a drop of it!
As an entree, we opt for Lamb Sirloin ($29) complete with al dente herbed house-made gnocchi. Crow’s Pass Farms Tahitian squash and Savoy spinach are perfect accoutrements, but it is the mint gremolata and lamb jus I want more of.
We are told the Cornbread & Honey ($8) takes 20 minutes, but it is well worth the wait. The corn bread is prepared with local honey comb and butter — lots of it — and I can taste it with every bite. A little white cheddar sits on top, adding a tad of saltiness. The cornbread is rich and tasty, even better several days later.
Looking for a vegetable? Brussels & Bacon ($8) is so good my dining companion polishes off what I’m not able to eat. Pork lardons, honey, candied walnuts and parmesan cheese come together to make it one of the most decadent side dishes ever.
Although I am not a dessert aficionado, there are three things hard for me to resist. Affogato ($8) is one of them. I expect the espresso to arrive separately, but the one here comes in one big glass — vanilla gelato, espresso, fudge and whipped cream all in one. I don’t need the fudge or the whipped cream, but I eat it anyway. I know it is a bad idea to order this after dinner because the espresso keeps me up all night, but boy what a worthy price to pay.
If you have any leftovers, you’ll take home a package that’s simply delightful. To find out, just go to Brooklyn Girl order too much food, and you’ll find out!
4033 Goldfinch St
San Diego, CA 92103