It is a beautiful Saturday and I am in San Diego’s Harbor Island area’s having lunch with some Dames from Les Dames d’Escoffier from our chapter, as well as the San Diego chapter. We are at Coasterra — the latest addition to the Cohn Restaurant Group empire, which also owns, to name a few, Vintana, The Prado at Balboa Park, and Island Prime/C Level located right next door.
The sprawling view spans the entire restaurant, offering breathtaking views of the harbor. It is no wonder the restaurant is completely packed with diners sitting both inside and outside on the patio.
We begin with some cocktails, one of which is Watermelon Fresca ($11), a refreshing concoction using Herradura Silver tequila, lime juice, house-made watermelon puree, Triple Sec, pomegranate syrup, Peychaud’s Bitters, and a pinch of salt.
The other is Amor de Miguel ($12). I don’t know who Miguel is, but if he loves this tamarind-based cocktail with Milage Silver tequila, mango, lime, agave and a Tajin rim, he must be pretty lovable . I’ll love him even more if he tones down the sweetness in this drink, but I do like the overall flavor combinations.
The appetizers soon arrive and we happily munch on Coasterra Guacamole ($10), dotted with tomatoes, red onion, cilantro, cracked black pepper, a pinch of cotija cheese, lime and serrano peppers. I like that the avocados have a rough mash on them, giving the guac some texture.
Chips and salsa are brought to the table, but we also order Fiesta de Salsas – Sampler ($8) which arrives on a wooden board. It is not only beautiful but also quite tasty. There is a smoked cashew & chipotle salsa which is possibly my favorite due to its nutty and smoky flavors. There is white bean hummus; an avocado serrano and tomatillo possessing a tart finish with a hint of heat at the end; a fiery habanero which most are not able to eat, but I enjoy tremendously.
If you like poke, then Ahi Tuna Tostada ($18) is sure to delight. Chunks of yellow fin tuna are tossed in a garlic and sesame glaze seasoned with soy sauce. There is avocado, Spanish peanuts, and a creamy coleslaw topping.
Carne Asada Nachos ($16) is one which will appeal to almost everyone. Adobo skirt steak sits atop crispy tortillas with black beans and a mix of Chihuahua and Monterey Jack cheeses. Poblanos, macha salsa, pico de gallo, guacamole and sour cream act as accoutrements.
While I am not sure that Mussels al Chorizo ($16) is solely a Mexican dish — besides the use of chorizo — I enjoy the plump black mussels and the white wine broth it is swimming in.
My least favorite dish is Carnitas Michoacan ($19). While the presentation is lovely, the pork itself is dry. The Mexican rice and pinto bean sides are decent, but I applaud the nopale ensalada (not pictured) and pickled onions, which add overall brightness to this offering.
We end our meal with an array of sweets, but it is Pastel de Tres Leches ($9) I enjoy most. It is a dulce de leche pudding with lemon curd, milk chocolate and topped with toasted meringue.
Coasterra is THE place to bring out of town guests when you want to WOW them when they visit San Diego. Almost every single seat in the house offers up a spectacular view of the harbor. If you want to sit on the patio, get there early because they don’t take reservations there– only for the dining room.
880 Harbor Island Drive
San Diego, CA 92101