It isn’t always that a bunch of people who haven’t seen each other for about 30 years is able to get together, especially since we all knew one another on another continent.
When my friend Cynthia visited from Toronto, she managed to gather some of our old school friends together for Sunday brunch. Cynthia had fond memories of her meal at Chocolat when she visited San Diego on a previous visit and wanted to go back again.
There were 5 of us, and luckily everyone was pretty easy going when it came to menu selection.
We began with baked Bone Marrow ($12.95). Three chunks of bone arrived on a platter with salsa verde, roasted garlic and artisan bread slices.
The marrow hidden within the bone was so gooey and rich and after we lathered it onto the bread with a dollop of the parsley, garlic and caper salsa verde, we bit into it and proclaimed it heavenly! This is a very rich and heavy dish so I highly recommend sharing. Even so, there was a lot of marrow for the 5 of us.
I saw that they had a “mozarella bar pantry” and inquired if they made the cheeses in-house. They do not, but is acquired from an authentic little place in Little Italy I’m told. Oh well, I still wanted some and decided upon the Mozarella Tasting Plate ($11.95) consisting of burrata, buffalo milk mozarella, Fior de Latte cow’s milk mozarella.
Carpaccio and arugula ($11.95) had some parmigiano shavings, capers, extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice and only fared average with me. It was okay, I’ve definitely had better.
The pizza with mission bay figs ($13.95) caught my eye and I should’ve inquired carefully before ordering because I asked the server if they had figs — as it wasn’t in season — and she said yes.
When it arrived, they were dried figs rather than fresh and that immediately changed the flavors on this pizza. I’m not sure the caramelized onions or candied pecans did much to enhance the flavors, but the gorgonzola and prosciutto definitely added a much needed saltiness to the pizza.
Penne with roasted peppers and sausage ($10.95) was under-seasoned and very boring.
In fact, I make a similar dish at home and it is one of the easiest things to do as long as you have good quality ingredients (I get my sausage from Claro’s Market in Tustin) and you don’t overcook the pasta. I hate it when I am disappointed at the simplest of dishes when eating out.
The girls order crepes for dessert and I had a bite — they were okay — but I was already full and not being a fan of crepes made it hard for me to take an additional mouthful.
A pleasant meal even though there were a few hiccups but overall a nice brunch place to hang out as a couple, family or with your girlfriends. The only way I would return is for the bone marrow. That in itself is worth a visit!
3896 5th Avenue
San Diego, CA 92103
Jeff Overley says
Ah, marrow. Seemed like that was the “it” dish for a while, and now I feel like I don’t see it as often. Perhaps I am not getting around enough. Could really go for some this weekend; maybe a swing by Charlie Palmer is in order.
Mad Hungry Woman says
Jeff: I’ve never had the bone marrow at Charlie Palmer, but the one at Animal is pretty good.
holly sarah wong says
Well, at least the marrow was good. What in the world is that sauce swirled on top of the pizza?
Mad Hungry Woman says
The sauce is balsamic vinegar — yeah it’s a bit weird