On your next trip to San Diego, stop by Pacific Standard Coastal Kitchen located at Hilton Garden Inn in Little Italy. Helmed by Top Chef alum Giselle Wellman, the restaurant serves up a menu comprising coastal-inspired American cuisine using fresh local ingredients.
The interior is chic yet casual. It is perfect for date night, but also, dinner with the family. You’ll even feel comfortable bringing young kids to dine here.
We started with a few cocktails which we left to the discretion of the mixologist which were aesthetically beautiful, but also, uniquely crafted using components created in-house whenever possible.
We began with Penn Cove Mussels ($14) a bowl of plump mussels bathed in a broth of garlic and shallot confit, white wine, and herb butter. The confit added layers of depth to the sauce and we gladly dipped the accompanying toasted Prager Bros bread (a top notch San Diego bakery) into the bowl, not wanting to waste a drop.
Our second appetizer of Chicken Liver Mousse ($14) is a beautiful plate. The airy chicken liver mousse is delicate on the palate, with a little sweetness from the medjool date walnut relish. Watercress stalks adds a hint of brightness to the fold.
Moving on to entrées, we thoroughly enjoy the robust and hearty Lamb Ragu ($22) tossed with perfectly al dente pappardelle pasta. There is a dollop of burrata which you can mix into the pasta for added richness, but honestly, not needed as the ragu is perfection in itself.
However, it is the Chicken ($22) which blows me away. I am convinced the chicken has been sous vide as it is super juicy and very tender. Of course, I inquire about this and find out that it is pan seared. I am highly impressed by the technique required to achieve this sort of preparation by pan searing. The crispy skin is absolutely delightful! Accoutrements of charred green beans, smashed red potatoes, in a sauce of tarragon beurre blanc complete the plate.
We finish with Chocolate Bar ($8) a cacophony of textures in each mouthful. The peanut butter crunch, paired with Valrhona chocolate, toasted meringue and finished with Maldon sea salt is creamy, crispy, and crunchy, playfully dancing on the palate.
The menu here is simplicity at its best. There aren’t any unnecessary additions to mask the quality of the ingredients, and therefore, allowed to shine on their own. I’ve always maintained that it is harder to cook simple food well, than something elaborate and luxurious. Pacific Standard Coastal Kitchen has confirmed that without a doubt.
Pacific Standard Coastal Kitchen
2137 Pacific Highway
San Diego, CA 92101