The dessert list held several temptations, especially the tart of pears topped with cardamom glaze on puff pastry, with almond-paste, vanilla gelato, et al. Many words describe a simple rush of pure pleasure: pears, cardamom, and almonds equals Romeo, Juliet, and Friar Tuck. A float of Maui coconut Porter with vanilla gelato — well, serious beer-bibbers and bibulous Friar Tuck may get off on it. Yelpers like the cheesecake, bread pudding, and affogato (espresso topped with gelato), but our disappointing espressos were too bitter and lacked crema on top.
Easy to see why locals flock to a comfortable, nice-looking, mainly value-priced neighborhood joint offering friendly service and the comfort foods folks crave in tough times. But the late Roseville was so much better, and it didn’t get this degree of neighborhood support. Yeah, the food is good; if no more than good, ample, comforting, and nutritious, but lacking even a hint of inspiration. Would I come back? Not likely. I’d rather try and whip up something more interesting at home.
*Perloo, purlow, or various other spellings, is a regional-dialect variation on “paella” or “pilaf.” It typically includes rice and aromatics, such as chopped onions sautéed in oil and then cooked in chicken or seafood stock, usually with shrimp, sometimes with chicken. Native to the coastal low country of Georgia and the Carolinas, it’s also found as far west as the Ozarks. ■
La Playa Bistro
1005 Rosecrans Street (between Talbot and Upshur), Point Loma, 619-546-9500; laplayabistro.com
HOURS: Monday–Friday 4:00–10:00 p.m., Saturday 8:00 a.m.–10:30 p.m.; Sunday 8:00 a.m.–10:00 p.m.
PRICES: Appetizers, soup, flatbreads, salads, $5–$12; entrées, $10–$28; desserts, $3–$8.
CUISINE AND BEVERAGES: American seasonal comfort foods made with virtuous ingredients. Well-chosen, affordable international wine list, most bottles under $40, plus higher reserve list; lots by the glass, plus craft beers, wine- and sake-based cocktails.
PICK HITS: Piquillo relleno; bacon-wrapped dates, pear tart. Possible good bets: lamb burger on Bread & Cie brioche bun; lamb shank meat with pappardelle; mussels; cheesecake; bread pudding.
NEED TO KNOW: Small room, reserve to avoid long wait. Informal; moderate noise. Small parking lot in back, easy street parking. One vegan, gluten-free entrée, several lacto-veg choices.