Jeff Smith 4 p.m., Dec. 20
Breakfast at the Range
It's only been open for around six weeks, but already I can tell that the Range Kitchen & Bar in Hillcrest is going to break the curse of that location it's in.
You know, the restaurant with the super-high ceiling right in front of the Ruby Room on University Avenue? I've seen at least five different businesses come and go in that space, and regardless of their signage or fare, they never last long. But the people behind this place figured something out -- that ceiling was way too high, and people, like animals, need to feel cozy and protected if they're going to hang out, let their guard down, and eat.
By stringing chicken wire back and forth across the room at normal-ceiling height, they managed to create the illusion of a smaller room within the larger space. TV screens are all around. At first, this put me off (I'm not a dine and watch sports kind of girl), but when the manager explained the monthly theater night, and pointed out the large pull-down movie screen on one side, I was all about it. This month they're screening Rocky Horror (and hoping to get the cast from the Old Globe to come by). I hope to make it to a future theater night -- watching classic, cultish flicks en masse is always a blast.
Okay, the food. David got the "potato chip chicken benedict," which came on "artisan bread" that was English-muffin-esque. The benedict was great, but though the potatoes looked like they might have been good at one time, they weren't crispy any more and were somewhat cold.
Our friend Logan got the Hash (corned beef hash and poached eggs), which came with the same sad potatoes, and was, in David's words, "kind of dull."
Terri ordered the San Diego omelette, with onions, spinach, tomato, wild mushrooms, avocado, cilantro, and hollandaise, whew! Again, same potato issue. I didn't taste this one, because it seemed pretty standard, and I was too busy sucking down the scrumdiddilyumptiousness on my own plate.
The mimosas were served in a jar with a twist -- it's actually called the "redneck wine glass," a jar atop a candlestick, and we all admired the concept.
I got the winner on the table and was loathe to share -- potato chip chicken & waffle. Just how it sounds, the chicken is coated in crunchy potato chips (that stayed crunchy), served in tenders atop a flavorful waffle.
We all agreed that if we go back for breakfast, that's the dish to get.
Like Hansel in Zoolander, the Range's concept is so hot right now (cage free, grass fed, craft beer, local wine). I need to go back and check out the regular, non-breakfast menu. Even though I'll probably just end up ordering the potato chip chicken in a basket.