Don Bauder 8:30 a.m., Jan. 20
Getting Cheeky at Table 926
Table 926 in Pacific Beach is a very pretty, romantic place. The soothing colors, dark seafoam green against warm honey-colored wood, exposed brick, mood lighting, and soft soundtrack are relaxing and inviting.
Owner and executive chef Matt Richman, a San Diego native, has had previous stints at Pacifica Del Mar, My Place Bistro in La Jolla, and Illume in Little Italy before opening Table 926 in December 2011.
Chef Matt Richman (photo from Table926.com)
Chef Richman has wisely kept his menu small and focused, changing seasonally. The current edition features several roasted or braised comfort foods.
On Tuesdays, all wines by the glass are half price. John and I both ordered a glass of Fogmore Creek Pinot Noir ($6 on special). Great way to begin the evening.
We started off with the appetizer special, Potato and Spanish Chorizo Croquettes ($7).
They were beautifully golden brown, with a tangy mustardy aioli. The inside was creamy and almost liquid, with silky potato and smoky, spicy bits of chorizo, sharpened with a bit of Grana Padano. Delicious.
I ordered the Oxtail Ragu ($18.50) over bucatini, topped with a dollop of lemon-mint ricotta. The ragu had plenty of tender, moist shreds of oxtail in a rich, savory tomato wine sauce. The bucatini was nicely al dente, and the ricotta had a good dose of lemon zest and mint. Stirred into the ragu, it further enriched the sauce and added a pleasant freshness.
John's Glazed Pork Cheeks ($19) were also well executed — three pudgy cheeks, shiny with a guajillo-tamarind glaze, atop braised dandelion greens and polenta. The glaze was just a whisper of sweet, tangy spiciness, a nice counterpoint to the plush meat. The polenta was velvety and smooth, and the dandelion greens provided just the right touch of texture and slight bitterness to keep the dish from being too rich.
For dessert, we shared a Persimmon Tart Tatin ($8). Plump pieces of persimmon were atop a crisp, buttery puff pastry crust, with a scoop of mascarpone gelato and a drizzle of caramel. The persimmons still had a nice firmness, spicy and not too sweet. The gelato was luscious, ultra-smooth and decadent. The perfect ending to a lovely meal.
926 Turquoise St.
San Diego, CA
Tuesday – Thursday: 5pm – 10pm
Friday & Saturday: 5pm – 10:30pm
Sunday: 5pm – 9:30pm
Reservations recommended, especially on weekends.
Very small parking lot, street parking.
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