Walter Mencken 11 a.m., Nov. 27
Wanton Sandwiches and More at The Promiscuous Fork
The name “The Promiscuous Fork” begs for an explanation. Since this La Jolla/Bird Rock restaurant also has a good-looking menu, it was just a matter of time before my curiosity got the best of me and I headed down La Jolla Boulevard.
Longtime friends Ray Penfield and Craig Sewall, owners of TPF, have operated a successful catering business under the same name for nearly five years, opening the brick and mortar resto just this past May.
The place is tiny, but makes good use of its space, a community table sits in the middle of the room, bar-style seating lines the front and side wall, as well as at the ordering station. The fourth wall allows a nice view into the kitchen, so you can watch the guys cook. The atmosphere is typical laid back Bird Rock.
Wisely, they’ve kept the menu simple, it reminds me of an expanded gastro truck menu. Manager Parker told me that the signature dish, as well as being the item that inspired the catering business is the Grilled Caesar Salad ($6), halved heads of romaine lettuce, grilled over high heat and napped in one of three dressing varieties. Grilled vegetables ($1.50), garlic herb chicken ($3) or blackened salmon ($4) can be added to make a heartier dish.
John beat me to the punch and ordered the Pot Roast Sandwich ($8.50) with a side of coconut jalapeno rice. It was really good, moist, tender shredded beef, beautifully seasoned, with just enough savory gravy to soak into the Amoroso roll. A pungent, tangy horseradish cream and sweet onion jam were perfect complements.
I wondered about the Surf & Turf Grilled Cheese ($10) that combines crab, pastrami, aged white cheddar and provolone on sourdough bread. I could already envision having to type, “the crab was overwhelmed by the pastrami and strong flavored cheeses”. And it did, but only in the middle of the sandwich, where most of the pastrami sat. The crab, which may have been mixed with a little mayo, slid towards the outside edges, where the golden, crispy crusts trapped it, and where the occasional bit of browned cheese lurked to add a caramelized crunch. Very yummy, very rich.
The sides are also well done, made with care and good ingredients. The coconut/jalapeno rice had velvety coconut flavor and just a bit of heat and crunch from tiny bits of chile. Fresh corn salad hit the spot too. The corn was sweet and studded with creamy large beans and red pepper.
There are a few local beers on tap, a handful of wines, and a decent selection of bottled beverages, alcoholic and non.
And the name? According to Parker, it comes from the owners’ wives’ penchant for tasting everyone’s food at get togethers. The ladies have “promiscuous forks”.
The Promiscuous Fork
6984 La Jolla Blvd.
La Jolla,CA 92037
Mon - Thurs: 11:30 - 9:00pm
Friday: 11:30am - 10:00pm
Saturday: 12:00am - 10:00pm