Quantcast
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

High-Class Grub




The jig was pretty much up the moment I opened my mouth.

"Which one will fill me up the most?" I asked.

Not that Will the barman even raised an eyebrow. He probably just figured: OK. Here's our loss leader for the evening.

See, this is at, whoa...Laurel. One of those high-falutin' joints for folks ready to drop a couple of hundred clams for din-dins. It's in this classy, glassy, curvy, blue-green-gray building at Fifth and Laurel, and I'd been hankering to get up here for the longest time because -- what else? -- I'd heard they had a happy hour to cry for. Like really good food for about seven bucks.

I'd left Carla down at the Embarcadero. She was doing a birthday cruise with her girlfriends, and I thought I'd walk up Laurel to Laurel. What could be easier?

Ha! Banker's Hill? Think North Face of the Eiger. By the time I reach the summit -- Laurel and Fifth -- I stagger into the place, gasping like a goldfish.

Everybody looks up as you come down the black-and-white marble steps into this half-underground palace. Is he a player, a somebody in this town? Sorry, folks. You walk around two giant glass water urns that magnify bunches of red roses inside them. Talk about goldfish. Drowning, not waving. And money? Black-clad waiters whisk bottles of champagne around like grande coffees at Starbucks.

I head for the long curved L-shaped bar where the after-work crowd, and people waiting for dates to turn up, and lone wolves like me hang out.

I flop into a tall green-and-white seat. Will comes up.

"Still happy hour?" I croak.

"Till seven o'clock. You have 45 minutes. Are we interested in something to drink, something to eat, maybe?" He points to a long red card labeled "Seven Before 7."

Oh yes. This was what I'd heard about.

There are "Bites" and "Drink." Seven items in each.

The food choice starts with lamby joes (mini-burgers made of ground lamb), today's soup (squash), a bowl of mussels, shrimp falafel balls with a tzatziki sauce to dip 'em in, a seafood salad, short-rib spring rolls, and braised duck and stonefruit flatbread.

Half the drinks are cocktails like dragon's blood sangria (a combination of Bordeaux wine, port, fruit, and Calvados brandy). The other half are wines.

Will looks at me. "Are we ready?"

He needs an answer. I notice other customers stem-spinning their cocktail glasses.

"Uh, got beer?" I ask. "On the program?"

"Oh, no problem. A light one?"

"No. Heavy. More like a stout."

"Perfect. I'm sure you'll like this."

He brings out a bottle of Road Dog stout, from the Flying Dog Brewery in Colorado. He pours it into a long narrow glass. Nice chocolatey color. I take a sip. Oh, yes. Dark, but sweeter and lighter than, say, a Guinness. And, Will says -- guy's got my number already -- only five bucks. And -- free bonus! -- he brings around bowls of edamame for everybody at the bar -- peppery-salty soybeans that you pull out from their skins with your teeth, something to go with the beer. You could fill up on them alone.

So this is where I ask my question. "Will, man," I say. "Don't have a great deal of dinero weighing me down. Which of these bargains is gonna fill me most?"

"Lamby joes," says Will. "No question. You get two. They're so tasty. Shall we go for that?"

What the heck? We shall. Five minutes later, an unter waiter brings out this long white square plate, real elegant, loaded with two mini-burgers. I grab the first and chomp in. Oh. Oh. Oh, yes. Sweetness that the menu says comes from -- what? caramelized fennel? -- and spiciness coming from garam masala aioli (a northern Indian spice mix, seems), plus ground lamb meat instead of beef. It all makes for an addictive, yummy combo.

And, as Will said, two really is filling. Except, now, ten minutes before the happy hour bell, I've got the bit between my teeth. Let's say the fork between my mitts. I order up the other item I've been craving. Mediterranean mussels. Also comes in an elegant white Japanese-looking bowl, with another big one for the shells. But what really comes first is the whiff of the broth. I could swear it's white wine and onion and garlic. But Will points to the menu. "Old Monk super beer broth." Beer it is, along with the onion and garlic, probably. It's worth the seven bucks just for sniffing rights. But it's also worth chomping in, because beyond the moules, down in the soup, little chunks of "Merquez" (Moroccan-style) sausage give it a salty, herby tang. Slices of baguette are great for dipping, but I need a spoon to slurp up every last luscious drip.

I sit back, hoping to catch the buzz around me. Spanish-speaking couple on the right has ordered a hundred-dollar -- is that Clicquot on the label? -- champagne to have with their $7 braised duck and stonefruit flatbread. Damn. Maybe should have had that. It's like a mini-pizza. Duck, blue cheese, arugula, fig purée. Sigh.

But, gotta go meet Carla. Check's $20.47. She'll kill me. Till I tell her there's a lamby joe with her name on it, next time we're on the block and in the black.

"Come again," says Will.

Appreciate the invite. I walk back up the stairs and out into the real world. At least now, I just have to roll down that hill.

The Place: Laurel Restaurant happy hour, 505 Laurel Street, Banker's Hill, 619-239-2222

Type of Food: Mediterranean-American

Prices: Happy-hour choices include lamby joes (mini-burgers made of ground lamb); soup of the day; Mediterranean mussels; shrimp falafel balls with tzatziki sauce; seafood salad (shrimp, squid, mussels, scallop, sauce); short-rib spring rolls with feta, yogurt, onion; braised duck and stonefruit flatbread, each $7.00

Happy Hour Hours: 5:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m. daily

Buses: 3, 120

Nearest Bus Stops: Fifth and Laurel (northbound); Fourth and Laurel (southbound)

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Loco Lopez takes brunch over the top

Cheese-wrapped burrito and donut grilled cheese at OB pop-up
Next Article

Corner Chicken spices up East Village

Tajima team embraces San Diego’s hot chicken moment




The jig was pretty much up the moment I opened my mouth.

"Which one will fill me up the most?" I asked.

Not that Will the barman even raised an eyebrow. He probably just figured: OK. Here's our loss leader for the evening.

See, this is at, whoa...Laurel. One of those high-falutin' joints for folks ready to drop a couple of hundred clams for din-dins. It's in this classy, glassy, curvy, blue-green-gray building at Fifth and Laurel, and I'd been hankering to get up here for the longest time because -- what else? -- I'd heard they had a happy hour to cry for. Like really good food for about seven bucks.

I'd left Carla down at the Embarcadero. She was doing a birthday cruise with her girlfriends, and I thought I'd walk up Laurel to Laurel. What could be easier?

Ha! Banker's Hill? Think North Face of the Eiger. By the time I reach the summit -- Laurel and Fifth -- I stagger into the place, gasping like a goldfish.

Everybody looks up as you come down the black-and-white marble steps into this half-underground palace. Is he a player, a somebody in this town? Sorry, folks. You walk around two giant glass water urns that magnify bunches of red roses inside them. Talk about goldfish. Drowning, not waving. And money? Black-clad waiters whisk bottles of champagne around like grande coffees at Starbucks.

I head for the long curved L-shaped bar where the after-work crowd, and people waiting for dates to turn up, and lone wolves like me hang out.

I flop into a tall green-and-white seat. Will comes up.

"Still happy hour?" I croak.

"Till seven o'clock. You have 45 minutes. Are we interested in something to drink, something to eat, maybe?" He points to a long red card labeled "Seven Before 7."

Oh yes. This was what I'd heard about.

There are "Bites" and "Drink." Seven items in each.

The food choice starts with lamby joes (mini-burgers made of ground lamb), today's soup (squash), a bowl of mussels, shrimp falafel balls with a tzatziki sauce to dip 'em in, a seafood salad, short-rib spring rolls, and braised duck and stonefruit flatbread.

Half the drinks are cocktails like dragon's blood sangria (a combination of Bordeaux wine, port, fruit, and Calvados brandy). The other half are wines.

Will looks at me. "Are we ready?"

He needs an answer. I notice other customers stem-spinning their cocktail glasses.

"Uh, got beer?" I ask. "On the program?"

"Oh, no problem. A light one?"

"No. Heavy. More like a stout."

"Perfect. I'm sure you'll like this."

He brings out a bottle of Road Dog stout, from the Flying Dog Brewery in Colorado. He pours it into a long narrow glass. Nice chocolatey color. I take a sip. Oh, yes. Dark, but sweeter and lighter than, say, a Guinness. And, Will says -- guy's got my number already -- only five bucks. And -- free bonus! -- he brings around bowls of edamame for everybody at the bar -- peppery-salty soybeans that you pull out from their skins with your teeth, something to go with the beer. You could fill up on them alone.

So this is where I ask my question. "Will, man," I say. "Don't have a great deal of dinero weighing me down. Which of these bargains is gonna fill me most?"

"Lamby joes," says Will. "No question. You get two. They're so tasty. Shall we go for that?"

What the heck? We shall. Five minutes later, an unter waiter brings out this long white square plate, real elegant, loaded with two mini-burgers. I grab the first and chomp in. Oh. Oh. Oh, yes. Sweetness that the menu says comes from -- what? caramelized fennel? -- and spiciness coming from garam masala aioli (a northern Indian spice mix, seems), plus ground lamb meat instead of beef. It all makes for an addictive, yummy combo.

And, as Will said, two really is filling. Except, now, ten minutes before the happy hour bell, I've got the bit between my teeth. Let's say the fork between my mitts. I order up the other item I've been craving. Mediterranean mussels. Also comes in an elegant white Japanese-looking bowl, with another big one for the shells. But what really comes first is the whiff of the broth. I could swear it's white wine and onion and garlic. But Will points to the menu. "Old Monk super beer broth." Beer it is, along with the onion and garlic, probably. It's worth the seven bucks just for sniffing rights. But it's also worth chomping in, because beyond the moules, down in the soup, little chunks of "Merquez" (Moroccan-style) sausage give it a salty, herby tang. Slices of baguette are great for dipping, but I need a spoon to slurp up every last luscious drip.

I sit back, hoping to catch the buzz around me. Spanish-speaking couple on the right has ordered a hundred-dollar -- is that Clicquot on the label? -- champagne to have with their $7 braised duck and stonefruit flatbread. Damn. Maybe should have had that. It's like a mini-pizza. Duck, blue cheese, arugula, fig purée. Sigh.

But, gotta go meet Carla. Check's $20.47. She'll kill me. Till I tell her there's a lamby joe with her name on it, next time we're on the block and in the black.

"Come again," says Will.

Appreciate the invite. I walk back up the stairs and out into the real world. At least now, I just have to roll down that hill.

The Place: Laurel Restaurant happy hour, 505 Laurel Street, Banker's Hill, 619-239-2222

Type of Food: Mediterranean-American

Prices: Happy-hour choices include lamby joes (mini-burgers made of ground lamb); soup of the day; Mediterranean mussels; shrimp falafel balls with tzatziki sauce; seafood salad (shrimp, squid, mussels, scallop, sauce); short-rib spring rolls with feta, yogurt, onion; braised duck and stonefruit flatbread, each $7.00

Happy Hour Hours: 5:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m. daily

Buses: 3, 120

Nearest Bus Stops: Fifth and Laurel (northbound); Fourth and Laurel (southbound)

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Covid-19 casts a pall over San Diego political money

Barbara Bry's daughter lends $5000
Next Article

Camila Mendivil: bullied into blogging

The Chula Vista teen makes her fashion statement to inspire others
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer News — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close