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

No Bud, No Ketchup

Place

Neighborhood

777 G Street, San Diego




“Life’s too short to drink crappy beers,” says Todd. He’s sipping on his Allagash Black, a dangerous-looking high-octane brew from Maine. But most of the 27 microbrewskis on tap behind the bar we’re sitting at are from San Diego County.

I mention this to Todd. “But of course,” he says, putting his tulip-shaped glass down and taking a forkful of jalapeño mac and cheese ($7). “Do you realize that San Diego has more breweries than any county in the United States? We have 33!”

“For sure,” says this wax-mustached younger guy behind the counter. “That’s how I got interested in all this.” Turns out he’s the owner of the joint. Arsalun Tafazoli. All of 27 years old. “I was at the beerfest in Munich, and I noticed that three of the ten beers voted top in the world [on ratebeer.com, which claims to be the world’s biggest beer contest] came from San Diego craft breweries. Alesmith, Port, and Stone. Yet you never hear about them here.”

“Classic,” I mumble. “Prophets in their own town. Never appreciated.”

“Darned right,” says Mark. He’s the airline pilot to my left, sipping a Stone Levitation, the “best beer I’ve had all night.”

“When I came back to San Diego,” says Arsalun, “I wanted to create a craft-beer place that was less fanatical, less single-minded, where you could also eat. Basic food like burgers, but made better.”

Rule Number 1 here: no Bud Lights, and please, no ketchup, so the cook’s flavorings can come through. A burger joint with no ketchup? That’s gotta be asking for trouble. The right to splot ketchup’s in the Constitution, isn’t it? “It’s okay for you to bring your own, if you have to,” Arsalun says.

This place has been around for a while: My friend Naomi reviewed it a couple of years ago. Mostly, I remember that her

posse’s favorite dish was the steak tartare (read: raw) appetizer and that they couldn’t hear themselves think for the blast of music. But the fact is, each time I’ve passed by, I’ve yearned to come in and try their burgers and beers, just ’cause it looks so damned cozy through the big plate-glass windows. Tonight, I couldn’t hold off. And looks like I came in at the right time. Got the last seat left at the counter.

And I guess they did something about the music. It’s there, but not the blare. Mark the airline pilot is reading the New York Times, sipping his Stone Levitation and snacking on a long plate of olives and almonds (“marinated olives, oven-roasted almonds, citrus zest, and herbs/cherry peppers, $5,” says the menu).

“How is it?” I ask.

“You should really try this beer. I’m from Chicago, and that’s a beer city. But this is outstanding.”

Trouble is, tonight I can’t drink. Have to work, dammit. So I order a Coke. At least it’s Mexican Coke, made the old-fashioned way, with cane sugar. And, yes, it has that sweeter, cleaner flavor.

Food? Hmm… Checking the menu. It’s so danged interesting. ’Specially the “smalls.” They look the size my wallet would approve of. The “pink salted deviled eggs” with “artichoke mousse and paprika dust” are $6; the steak tartare — which I’ve had a thing for ever since Carla forced some down my gullet one night in TJ in 1999 — comes with capers, onion, and a roasted pepper “rémoulade” (mayo-mustard-anchovy mix, I think), for $8. And I’m kinda desperate for the chorizo corn dog with mustard-seed aioli and smoked-chipotle aioli ($9). In the “mains,” I should probably go for the Neighborhood Burger, the flagship item, which looks delicious with a half-pound slab of ground beef, caramelized onions, “blue Gruyère” cheese (whatever that is), and “pepper greens” (whatever they are). It’s $10. But then they have things like poached black mussels ($9), “apple wallie” salad ($9), beer-marinated beef ribs ($14), and even a PB&J stack with three jellies ($8).

About this time Kristen brings out a long plate of steak tacos with different sauces ($10) for Mark. “Not bad,” he says, munching into the first. “Not out of this world, but good, tender.”

I decide it’s got to be a burger. That means we’re down to the Neighborhood ($10), the 777 (with spinach and béarnaise sauce) ($11), the spicy Cajun ($10), the vegetarian beet burger ($10), and the mushroom marsala ($11). I choose the mushroom marsala, because it sounds like it’ll be a little sweet. And medium-rare.

“I always grind my beef the moment before I cook a burger at home,” says Mark. “There’s a night-and-day difference in flavor.”

“We grind our meat here too,” says Arsalun. “Fresh, every day.”

Mine arrives quickly, with plenty of pink in the middle of the whopping patty and a layer of sliced mushrooms, all in a roll that has a great crispy outside. The meat is beautifully fresh-tasting. Yet, for 11 buckeroos, it’s a bit plain. I’m wishing I’d gone for the Neighborhood, after all, with those caramelized onions.

Still, we’re happy campers here tonight. The conversation’s good. Todd and Mark exchange high-falutin’ insights on the brewskis they’re trying. Kristen’s plying them with samples in little tall glasses. Arsalun’s popping in and out of the conversation.

“Bet your parents are proud of you, running your own business at age 27,” I say.

“Are you kidding?” he says. “I was at UCSD, headed for law, when I decided to go for this. My mom said, ‘If you do, I’ll never speak to you again.’ And she didn’t, for a year and a half.”

“Wow,” says Mark. “See? A prophet in his own town.”■

The Place: The Neighborhood, 777 G St, San Diego CA 92101, 619-446-0002
Type of Food: Offbeat pub grub centering on half-pound burgers. Local microbrewery beers, and international wines.
Prices: The Neighborhood Burger 10, The 777 Burger 11, Stone Smoked Porter Braised Beef Ribs 14, The Grilled Cheese 9, Pink Salted Deviled Eggs 6, Steak Tartar 8, Sweet Potato Fries 7, Pale Ale Battered Onion Rings 5, Chorizo Corn Dogs 9, The Neighbors Chicken Nuggets 9
Hours: Open Daily 12-5 for lunch, and 5-10:30 Sunday to Thursdays well as 5-12 Friday and Saturday nights for dinner. The bar is open till 2am all week.
Bus: 30
Nearest Bus Stop: Broadway and 8th Ave

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

Previous article

City expands outreach to vaccine-hesitant communities

Hesitation Nation
Place

Neighborhood

777 G Street, San Diego




“Life’s too short to drink crappy beers,” says Todd. He’s sipping on his Allagash Black, a dangerous-looking high-octane brew from Maine. But most of the 27 microbrewskis on tap behind the bar we’re sitting at are from San Diego County.

I mention this to Todd. “But of course,” he says, putting his tulip-shaped glass down and taking a forkful of jalapeño mac and cheese ($7). “Do you realize that San Diego has more breweries than any county in the United States? We have 33!”

“For sure,” says this wax-mustached younger guy behind the counter. “That’s how I got interested in all this.” Turns out he’s the owner of the joint. Arsalun Tafazoli. All of 27 years old. “I was at the beerfest in Munich, and I noticed that three of the ten beers voted top in the world [on ratebeer.com, which claims to be the world’s biggest beer contest] came from San Diego craft breweries. Alesmith, Port, and Stone. Yet you never hear about them here.”

“Classic,” I mumble. “Prophets in their own town. Never appreciated.”

“Darned right,” says Mark. He’s the airline pilot to my left, sipping a Stone Levitation, the “best beer I’ve had all night.”

“When I came back to San Diego,” says Arsalun, “I wanted to create a craft-beer place that was less fanatical, less single-minded, where you could also eat. Basic food like burgers, but made better.”

Rule Number 1 here: no Bud Lights, and please, no ketchup, so the cook’s flavorings can come through. A burger joint with no ketchup? That’s gotta be asking for trouble. The right to splot ketchup’s in the Constitution, isn’t it? “It’s okay for you to bring your own, if you have to,” Arsalun says.

This place has been around for a while: My friend Naomi reviewed it a couple of years ago. Mostly, I remember that her

posse’s favorite dish was the steak tartare (read: raw) appetizer and that they couldn’t hear themselves think for the blast of music. But the fact is, each time I’ve passed by, I’ve yearned to come in and try their burgers and beers, just ’cause it looks so damned cozy through the big plate-glass windows. Tonight, I couldn’t hold off. And looks like I came in at the right time. Got the last seat left at the counter.

And I guess they did something about the music. It’s there, but not the blare. Mark the airline pilot is reading the New York Times, sipping his Stone Levitation and snacking on a long plate of olives and almonds (“marinated olives, oven-roasted almonds, citrus zest, and herbs/cherry peppers, $5,” says the menu).

“How is it?” I ask.

“You should really try this beer. I’m from Chicago, and that’s a beer city. But this is outstanding.”

Trouble is, tonight I can’t drink. Have to work, dammit. So I order a Coke. At least it’s Mexican Coke, made the old-fashioned way, with cane sugar. And, yes, it has that sweeter, cleaner flavor.

Food? Hmm… Checking the menu. It’s so danged interesting. ’Specially the “smalls.” They look the size my wallet would approve of. The “pink salted deviled eggs” with “artichoke mousse and paprika dust” are $6; the steak tartare — which I’ve had a thing for ever since Carla forced some down my gullet one night in TJ in 1999 — comes with capers, onion, and a roasted pepper “rémoulade” (mayo-mustard-anchovy mix, I think), for $8. And I’m kinda desperate for the chorizo corn dog with mustard-seed aioli and smoked-chipotle aioli ($9). In the “mains,” I should probably go for the Neighborhood Burger, the flagship item, which looks delicious with a half-pound slab of ground beef, caramelized onions, “blue Gruyère” cheese (whatever that is), and “pepper greens” (whatever they are). It’s $10. But then they have things like poached black mussels ($9), “apple wallie” salad ($9), beer-marinated beef ribs ($14), and even a PB&J stack with three jellies ($8).

About this time Kristen brings out a long plate of steak tacos with different sauces ($10) for Mark. “Not bad,” he says, munching into the first. “Not out of this world, but good, tender.”

I decide it’s got to be a burger. That means we’re down to the Neighborhood ($10), the 777 (with spinach and béarnaise sauce) ($11), the spicy Cajun ($10), the vegetarian beet burger ($10), and the mushroom marsala ($11). I choose the mushroom marsala, because it sounds like it’ll be a little sweet. And medium-rare.

“I always grind my beef the moment before I cook a burger at home,” says Mark. “There’s a night-and-day difference in flavor.”

“We grind our meat here too,” says Arsalun. “Fresh, every day.”

Mine arrives quickly, with plenty of pink in the middle of the whopping patty and a layer of sliced mushrooms, all in a roll that has a great crispy outside. The meat is beautifully fresh-tasting. Yet, for 11 buckeroos, it’s a bit plain. I’m wishing I’d gone for the Neighborhood, after all, with those caramelized onions.

Still, we’re happy campers here tonight. The conversation’s good. Todd and Mark exchange high-falutin’ insights on the brewskis they’re trying. Kristen’s plying them with samples in little tall glasses. Arsalun’s popping in and out of the conversation.

“Bet your parents are proud of you, running your own business at age 27,” I say.

“Are you kidding?” he says. “I was at UCSD, headed for law, when I decided to go for this. My mom said, ‘If you do, I’ll never speak to you again.’ And she didn’t, for a year and a half.”

“Wow,” says Mark. “See? A prophet in his own town.”■

The Place: The Neighborhood, 777 G St, San Diego CA 92101, 619-446-0002
Type of Food: Offbeat pub grub centering on half-pound burgers. Local microbrewery beers, and international wines.
Prices: The Neighborhood Burger 10, The 777 Burger 11, Stone Smoked Porter Braised Beef Ribs 14, The Grilled Cheese 9, Pink Salted Deviled Eggs 6, Steak Tartar 8, Sweet Potato Fries 7, Pale Ale Battered Onion Rings 5, Chorizo Corn Dogs 9, The Neighbors Chicken Nuggets 9
Hours: Open Daily 12-5 for lunch, and 5-10:30 Sunday to Thursdays well as 5-12 Friday and Saturday nights for dinner. The bar is open till 2am all week.
Bus: 30
Nearest Bus Stop: Broadway and 8th Ave

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

Critic comedies starring Mel Brooks, Vincent Price, and Bob Hope

Should a critic be forbidden from reviewing a play written by his or her spouse?
Next Article

As New York actress dies, San Diego's e-scooter barons lobby up

La Jollans claim threats by Bird over moving yard-cluttering conveyances
Comments
2

Well, the restaurant information is at least correct here - the digital version (which I presume is a scanned copy of the hard version) lists some sort of pizza place. I was reading this in the digital version and all of the sudden the ending became very esoteric.

May 29, 2010

I think Stone in particular gets plenty of love. My piece of crap local CVS sells three varieties of Stone beer. And ketchup. I like the Neighborhood a lot. But if you're going to have Velveeta mac n cheese (ok, dressed up with jalapenos), you really have no call to get all high and mighty about ketchup!

May 29, 2010

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 — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Drinks All Around — 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