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

25Forty Bistro and Bakery Is an Island of Modernity

Place

25Forty Bistro and Bakehouse

2540 Congress Street, San Diego




Pissaladière? I know. Sounds dodgy. But trust me, this $3 “snack” is sensational. It’s like a pizza, with a filling that looks like tomato, tastes tomato-ish, but ain’t got a single tomato in it. Or cheese. But it’s the crust, the bread dough, that is sensational. Delicate inside, crunchy outside, and no rubbery pulling contests with your teeth. It breaks off easy. Dang. What a pleasure.

I’m having this frisson at 25Forty Bistro. To be honest, 25Forty is kind of a shock — a black-and-white terraced island of modernity here in Old Town. Everything around it is Mexican-flavored: red tile, cactus, yellow stucco, old wagon wheels, purple bougainvillea drooping in the drowsy heat, while 25Forty has a glass barrier, gray marble tables, glinty metal chairs with black woven plastic backs. It looks like aliens abducted it from downtown’s East Village.

So first I thought: Your wallet’ll never be fat enough to feed this baby. Then I check the prices and, wow. They have “late breakfasts” — yes! — and they’re all seven buckeroos. Cheese omelet with spinach and balsamic vinaigrette; veggie hash with potato, pesto, cheese, and organic egg. Italian sausage with organic egg and roasted potatoes. Even french toast with peanut butter and strawberry.

But the one that gets my attention is the fried rice “with organic egg and sweet soy sauce.” Rice for breakfast? Huh. The Asian way to start your day. Done that before and liked it. Think I’ll have to go in and give this a try.

I also like the fact that this “modern” chowery is actually a li’l ol’ house that they’ve converted.

Up the steps I go, past a guy laptopping at a counter in the breezy shade of the porch. Inside’s just like outside: black and white...including the T-shirts of Federica and Vanessa, the two ladies behind the counter.

“Sit anywhere,” says Federica.

Guess I’ll join the laptopper outside. I take a tall counter seat in his shady patch. Name’s Steve. Says this is the third time this week he’s come here. “Everything’s excellent,” he says. “First time I had the tuna steak [$16], then it was the tuna sandwich [$8], and today I’m having the spinach salad [$8].”

Vanessa, the other server, comes up and leaves a menu card. It lists the “late breakfasts” ($7; they don’t open till 10:00, so there ain’t no “early breakfasts”) and sandwiches (all $8), like the beef, with avocado and tomato confit. There’s a roasted pork with homemade sauerkraut and Dijon mustard, a grilled cheese, a grilled veggie with cream cheese, and the white albacore, an open-faced melt.

Salads (also all $8) include the spinach one Steve’s munching on (with goat cheese, balsamic, mushroom, and garlic chips) and the rocket salad (Vanessa says “rocket” comes from “eruca,” or arugula, the peppery salad green), which has crabmeat with raspberry vinaigrette and poppy seeds.

’Course, I’m set on that fried-rice breakfast. Except, when Vanessa comes back, I have to ask about the $3 snacks. The pissaladière, turns out, doesn’t mean what it sounds like. It’s something about pisces, of course — fish — and usually it’s made with anchovies. “But not here,” Vanessa says. “Too many people don’t like them.” She says the dish originated in southern France and Italy. There’s also a $3 olive mix, a pane-Nutella, and tzatziki with fresh veggies. But, hey, real men can handle pissaladières. I ask for that and a cup of coffee.

And, man, for a $3 snack and $2 coffee? What a presentation! For starters, they’ve got solid knives and forks, a black paper napkin, all laid on a place mat that’s a reprint of page one of a 1785 Times of London. Then the coffee comes in a French press, with a cool-looking coffee cup, along with a tall ex–wine bottle of chilled water. Coffee’s excellent, and my pissaladière disappears like a minnow down a grouper’s throat. Olivey, oniony. Vanessa and her buddy Federica are super-attentive. I feel like a million bucks.

If I weren’t such a glutton I’d call it a day right here. But the Orient beckons. I order up the fried rice and egg, and when it comes, on a big, round, white plate, I puncture the fried egg and help it ooze through the orange rice. One mouthful and I’m getting that sweet soy flavor, plus garlic, chunks of pork, peas, and yellow and green bell peppers. Have to remind myself this is breakfast.

“The house was built in 1917,” says Mark, the chef, and also the owner. He’s come outside for a bit of cool breeze. I ask him about that pissaladière dough. “It has onions, capers, olives, no lard, and two kinds of flour, high-gluten, and pastry.”

Mark’s Italian family comes from New York, but he didn’t want this to be an “Italian” restaurant. Basta with the pasta. “I’m into fusion. The fried-rice breakfast is from seeing what people in Asia ate for breakfast.”

He says his highest-priced item is the “shoulder-briand” (like chateaubriand, but using the shoulder, and cooking it sous-vide — basically in a vacuum — to make it soft and tender). He serves it on a big board and slices it in front of you. Twenty bucks. Enough for two. I’m bringing Carla back for that. Meantime, I haul out the Times place mat, fold it, and jam it in my pocket. Yes, it’s yesterday’s news, but Carla won’t mind. She loves a good read. ■

The Place: 25Forty Bistro and Bakehouse, 2540 Congress Street, Old Town, 619-294-2540
Type of Food: American fusion
Prices: “Late breakfasts” ($7) include cheese omelet with spinach and balsamic vinaigrette; veggie hash with potato, pesto, cheese, organic egg; Italian sausage with organic egg and roasted potatoes; $3 snacks include pissaladière (cheese-free pizza); olive mix; pane-Nutella, tzatziki with fresh veggies; sandwiches ($8) include beef with avocado, tomato confit; pork with sauerkraut, mustard; grilled cheese; grilled veggie with cream cheese; white albacore; spinach salad with goat cheese, $8; rocket salad with crabmeat, $8; entrée specials, e.g. “shoulderbriand” steak, $20
Hours: 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. (Monday, Wednesday, Thursday); 10:00 a.m.–10:00 p.m. (Friday–Sunday); closed Tuesday
Buses: 8, 9, 10, 14, 28, 30, 35, 44, 105, 150
Nearest Bus Stop: Old Town Transit Center
Trolleys: Blue Line, Green Line
Nearest trolley stop: Old Town Transit Center

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

Previous article

Henry Silva’s golden years

“Would you buy a used car from this son-of-a-gun?”
Place

25Forty Bistro and Bakehouse

2540 Congress Street, San Diego




Pissaladière? I know. Sounds dodgy. But trust me, this $3 “snack” is sensational. It’s like a pizza, with a filling that looks like tomato, tastes tomato-ish, but ain’t got a single tomato in it. Or cheese. But it’s the crust, the bread dough, that is sensational. Delicate inside, crunchy outside, and no rubbery pulling contests with your teeth. It breaks off easy. Dang. What a pleasure.

I’m having this frisson at 25Forty Bistro. To be honest, 25Forty is kind of a shock — a black-and-white terraced island of modernity here in Old Town. Everything around it is Mexican-flavored: red tile, cactus, yellow stucco, old wagon wheels, purple bougainvillea drooping in the drowsy heat, while 25Forty has a glass barrier, gray marble tables, glinty metal chairs with black woven plastic backs. It looks like aliens abducted it from downtown’s East Village.

So first I thought: Your wallet’ll never be fat enough to feed this baby. Then I check the prices and, wow. They have “late breakfasts” — yes! — and they’re all seven buckeroos. Cheese omelet with spinach and balsamic vinaigrette; veggie hash with potato, pesto, cheese, and organic egg. Italian sausage with organic egg and roasted potatoes. Even french toast with peanut butter and strawberry.

But the one that gets my attention is the fried rice “with organic egg and sweet soy sauce.” Rice for breakfast? Huh. The Asian way to start your day. Done that before and liked it. Think I’ll have to go in and give this a try.

I also like the fact that this “modern” chowery is actually a li’l ol’ house that they’ve converted.

Up the steps I go, past a guy laptopping at a counter in the breezy shade of the porch. Inside’s just like outside: black and white...including the T-shirts of Federica and Vanessa, the two ladies behind the counter.

“Sit anywhere,” says Federica.

Guess I’ll join the laptopper outside. I take a tall counter seat in his shady patch. Name’s Steve. Says this is the third time this week he’s come here. “Everything’s excellent,” he says. “First time I had the tuna steak [$16], then it was the tuna sandwich [$8], and today I’m having the spinach salad [$8].”

Vanessa, the other server, comes up and leaves a menu card. It lists the “late breakfasts” ($7; they don’t open till 10:00, so there ain’t no “early breakfasts”) and sandwiches (all $8), like the beef, with avocado and tomato confit. There’s a roasted pork with homemade sauerkraut and Dijon mustard, a grilled cheese, a grilled veggie with cream cheese, and the white albacore, an open-faced melt.

Salads (also all $8) include the spinach one Steve’s munching on (with goat cheese, balsamic, mushroom, and garlic chips) and the rocket salad (Vanessa says “rocket” comes from “eruca,” or arugula, the peppery salad green), which has crabmeat with raspberry vinaigrette and poppy seeds.

’Course, I’m set on that fried-rice breakfast. Except, when Vanessa comes back, I have to ask about the $3 snacks. The pissaladière, turns out, doesn’t mean what it sounds like. It’s something about pisces, of course — fish — and usually it’s made with anchovies. “But not here,” Vanessa says. “Too many people don’t like them.” She says the dish originated in southern France and Italy. There’s also a $3 olive mix, a pane-Nutella, and tzatziki with fresh veggies. But, hey, real men can handle pissaladières. I ask for that and a cup of coffee.

And, man, for a $3 snack and $2 coffee? What a presentation! For starters, they’ve got solid knives and forks, a black paper napkin, all laid on a place mat that’s a reprint of page one of a 1785 Times of London. Then the coffee comes in a French press, with a cool-looking coffee cup, along with a tall ex–wine bottle of chilled water. Coffee’s excellent, and my pissaladière disappears like a minnow down a grouper’s throat. Olivey, oniony. Vanessa and her buddy Federica are super-attentive. I feel like a million bucks.

If I weren’t such a glutton I’d call it a day right here. But the Orient beckons. I order up the fried rice and egg, and when it comes, on a big, round, white plate, I puncture the fried egg and help it ooze through the orange rice. One mouthful and I’m getting that sweet soy flavor, plus garlic, chunks of pork, peas, and yellow and green bell peppers. Have to remind myself this is breakfast.

“The house was built in 1917,” says Mark, the chef, and also the owner. He’s come outside for a bit of cool breeze. I ask him about that pissaladière dough. “It has onions, capers, olives, no lard, and two kinds of flour, high-gluten, and pastry.”

Mark’s Italian family comes from New York, but he didn’t want this to be an “Italian” restaurant. Basta with the pasta. “I’m into fusion. The fried-rice breakfast is from seeing what people in Asia ate for breakfast.”

He says his highest-priced item is the “shoulder-briand” (like chateaubriand, but using the shoulder, and cooking it sous-vide — basically in a vacuum — to make it soft and tender). He serves it on a big board and slices it in front of you. Twenty bucks. Enough for two. I’m bringing Carla back for that. Meantime, I haul out the Times place mat, fold it, and jam it in my pocket. Yes, it’s yesterday’s news, but Carla won’t mind. She loves a good read. ■

The Place: 25Forty Bistro and Bakehouse, 2540 Congress Street, Old Town, 619-294-2540
Type of Food: American fusion
Prices: “Late breakfasts” ($7) include cheese omelet with spinach and balsamic vinaigrette; veggie hash with potato, pesto, cheese, organic egg; Italian sausage with organic egg and roasted potatoes; $3 snacks include pissaladière (cheese-free pizza); olive mix; pane-Nutella, tzatziki with fresh veggies; sandwiches ($8) include beef with avocado, tomato confit; pork with sauerkraut, mustard; grilled cheese; grilled veggie with cream cheese; white albacore; spinach salad with goat cheese, $8; rocket salad with crabmeat, $8; entrée specials, e.g. “shoulderbriand” steak, $20
Hours: 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. (Monday, Wednesday, Thursday); 10:00 a.m.–10:00 p.m. (Friday–Sunday); closed Tuesday
Buses: 8, 9, 10, 14, 28, 30, 35, 44, 105, 150
Nearest Bus Stop: Old Town Transit Center
Trolleys: Blue Line, Green Line
Nearest trolley stop: Old Town Transit Center

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

Gerry Braun gives to boss Mara Elliott

Lorena Gonzalez gets $500K from unions to fight Uber
Next Article

Feminist graffiti on Tijuana's cultural center

More visible than a march on city hall
Comments
1

I have eaten here at least 6 times. My favorite is the fresh fettucine with the ragu sauce. The carved beef sandwich and pork sandwich with homemade chips are awesome also. Now the desserts here are incredible, crepes, croisants and the brownies are to die for.

2540 bistro has a very comfortable ambiance, it doesnt break the bank, everyone is friendly and the food is mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm delicious!

Oct. 7, 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 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