7406 University Avenue, La Mesa
When Wolfgang Verkaaik, the paid shill reviewer for U-T San Diego, recommends a spot, it’s usually a sign of a place to avoid.
However, his review of Slides managed to pique my interest. It’s a new burger joint in La Mesa specializing in sliders.
No, it wasn’t his excessive hyperbole or pleasant, smiling mug that made me want to try Slides, it was two words: homemade pickles. I figure that if a place is going to make its own pickles it will probably pay attention to other details.
I was right, even if it reduces my credibility by admitting I agree with a man paid to give a positive review — or else!
Slides’ pickles are made with a sweet brine using Persian pickles purchased at Vine Ripe market, a Middle Eastern version of Whole Foods located near Fletcher Parkway and Jackson. The pickles complement the sliders on the menu nicely.
Speaking of sliders: They might seem to be a trend that is played out, but Slides does some great things with them.
I was especially fond of the fish slider, which is made with a Vietnamese whitefish called “Swai.” The fish is half-baked until it's flaky. Then it is chopped up with spices and put on the grill.
It has a delicate flavor that hints of the Vietnamese origins of the fish and the business owner, Minh Nquyen.
The pulled pork BBQ slider has an Asian flavored BBQ sauce and the aforementioned pickles. A lot of meat is packed on the homemade buns. How good are they? My son wouldn’t share.
High marks go for the one vegetarian item: the grilled eggplant sliders. The non-vegan versions have some chipotle sauce on them that adds a touch of heat, and there is a nice hint of soy sauce in the marinade.
The regular beef sliders are, to be honest, nothing special. If I go back again, my order will two fish sliders, one eggplant. Or I may get the pulled pork.
And they’re only $1.93 per slider (combo packs available). Remarkable considering the fish slider could be a signature appetizer at an upscale eatery in the Gaslamp.
Although Slides sells both regular fries and the sweet potato kind, they are just average. They are crispy and served hot, but seem kind of normal compared to the originality and creativity of the fish and the eggplant.
I love fries normally, but what would go incredibly well with these sliders would be an Asian-style cabbage slaw.
Slides is located in a strip mall across from Helix High where other restaurants have died. This one deserves a chance to succeed.