1132 Loma Avenue, Coronado
This is the kind of place where only Beautiful People need apply. Looking in, you expect silk scarves, stilettos with red soles, and people taking phone calls on their Apple watches.
But turns out this expensive French restaurant does have a happy hour, at the bar, five to seven every day. So I head in.
First thing: It feels authentic. We’re in a real old Coronado house. Built right here in 1889. A big French clock from “Antiquité de Paris, 28 Rue Murillo” looks down from the wall. Then one of the French greats, Charles Trenet, on the sound system. Très romantique.
Cheryl the barkeep, on the other hand, is all business. “Happy hour?” she says. “House burger or duck tacos. Four or five dollars off.”
She’s a little vague about the drinks part. It’s “a few dollars off” several drinks.
So I concentrate on those two food specials. The burger has “choice of gruyère or blue cheese, bacon, egg bun, pommes frites, $14.” The tacos have “roasted duck, avocado cream, fontina cheese, spicy sauce, $15.” Happy hour price for each plate, $10.
First decision: I order both specials. Because I need the burger, and I’m totally curious about the duck tacos. Drink-wise, I stick to water.
Turns out they don’t have the egg bun for the burger tonight, so it comes between two slices of sourdough bread. But it is still delicious with the blue cheese and bacon.
The big surprise is the three duck tacos. Truth to tell, I’ve always been disappointed with duck. Cardboardy, tasteless. But in these corn tortillas, the duck meat is totally sexy. I guess it’s that spicy sauce plus the ton of pico de gallo, tomato, and cilantro and onion in there. Really tasty. Nicely messy. And filling? You bet.
As for the burger, yes, $10 ain’t no HH bargain. But I remind myself that ten dollars is exactly what I paid for a burger at a food truck the other day. That was good, but with sidewalk stand-up eating, no silverware, no French songs.
Here, though, the dish I’d come back for is those duck tacos. Even at ten buckos.
Edit: I came back just for a happy hour glass of wine. Turns out it’s $3 off any glass. I went for the cheapest red, a Côtes du Rhone Jaboulet Parallèle 45 from 2012. Sounds a mouthful. And cracking with tannins? Yes. But it’s like a night with a sparky girlfriend. After disagreeing on everything, you start enjoying the sparring. HH price: $5. I ain’t complaining.