Dark and anything but gloomy, High Dive Bar & Grill
1801 Morena Boulevard, San Diego
Nacho pile, High Dive Bar & Grill
There’s nothing like a go-to neighborhood bar that provides great service, a casual vibe, and satisfying pub food. Add 20 craft beer taps and Ballast Point Fugu Vodka on draft and the experience is just that much better. Of course, once you’re accustomed to such comforts, change can be difficult to swallow.
High Dive recently revamped their daily food menu, replacing pizzas with additional sandwiches ($8.50-10.50) and salads ($7.50-9). The burger section appears to be unchanged, perhaps because it has never failed to draw attention. Enter the Spicy Reed ($12), which stuffs a 2/3 pound patty with cream cheese and jalapeños, and the Kraken ($15), which places a 2/3 pound patty between two toasted, Sriracha-infused peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Of course, each is topped with cheese, grilled onions, and bacon, and served alongside an order of fries to ensure total gluttony.
Bread & Cie brioche saves face for this fish sammie, High Dive Bar & Grill
Only trouble is, the recent menu revision stripped the substitution of a veggie patty, which makes the entire mouth-watering burger section unattainable to anyone who wants to avoid beef, and decreases the overall meat-free entrée options to four items. Disappointed and confused by the change, I settled on sharing the High Dive Nachos ($9) and the Cajun Dive Fish Sandwich ($10.50).
The nachos layer melted cheddar and jack cheeses, jalapeños, sour cream, pico de gallo, guacamole, and black beans atop fresh made tortilla chips. The appetizer is generous and savory but doesn’t offer anything unexpected or original. It did, however, balance the malty sweetness of my Rip Current Barrier Reef Nut Brown ($4 during happy hour), which goes down easy with or without a food pairing.
The fish sandwich is served on a Bread & Cie brioche bun, which is a positive addition to the menu that’s used on select sandwiches and across the burger board. The fresh bun surrounds blackened wahoo that is well-seasoned and -grilled, but the provolone, iceberg lettuce, unripe tomato, and tartar sauce didn’t add any depth in flavor to the dish. Perhaps their house-made wasabi or chipotle aioli would have rescued the otherwise bland preparation.
Contrary to the name, the High Dive doesn’t fall into the quintessential dive bar category — no wood paneling, pleather-lined booths, or windowless interiors here. It’s self-classified as a “high class dive bar” and is geared more towards a beachy sports bar with plenty of TVs, pinball machines, jukebox, and outdoor patio.