A reasonable salad. It’s just not the right choice for a beer venue.
6380 Del Cerro Boulevard, San Diego
KNB Wine Cellars recently celebrated its seventh anniversary, and while I’ve perused the bottle shop a few times and even checked the taplist, it occurred to me I’d never eaten from the restaurant portion of the business.
Having enjoyed great success having lunch at another bottle shop/restaurant, Brother’s Provisions, I went in with an appetite.
This room filled with bottles of beer, wine, and liquor is the reason to visit.
Naturally, I ordered beer first, going local for a Mandarina Pale Ale by Saint Archer. I’d heard rumors the brewery is for sale, so I wanted to order it in public one last time without raising the eyebrows of any local-beer-only diehards.
Lunch proved a more difficult choice, and not for breadth of options. The menu breaks down to burgers, pasta, a couple of seafood plates. and a few salads. Pasta seemed a little heavy for lunch, and a burger seemed too easy — though I could tell by the way my lunch companion devoured his it was good. I figured I could check off the seafood and salad box at once by trying the $12 blackened tuna salad.
I enjoyed my time on the patio. It’s nothing special, just a shady little space next to a parking lot shared with neighbor Windmill Farms. If I’d had enough time to drink a few more beers I might have really enjoyed it. Instead I forked my way through mixed greens topped by seared ahi, cabbage, carrots, roasted corn, avocado, and a simple balsamic dressing.
It was fine. The veggies were fresh, and the roasted corn added some crunch. The ahi wasn’t flavorful on its own, but the blackened seasoning with heavy salt and spice overpowered the vinaigrette. I’d hoped the lemon peel contributing to the citrus notes in the beer would pair well with a salad, but none of it worked as I’d hoped. The salad stepped on the flavor of the beer, which didn’t hold enough citrus to balance the fish.
I guess it was dumb of me to order a salad at a beer-centric spot with a variety of burgers within reach. Maybe the salads are on the menu as a concession to non-beer lovers who get dragged in for a meal.
Bottom line, it filled me up with some much-needed nutrients, but my favorite part of the experience was browsing a great assortment of bottles on the way out. These guys didn’t make it seven years as a salad maker. It’s all about the beer.