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Expensive, and worth it

Just another night at Pamplemousse Grille

A mysterious biker-type guards the kitchen, preserving its secrets
A mysterious biker-type guards the kitchen, preserving its secrets
Place

Pamplemousse Grille

514 Via de la Valle, Solana Beach

Diamond solitaires and pearls glimmer in the dim. A woman laughs loudly, sharing a private joke with the bartender as she orders another $20 glass of wine. A table of attorneys from L.A., fresh from another victory, request a bottle of Screaming Eagle from the sommelier. The waiters have a kind word for all the regulars. The chef walks the dining room, shaking hands and patting shoulders, complimenting guests on their choice of wine.

It’s not even racing season. It’s just another night at Pamplemousse Grille, a restaurant built for those who don’t fear the formidable wine list.

Pete Wells recently shredded Per Se, the NYC Thomas Keller restaurant, in a NY Times review. Now the big question of “Are expensive restaurants worth it?” lingers in the air, a Chanel-scented fart staining decades of contemporary gastronomy.

A particular set of social movers and shakers seem to think that Pamplemousse is worth it. At a restaurant where the check can easily stretch into four-digit territory, that speaks volumes. Grille fans seek the familiarity of a stable menu and the consistency of day-in, day-out excellence — nay, perfection — of cuisine that’s neither cutting edge (because it doesn’t need to be) nor old hat (because greatness never goes out of style).

When so many expensive restaurants act like a TV star with a clever hairstyle and signature catchphrase, Pamplemousse has happily remained the fat old butcher who makes better tartare out of the chain than most people can chop from the tenderloin. If you’re lucky, he’ll share some with you.

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A mysterious biker-type guards the kitchen, preserving its secrets
A mysterious biker-type guards the kitchen, preserving its secrets
Place

Pamplemousse Grille

514 Via de la Valle, Solana Beach

Diamond solitaires and pearls glimmer in the dim. A woman laughs loudly, sharing a private joke with the bartender as she orders another $20 glass of wine. A table of attorneys from L.A., fresh from another victory, request a bottle of Screaming Eagle from the sommelier. The waiters have a kind word for all the regulars. The chef walks the dining room, shaking hands and patting shoulders, complimenting guests on their choice of wine.

It’s not even racing season. It’s just another night at Pamplemousse Grille, a restaurant built for those who don’t fear the formidable wine list.

Pete Wells recently shredded Per Se, the NYC Thomas Keller restaurant, in a NY Times review. Now the big question of “Are expensive restaurants worth it?” lingers in the air, a Chanel-scented fart staining decades of contemporary gastronomy.

A particular set of social movers and shakers seem to think that Pamplemousse is worth it. At a restaurant where the check can easily stretch into four-digit territory, that speaks volumes. Grille fans seek the familiarity of a stable menu and the consistency of day-in, day-out excellence — nay, perfection — of cuisine that’s neither cutting edge (because it doesn’t need to be) nor old hat (because greatness never goes out of style).

When so many expensive restaurants act like a TV star with a clever hairstyle and signature catchphrase, Pamplemousse has happily remained the fat old butcher who makes better tartare out of the chain than most people can chop from the tenderloin. If you’re lucky, he’ll share some with you.

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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
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