It is the week San Diego chefs and restaurateurs love to hate: San Diego Restaurant Week. On the one hand, there it offers a real potential benefit: low prices on prix fixe lunch or dinner menus drop diners’ barriers to trying restaurants thus exposing what the restaurant to new customers. On the other hand, those menus rarely if ever show the best the restaurant has to offer. And that’s not even mentioning the economics of the thing. Truth be told: they hate it more than they love it.
Diners? That’s a different story. Restaurant Week gives them discounted access to 180 restaurants over eight days spread across the twelve regions around the County, from South County through downtown to North County and from the Point Loma and the beaches all the way inland.
Starting on January 17th and running through January 24th, participating restaurants will offer special two and three-course, prix fixe menus for lunch and/or dinner. Two-course lunch menus are priced at $10, $15 or $20 per person, while three-course dinner menus are priced at $20, $30, $40 and $50 per person. The cuisines represented on the San Diego Restaurant Week list range from fast casual to fine dining and an array of ethnic cuisines.
Take, for example, JRDN at Tower23 Hotel at 723 Felspar Street in Pacific Beach. For $50, Chef DJ Tangalin and JRDN are offering a three-course tasting menu highlighted by Steamed Mussels appetizers, a Red Wine Braised Beef Cheeks main and a Chocolate Flourless Cake dessert (or, at least, that’s what I’d order). I will be trying the $15 two course lunch at Galaxy Taco featuring their taste on a similar appetizer, Michelada Steamed Mussels, and a choice of two of six taco choices (with some further options for a slight add-on price).
A bane for chefs may be a boon for you. No doubt a Restaurant Week dining experience is not the full experience of a restaurant, its chef and its staff putting its best foot forward (or even its every day foot forward) but it remains a rare opportunity to experience som of what they have to offer for less.