Published on September 27th, 2012 | by Mike Scarbrough
Neighborhood Burger & Albondigas Meatball Soup @ Neighborhood Gastropub
Neighborhood Gastropub Review – East Village
The Neighborhood gastropub in Downtown San Diego is one of those restaurants that you don’t forget. Nestled in the cozy East Village area of downtown is a lot of great restaurants, but they are not all of such champion status as Neighborhood. With 27 craft microbrews on tap Neighborhood devotes their menu toward contemporary cooking for the casual connoisseur.
Neighborhood is the edgy, urban joint your mother warned you about. Pancakes and Bacon cookies, Chorizo Corn Dogs, your momma certainly wouldn’t approve, but your belly will. And that my friends, is all that matters. As you peer across the restaurant, you’ll notice the entire back wall adorned with tiny tiles that make out the San Diego skyline. The word “Beer” stitched into the padded booths around the seating area, confirming to your stomach that this is the right place to be. This is the one place that makes me feel like I need to get a “Bacon is meat candy” tattoo on my forearm and rock some skinny jeans, but the great thing about this joint, you don’t need to do any of that. It’s just great food done right. Thoughtfully prepared and conscious of what goes in.
Yes, I know, they don’t have ketchup, didn’t they tell you already? Did you miss the artfully creative painting on the wall of a swirl of ketchup that is reminiscent of a pile of fresh droppings? A pile that looks so fresh and ripe it could have been squeezed from the loins of the god of catsup. The words “No Ketchup” alerting you that they are on to your old, archaic way of thinking. Your stubborn desire for that old stand-by condiment. It’s your old friend and it can’t come along for your gastronomic ride this time. There is no spicy ketchup, no pomegranate blueberry ketchup, no homemade maple bacon ketchup, nothing, get over it chief. Homey don’t play that here.
The Low-down and dirty
The waitress promptly brought over cucumber water, that’s the sign of a good eatery, some kind of herb or vegetable in your glass to cover up the dirt water taste. All restaurants serve dirt water (aka tap water), so I’m always pleased when a cucumber or something more than a lemon is offered.
On the menu was Albondigas (Giant Meatball Stew), “I want that, in my mouth…now” were my words. And in a few minutes, it was literally in my mouth. Amazing how that works. It needed a bit of salt, but beyond that, great flavor and the meat balls were off the wall ridiculous. It was served with crispy tortilla strips to crunch on. Soup with crunch? Oh Hell yeah!
Also on the table was the Neighborhood Burger w/house made chips, caramelized onions/gruyere/blue cheese, arugula and Sweet Potato Fries w/Peppered Malt Mignonette & Goldmine Shaft Cheese. I’m a sucker for sweet potato fries, especially with crumbled herb or blue cheese. Fries were nice and crispy, the insides moist, reminiscent of pumpkin. An unlikely dipping sauce came with these fries, an oil based salad dressing, see the photos. I also drizzled some on my burger. Never though of salad dressing as a dipping sauce but why not, right?
The Neighborhood Burger I’ve had before, meat cooked medium as requested, the blue cheese, arugula and gruyere played very well together, like they were made for each other, almost like traveling to a Shins show on a vintage Vespa! They just go hand-in-hand right?
As my stomach grew larger I began to believe that ordering the pancakes & bacon cookies & milk trio was probably a bad idea, this time.
While the vast variety of microbrews on tap were extremely tempting, drinking at lunch makes me feel like doing absolutely Nothing for the rest of the day. I’ll have to make time for an evening journey of suds and corn dogs.
Jalapeno Mac N Cheese, I’m coming for you! And next time, I’m gonna want some Cocktail!….Ketchup!Neighborhood (Gastropub)
777 G St
San Diego, CA 92101
Neighborhood: East Village – Downtown
Mon-Sun 12 pm – 12 am