Sometimes when I’m out at conferences or trade shows, I’ll have the opportunity to go out to dinner with some of our customers. The dinners tend to be at a little nicer places, and are a great opportunity to enjoy good food and wine with a business conversation. Usually I just tag along to wherever the sales guy has picked out or wants to go. But this time I was invited into the decision making process… The first suggestion was McCormick and Schmick’s which I tactfully vetoed. Not that there is anything wrong with McCormick and Schmick’s (I love the one on Lake Union in Seattle during the summer). It’s just that they are in quite a few places, and I thought it would be fun to try something that is only in San Diego. So I suggested Donovan’s which has a great reputation for steak, but we had a vegetarian in our midst, so we kept moving. After about 5 minutes we found ourselves standing in front of Blue Point Coastal Cuisine. We checked out the vibe (up beat, nice and fun), and the menu (enough that a vegetarian could survive), and decided we’d walked enough and were ready for a drink.
The initial wait was about 30 minutes which wasn’t too bad for a Sunday night during Halloween and a large tradeshow in the Gaslamp Quarter. We found a spot at the bar, ordered a drink, and just settled into conversation. As we were ordering our second round, our table came open and we all grabbed our drinks and headed over. Conveniently our table was located right at the front of the restaurant where we had a 180 degree view of the street and all of the Halloween goings-on. We really couldn’t have asked for a better spot.
After sitting down, getting comfortable, and checking out the surroundings we took a look through the menu. We decided to order a series of appetizers including shrimp cocktail and oysters. For the main course, on the recommendation of the bartender, I ordered the 60 hour short rib. While waiting for our food, we were presented an appetizer of salmon tartare. It was deliciously simple but flavorful. And, considering that there was a vegetarian with us and one guy that is allergic to fish, I was able to get a couple more bites!
Next up was the appetizers. We had ordered fairly simple appetizers and they were good, but nothing overwhelming. Good oysters, good shrimp. It was one of those things where as long as they didn’t do anything to screw it up, the quality of the food spoke for itself. By this time, I was slowing down on the appetizers and was definitely looking forward to the main course arriving. And when it did, I pretty much stopped talking and just dove in. There is a certain level of expectation when you are told that the short rib you are about to eat has been braising for 60 hours. The first is that it will be incredibly tender. The second is that it will be full of flavor. And this delivered on both accounts. The short rib was so tender that I didn’t even need a knife to get through it. I stuck my fork in and pulled the meat right off, coming clean off the bone. As for the flavor, it was very rich and savory. Combine that with the potatoes and the roasted garlic, and it was a just an excellent, very savory meal. If there was only one complaint, it would be that it was a little overly rich with nothing acidic to cut it.
I took a look at the dessert menu when I was done, but decided against it, opting instead for a cup of decaf coffee. After a little bit more conversation, we paid the bill and headed out into the streets and the costumed masses of the Gaslamp Quarter. I definitely enjoyed my dinner, though when talking to the other guys, they weren’t as happy. Of course, they didn’t go for the 60 hour short rib, instead opting for a steak (which I always think is a mistake unless you are at a steakhouse). It ended up being a great dinner from a food perspective, and from a business perspective. And it is definitely a place that I recommend checking out.