Finally had a chance to try the wildly popular Cucina Urbana in Bankers Hill. Sat at the bar 5:15 on a Wednesday eve, which is burger and beer night. Next to me, a couple split a burger and possibly the beer; on the other side a frequent customer raved about the fried squash blossoms and chicken liver paté. I should have ordered the blossoms that came perfectly fried, not a drop of oil to be seen while my fritto misto with vegetables, shrimp, calamari and soft shelled crab bites ($14) was an unfortunate grease plate with a flavorful and not-too-capered mayo dip. One would guess it’s a tale of two fryers: one with the proper oil temperature for deep frying squash blossoms and one that didn’t heat up for the the misto. A margharita pizza serves two with six pieces ($13), a call vodka ($8.50) and the tab was $35 plus before tip. The busy room is packed with “stuff” including a hanging cage (over the bar towards the kitchen) with a couple of faux chickens perched and lots of mixed and not matched chairs. Good bar service, loud room, nice alternative to the Prado if you’re going to the theater.
With all the opening buzz for Small Bar (an offspring of Hamiltons Tavern) in University Heights, Buzz decided to meet a pal there at 6pm for a Friday night after work beer. We didn’t make it in the door. The name says it all: Small, very small, very very loud jukebox music, very popular and as a smoker said while puffing away on the side entry way, “The food is great.” That is if you can find a place to sit and hear yourself talk. Hamiltons, however, is larger, equally as loud depending on who is playing with the speakers, and specializes in craft beers. Check out their event schedule
So, we moved on to Kings Fish House in Mission Valley, sat at the bar, ate a plate of very fresh oysters from New Zealand, Baja and the East coast, beer, and three very tasty small, Tijuana street style fish tacos. And we could hear ourselves talk!