Bankers Hill Bar + Restaurant
I'm the planner type and during my San Diego Restaurant Week research, Bankers Hill Bar + Restaurant caught my eye. Our prior experience with this restaurant is the airport side business providing pre-made sandwiches/salads. Since that is already Dennis's default airport food choice, we had a good feeling about this place. The SDRW menu had so many enticing options that I delayed our reservation by a day to bring extra people to dinner!
The San Diego Restaurant Week $30 pre-fixe dinner menu includes a choice of an appetizer, entree and dessert and is attached at the bottom of the post.
Brandied Foie Gras Pate (+$6.95) / Blueberry Compote, Candied Walnuts, Endive Salad, Grilled Levain
We upgraded to the foie gras appetizer and were rewarded with a generous sized, richly smooth liver paired with a mildly sweet blueberry compote. The buttery bread was the perfect firmness for a base. Side salad was coated with a slightly acidic but blueberry sugared apple vinegar dressing.
Braised Pork Belly "Bruschetta" / Chicken Liver Mousse, Pickled Cucumber, Ginger-Chili Glaze
The pork belly was absolutely delicious, almost like eating actual pieces of thick and savory bacon with punches of flavor. Melt in your mouth goodness.
Ahi Tuna Tostadas / Mexican Papaya & Butternut Squash Slaw, Chili Aioli, Tortilla Crisps
The rare tuna tasted fresh and was complimented by the sweeter slaw underneath. This may have been my favorite of the night because of my love of tuna.
Shrimp & Cauliflower Tempura / Celery Root and Daikon Salad, Ginger-Chili Glaze
The tempura was softly breaded but not seasoned much on its own. Luckily there was a nice tartar sauce and really great bacon tomato jam on the side for dipping.
The restaurant week pricing of $30 is such a deal considering that these entrees alone are typically priced between $18-27!
Black Angus Bistro Tender / Truffled Scalloped Potato, Broccolini, Worcestershire Peppercorn Butter
The table favorites were the steak and chicken dishes. Friend's medium rare steak was soft and cooked perfect with minimal seasoning other than the flavored butter. I have to say that my favorite part was the melted cheesy umami explosion from the scalloped potatoes!
Free Range Chicken Two Ways / Roasted Breast, Fried Thigh, Pepper Jac Mac & Cheese, Chicken Jus
The chicken thigh has a nice crunchiness to the skin though slightly oily while the chicken breast boasted of a well seasoned skin. Both pieces were moist too! Even the spinach was soaked in juices. It also came with this creamy mac and cheese that tasted a bit like pimento to me.
Oven-Roasted Sheepshead Fish / Braised Calamari, Poruguese Sausage, Tomato Ragout, Petite Potatoes
The fish was flaky and mild, surrounded by a super flavorful ragout that added depth to it. The potatoes and even the far end of the broccolini stem were cooked until soft, the way I like it. The squid pieces were a little chewier and were filled with some kind of aioli, forgot the flavor though.
BBQ Braised Pork Tacos / Pepper Jack Cheese, Avocado-Tomato Salsa, Lime Cream
I didn't try the tacos but friend said it had a very mexican flavor, a little sweet and sour and not too dry. The meat was soft and didn't leave an aftertaste. In the end, it was strong but not necessarily an interesting flavor.
Chocolate Hazelnut Crunch Bar / Chocolate Cremeux, Banana Caramel Ice Cream, Praline Crunch
More deliciousness to end the night. This was like a version of my beloved Princess Cake in the mousse aspect. The ice cream had some crunchies underneath which made for an interesting bite. Could I please have some more?!
Butterscotch Pudding / Creme Fraiche, Pecan Toffee, Shortbread Cookies
I am hesitant about butterscotch anything but Dennis insisted we try it anyway. It turned out to be quite good! This dish had a creme brulee texture plus a caramel layer that wasn't overly sweet at all! We spooned the pudding onto the cookie sticks until we ran out!
Meyer Lemon Tart / shortbread crust, basil puree, toasted meringue, frozen lemon mousse
A really strong lemon taste with a slight sour from the mousse made this our least favorite dish. I did like the whipped meringue cookies and the basil puree.
Aged Gouda Artisan Cheese
This gouda was creamy in the mouth and carried a strong flavor you'd expect of a gouda. Even the bread had a nice softer crust with a touch of sweet in it. Plus homemade mustard sauce, nuts and apples! Dennis also urged me taste the olives and pimento that I usually avoid; surprisingly I did like them since they were mild and not too salty. I seriously thought this was just going to be cheese so the entire plate exceeded my expectations.
The restaurant was packed that night. In some areas the tables seem a little more crowded but surprisingly it wasn't too noisy. The timing of dishes were appropriate so that we weren't waiting too long between courses. It's definitely dark in there so a little harder to read the menu but we still managed to pick out some good dishes! We noticed the chicken and beef were pre-cut which actually made sharing really easy. Nothing on the menu was "boring." There was always something interesting listed as one of the ingredients. I was even tempted to order a salad!
I admit it generally takes a couple of weeks, sometimes even months, for a post to get published. This time, I was so enthralled throughout dinner that yep, it's already up! I'm a new fan of this place and hope others will have a similar experience. Restaurant week ends this Sunday so you still have time to take advantage of the SDRW price, but if not, it's still worth a visit. The happy hour menu looks tempting!
Bankers Hill Bar + Restaurant
2202 4th Ave
San Diego CA 92101