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BIGA Cucinato A Legno has been on my "hot" list ever since a fabulous dinner with the cousins during last year's Comic-Con. I've visited several times since, including a recent Wednesday lunch sandwich popup with Grand Ole BBQ Y Asado (GOBYA is one of the best BBQs in San Diego)!
The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner as well as weekend brunch but does close on Mondays. There's a gelato and pastries display on the left and freshly baked bread to your right before the line to order. Along the way are huge wood fired hearth ovens which are the powerhouses for the bakery here. My friends had already ordered and sat down while I still had a hard decision in front of me. Which GOBYA collaboration item should I order? There was the LBJ with smoked tri tip, The Peanut with smoked hot links, or the Grand Ole Biga Turkey sandwich...
The LBJ - smoked tri tip, raclette, arugula, crispy onions, ciabatta
This beautiful sandwich was smothered with gooey raclette cheese, which was immediately inhaled along with all of its finely smoked tender meat. I almost finished it all but the leftovers still served a purpose... as a tasty teaser for Dennis who worked too far for lunch. He thought the cheese was a bit strong and overpowering. We do love that bbq meat though so I understand... There's also a loyalty card here and you get one punch per visit.
A bonus on our table was this surprise plate from Chef... Hello gorgeous, melted raclette! Someone said this was "date bread" but my mouth had no objections to whatever it happened to be called! The bread was hearty with a stiff crust and the rich velvety cheese spread made EVERYTHING better.
Seriously, you have to watch this video to appreciate the gloriousness of that cheese. Mercy (Baron's BBQ Beat) is great at commenting too (I would have watched in awed silence)...
Another person had ordered The Peanut (smoked hot link from GOBYA) and couldn't resist chowing down while still hot. Originally it had five half links and more pepperonata but my camera didn't make it in time!
The Italian Stallion | prosciutto, mortadella, capicola, genoa, provolone, the kitchen sink
As for regular lunch sandwiches, I returned to try one of their best selling items, the Italian Stallion, while friend ordered the spicy Calabrian. The Kitchen Sink ingredient was basically lettuce, tomato, mayo, mustard, onions, pepperoncini, pickles and italian dressing so nothing heavy and porcelain! I was also able to pick out a sauce of which pesto was recommended. On that visit, the default bread (BIGA sandwich roll) was a bit on the chewy side but the meats and veggies were fresh and tasty. The sandwich was super filling! I'd choose ciabatta bread for my next visit. Since I'm not into pickled things, the included side of Giardiniera (Italian pickled vegetables) was left alone.
At dinnertime, the menu removes sandwiches and adds pastas. Besides the comicon visit, we also sampled food during SDRW last year.
As an appetizer, we received bread with a side of sun dried tomato tapenade. The fluffy bread reminded me of sourdough without the sour and some edges still had visible salt crystals for that extra oomph. The deep red tapenade was rich and not too salty.
Short Rib Pappardelle (top) | cippolini onions, sweet corn sauce, Casarecce Con Prosciutto (bottom left) | casarecce pasta, prosciutto di parma, Pappardelle Alla Norcino (bottom right) | ruffled pappardelle, italian sausage, sage
The short rib pasta looked amazing with that visual appeal of meat. During SDRW, the temperature was uneven (half warm, half room temperature), which was probably affected by the mass plating but otherwise was absolutely fine during our previous visit. The meal itself was filling and incorporated fatty meat bits and noodles with a great chew. The casarecce con prosciutto had a light cream sauce and it was my favorite, simple and delicious. For the pappardelle alla norcino, crumbly sausage was distributed everywhere, which had a strong fennel taste and hint of spice from the pepper flakes.
Zeppole | local buckwheat honey
I had to look up zeppole, which is an Italian pastry made of a deep-fried dough ball. It reminded us of donunt holes drizzled with some traces of honey. We also tried the cannoli which looked like tiramisu but had softer ladyfinger-like cookie and custardy cream underneath.
Oftentimes, you will see owner and Chef Tae Dickey himself (olive shirt, black hat), taking orders, preparing food, etc. The restaurant was busy on all my visits.
Foodie friend Mary (This Tasty Life) celebrated her big 10 year anniversary there. We've done both lunch and dinner here and BIGA is worth a visit for their delicious Italian food. Even though their pastas and pizza may look simple, it takes skill to pull it off as well as they do. Stop by to check it out for yourself and see what the fuss is about!
BIGA Cucinato A legno
950 Sixth Ave C
San Diego CA 92101