The Patio On Lamont Street | Bitter-sweet in Pacific Beach

February 12, 2013

I soo wanted to fall in love with The Patio on Lamont Street... I imagined long walks up Garnet Avenue in the cool summer breeze, enjoying some Manhattans on the patio while snacking on an array of unique tapas.  Located in my neighborhood of Pacific Beach, the restaurant recently opened in November 2012 after completely overhauling the former space occupied by the Lamont Street Grill.  The Patio was to be unlike any restaurant in Pacific Beach.  Not a raucous sports bar, not a locals' dive bar, not a hipster beach bar, but a bar for the more distinguished folk of Pacific Beach with an appetite for something more upscale - something with class, if you will.  But although the interior is beautifully designed and decorated, on our visit, the food and service fell short.  Being so unique to its locale, The Patio on Lamont will certainly get a pass for slight slip ups, and hopefully these growing pains will subside and the restaurant will reign in and refocus its culinary output.  Missteps aside, The Patio on Lamont Street is worth a visit, even if its merely a stop off to take in the the decor and a delicious handcrafted cocktail before an afternoon at the beach.

PB isn't known for the sophistication exuded by the modern garden decor of The Patio on Lamont, so people will naturally gravitate to the new and different.  A living wall of plants decorates the far enclosure of the actual patio, central to the restaurant (and allegedly dog friendly).  A fireplace sits behind the hostess-stand and flickers light through the outdoor space.  Overhead space heaters keep excited patrons warm.  Enter the hip yet sophisticated bar area, where a narrow hall of booths and tables lead to a tiered walk up dining area.  Each space has its own personality, but the patio at The Patio is definitely where you want to be.

Sadly, we were not sat on the patio, but tucked away in the crowded and loud back room, over looking the sprawling, gleeful display through thick paned glass, the coveted cool breeze and warm fire light whisking about the open aired seating below us.  But, c'est la vie.  Our hasty waiter quickly delivered menus and rushed away to satisfy the other beckoning patrons.  We glanced over the somewhat elaborate menu, heard the specials, received encouraging recommendations from the server and ordered in accordance with those.  We are terribly indecisive and absolutely love persuading recs.  The menu is broken down into small, medium, and large plates, and salad.  And so, we ordered the braised beef short rib and the baked, stuffed portobello from the small plates menu and the filet oscar and braised pork shank from the large plates menu.

The braised beef short rib ($10) is a generous slab of meat served atop starkly sweet whipped parsnip, and usually mushrooms and broccolini, as listed on the menu.  I LOVE broccolini (and mushrooms) and think its crunchy texture and pungent tang would have worked well in this dish, but two pieces of soggy and stringy asparagus took its place without notice.  The beef wasn't melt-in-your-mouth tender and would have benefited greatly from salt.  Living in San Diego, we eat a lot of short ribs and know how wonderful they can be.  I'd give it another whirl, mostly because this 'small' plate is a bang for its buck and could easily be a satisfying dinner.

While at first glance beautiful, the baked stuffed portobello ($9) was a measly, thin portobello top stacked with a dry mound of quinoa, topped with sprouts, and dressed with gorgonzola cream.  The gorgonzola cream was the saving grace of this dish whose flavors and textures otherwise failed to unite.  Should have gone with the Cobb salad or beef & bleu flatbread.  The beef & bleu flatbread was THE BOMB at the grand opening (as were the Manhattans)!

The waiter raved about the braised pork shank ($22) and the creamy risotto it was paired with, so we were stoked.  Sadly, this monstrosity of meat and bone sat stiffly in the occassionally crunchy, bacon flavored risotto.  The cracklins that were hidden within the piling of pork were actually delicious, despite their tooth shattering hardness.  And where were the roasted shishito peppers? Were they too hidden amongst the goulash? We inquired with the server who checked with the kitchen and they regretfully informed us that they had run out of the sweet, maybe spicy peppers.  Tease.  I felt misguided and deceived.  

Now, I love me a filet oscar ($26), so I was disheartened when the dish was set before me with two thin filets (was this an attempt at butterflying gone wrong?), one super rare, the other medium well when I had ordered medium rare to rare. Well, if they averaged cook time between the two it would have been correct. Between the meats was a nearly unidentifiable smattering of super finely chopped crab, and, once again, asparagus was thrown over the top where brocollini was supposed to lie.  The rare meat was tolerable, but could have used salt.  The crab was completely inedible, and was actually scraped from the remainder of the elements in an effort to enjoy the dish at all.  I dredged the steak through parsnips and bearnaise and called it a night.  Sigh.

Well, not yet.  I needed to get that crab out of my mouth and my mind so we ordered the recommended molten chocolate ganache cake ($8) served with raspberry couli, vanilla bean ice cream and fresh berries.  Though 'molten' is a misnomer, as the warm ganache didn't actually ooze out of its spongey exterior, the couli and berries brought the sweet and gooey moistness that we craved.  Then, as quickly as we were rushed in to this Oasis, we whisked out. Back to the raucous streets of P.B.

We'll definitely give The Patio another try, more likely than not for brunch or happy hour tapas.

The Patio on Lamont Street is located at 4445 Lamont Street in Pacific Beach.  For more information on The Patio on Lamont Street, visit the website and be sure to follow on Facebook and Twitter.

4445 Lamont Street, Pacific Beach
(858) 412-4648


Mon. - Fri. 11 am - 12 am

Sat. - Sun. 9 am - 12 am

Happy Hour
Everyday 3 pm - 6 pm

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