More Than Meets the Eye at Bay Park’s Offshore Tavern and Grill

May 28, 2011

With the curb appeal of a neighborhood tavern, the interior attributes of a sports bar, and the food quality of a high-end gastro pub, the Offshore Tavern and Grill is a comfortable place worthy of a trip to Bay Park.

At first glance, Offshore Tavern looks like many local-only bars. The exterior is somewhat simple and unadorned, and the tinted windows make it difficult to see what's going on inside, but don't judge this book by its cover. The energy that flows through the restaurant will likely spark your appetite. The woody interior is reminiscent of a lodge, but with more than 20 flat-screen plasma TVs and all kinds of sports packages, it brings in fans eager to watch their favorite team. For those not glued to a game, a Nintendo Wii and various board games are available to entertain both you and the kids, if you happen to bring any.

Chef Kevin Templeton runs his kitchen according to the ever-more-popular concept that food should be fresh, organic and natural. He insists upon both natural "never-ever" meats (which never are given hormones or antibiotics) and local and sustainable produce, choosing organic whenever possible. Templeton incorporates his diverse culinary past into Offshore Tavern's upscale, bar food present by giving clean, classy twists to a menu of tavern favorites. Working with consulting chef Matt Gordon of Urban Solace in North Park, Templeton's menu has been updated but remains "under construction" as the pair incorporates new dishes and flavors.

The ahi poke appetizer builds upon a generous mound of tender, sushi grade ahi, garnished with green onions and creamy avocado slices. Lightly dressed with soy sauce and sesame oil, the portion is served with wonton "chips," which supply the necessary crunch ($10/$8 Happy Hour). A fried calamari roulette is a mix of fried squid rings and tentacles spiked with super-spicy battered chiles and a duo of dipping sauces: a house-made habanero jelly that is to die for (and you might feel like you have, if you over-indulge), since it combines sweetness with a robust kick of heat that may tantalize even the faint of heart (but not everybody. A refreshingly light cucumber-cucumber-lime sour cream dressing cools the dish ($9/$7 Happy Hour). We learned that we're not the first diners to tell the chef to bottle and sell his delectable habanero jelly!

The carne asada mac 'n' cheese, labeled a "specialty plate," spun a welcome Mexican twist on a classic comfort food. A bowl of creamy, cheesy fussili (it seemed to swim in cheese) was accompanied by chunks of tender carne asada, spicy salsa, sour cream and cilantro, and was topped with contrastingly crisp tortilla crumbs ($10). We fondly coined the term 'nacho pasta,' as tortilla chips were supplanted by macaroni.

Of the ample selection of burgers, sandwiches, and wraps, we chose our all-time East Coast favorite, a cheesesteak given a bright San Diego accent. The healthy serving of shaved rib-eye was fried with jalapenos, onions and mushrooms, smothered in spicy pepper Jack sauce and guacamole, and served on a perfectly soft, finely crusty Amoroso roll. With a choice of fries or tots, it cost $11. By pairing it with one of the more than thirty draft and bottled brews (Escondido's Stone IPA on this occasion), we found that we don't miss Philly at all. Enough said.

So whether your crew is craving burgers and beers, salad and wine, or a couple of discounted appetizers during happy hour, make your way over to Offshore Tavern and become part of the family! With a daily happy hour, live music on Friday and Saturday nights and extremely reasonable regular prices, you may want to join the neighborhood regulars who make this place a second home.

2253 Morena Boulevard, Bay Park
(619) 276-2253


Mon. – Sat. 11 a.m. til Close (2 a.m. at the latest) Food served til approximately 11 p.m.
Sun. 10 a.m. til Close

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