Recently, I had to take a work trip down to my old stomping grounds of San Diego. While I was there, I decided that a stop at one of my favorite restaurants was necessary; it had been too long since I had been to Urban Solace. I called up my friend, “Chef” Eddie, and off we went for dinner. Located in the North Park area, Urban Solace opened its doors a few years ago. Since then, it has earned much acclaim for Chef Matt Gordon’s wonderful upscale twist on comfort food. Even though it was a weeknight, the restaurant was packed and there was about a 20 minute wait. For those who are faced with some extra time before being seated, a large bar area located near the door is a great place to hang out and have a pre-meal cocktail or have some wine or beer (bottled and tap) from the extensive list.
One thing that I always tell people they MUST order when eating at Urban Solace is the warm cheese biscuits with orange honey butter. Naturally, Eddie and I ordered some as an appetizer. Soft, fluffy, cheesy, these are the epitome of what cheddar biscuits should be. Paired with sweet citrus butteriness, it’s an interesting flavor contrast.
I was craving veggies so I decided to get the spinach salad: baby spinach, goat cheese, warm sherry vinegrette, bacon, dates, hazelnuts. An excellent large salad, this was just what I wanted. Healthy greens, meaty bacon for protein, hazelnuts for crunch, dates for a little sweetness…very well balanced. Maybe not the healthiest salad, but I did get my veggies!
I also was craving mac n’ cheese and heard nothing but great things about the version Urban Solace serves. The duckaroni is a mac n’ cheese made with blue cheese, duck confit, roasted garlic, arugula, and scallions. You can order it as a side or as a main dish; I opted for the side since I had the salad. This was fantastic. There was a lot of cheese sauce which is a big thing for me as my main complaint for a mac n’ cheese is that it’s not cheesy enough. I loved the crumb topping. The blue cheese flavor was surprisingly mild. The duck was a great addition and the flavor just meshed well. I’m used to either some sort of shellfish, chicken or bacon/ham being in a mac n’ cheese but duck was a new one for me and I have to say, it was good.
Eddie went with the chicken and dumplings and let me steal a couple of bites. This was excellent and very rich in chicken flavor. The dumplings weren’t overly dense and soaked in the sauce making for yummy bite after bite. He polished off his plate for the most part.
We didn’t have room for dessert because all this food stuffed us silly; we even had biscuits leftover!
All the times I have been here, the food has been spot on, both in flavor and execution. Consistency in deliciousness is just one of the reasons why Urban Solace finds itself on the list of San Diego’s best restaurants.
The service is always friendly and excellent. As for the prices, I think they are not very expensive for the quality of dining experience you get.
The Catty Critic gives Urban Solace 5 NOMs. Now if only they would open up here in LA next door to my house…
3823 30th Street
San Diego, CA 92104
Filed under: 5 NOMs, american, restaurant review, San Diego Tagged: | 5 NOMs, american, appetizer, bar, beer, biscuits, brunch, cheese, chicken, comfort food, dessert, dinner, duck, lunch, mac n' cheese, north park, restaurant review, salad, San Diego, soup, Urban Solace, wine