After a bit of a hiatus, we returned to celebrate San Diego Restaurant Week at Suite & Tender. First of all, I have to say that this is one of the most confusing places I’ve ever been to. If you walk in one of the huge doors (do you push or pull?), you’re in the hotel (I think). Or maybe just a fancy sitting area. If you go in the other one, you’re in the bar and the first thing you see is a bartender. The bartender asks if you have a reservation, but she actually has nothing to do with the restaurant. So, when you answer that, yes, you do have a dinner reservation, she tells you that the stairs are at the end of the bar and the hostess is at the top of the stairs. Would it be so difficult to have someone just tell me that the restaurant is located upstairs once I walk in?
Because it’s one of the most talked about things at Suite & Tender, and because it also falls into the annoying and confusing category, let me tell you about the restroom. Yes, it’s unisex. It’s also small. And the stalls are hard to find. Luckily, there was an attendant who showed us the way in and pushed open the stall doors so we didn’t have to stand there being utterly confused as to what was going on. The restroom is next to the hostess desk, you walk in and look down a long sink trough. There’s a big space of wall to the left. If you look closely (among the white/silver/gray rock tile panel-things that make up the wall), you’ll see two small silver bolt caps in the wall. If you push there, a door will open inward. That’s the bathroom stall. How the hell is a normal person supposed to know this?? There is a single light on the floor and that’s all the light you get. There are also no purse/coat hooks. This is a pet peeve of mine – there should always be something I can hang my purse on so I don’t have to set it down on the floor that is crawling with who-knows-what. Once you’re done in the stall, you can try and wash your hands. The faucets are automatic and are staggered to flow on each side of the sink trough. Except, the faucet sensor is located on the back of the faucet. So, when you walk up to one, you actually trigger the faucet that flows on the other side. T managed to get his to work, but I ended up leaning over and just washing my hands across the sink. I can see how a unisex bathroom might get kind of weird, though, when the restaurant is busy and crowded with tipsy twenty-somethings.
Lest you think I am just totally over this fancy-shmancy restaurant, I have to admit that the food was good. Small, but good. Maybe the portions were small for Restaurant Week? I seriously hope that’s the case, because paying $31 for the bites on our entrée plates alone would be a but ridiculous.
Between the two of us, we had the beef carpaccio (sixteen whisper-thin slices with red onion, parmesan cheese, and a crostini) and the maple glazed bacon (three thick, long slices that were full of porky goodness and sweetness), the lobster and braised short rib, the scallops and pork belly, and the cheesecake and chocolate truffle cake. The appetizers were really good and I guess not too outrageously prices (based on the regular menu prices). I had two large scallops and maybe a 2”x3” chunk of pork belly. The scallops were cooked perfectly and were deliciously seasoned on the outside. My favorite of the night. The pork belly was good, but it was hard to cut and the fat portions were more chewy and less melty.
Side note: one of the gimmicks of Suite & Tender is that they bring you a selection of steak knives for your entrée and they are all fancy and gorgeous (apparently I was supposed to go for the one with the rose petals in the handle, being a girl and all, I guess) but I didn’t pick one with a serrated edge and it didn’t really cut as well as the regular flatware knife I had.
T had a similar sized chunk of short ribs, which were good and beefy but not really anything outstanding. The short ribs at Roy’s are better. His lobster, though, was decadent. I think it was a piece of a tail (or a really small lobster) and the meat from a claw. Both were sweet and tender (ha ha) and the lobster tasted like it was poached in butter. So, the seafood portions of our meal easily outshined the “turf” components. By this time, we were actually kind of full. I attribute this to us taking small bites (to make the small portions last longer), eating the dinner roll, and T drinking an entire 22 oz bottle of Chimay on his own. I had a “sip” of a Pinot Gris, which was lovely, but more importantly, the perfect amount of wine for low-tolerance me. Suite & Tender has a wine-by-the-glass list that includes varying portions of wine (and varying tiers of wine qualities/prices), where a sip is 3 oz., a taste is like a regular glass, a bottomless glass of wine, or the entire bottle (which is less than a bottomless glass). Or you can go through their complete bottle list. A glass of wine is usually more then I enjoy with dinner when we’re out at a restaurant (it’s different if we’re at home), so having the option of a sip was just right. I did appreciate that, even if it wasn’t the most cost effective choice.
My cheesecake came in a little round, enrobed in milk chocolate (it tasted like real Swiss Cadbury chocolate – yum!) with a smear of passionfruit (so tart) and a tiny scoop of kiwi sorbet (also tart) sitting on a slice of kiwi. The cheesecake was delicious, but so rich I couldn’t eat more than a third of it. I took the rest home where it will probably last a month as we shave off a tiny slice here and there. T’s chocolate truffle cake was pretty much your standard chocolate truffle cake with a very chocolate ice cream, but we were able to finish it all because it wasn’t as dense as the cheesecake.
All in all, it was a lovely meal and we enjoyed it. It was still an expensive meal (mostly due to the Chimay) but we haven’t been downtown in a long time, so it was a nice splurge. I don’t know if we’ll go back, based on the lackluster meat dishes and the exorbitant entrée prices. But it was definitely fun to check it out.
Huh. I just noticed that their website has a breakfast menu and the prices don’t look all that hurtful.