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Kensington Grill

Toad Hollow - “Erik’s the Red.”
Copyright©2006 sandiego.com, Inc.

Just northeast of downtown San Diego you’ll find the trendy, yet small-city-feel neighborhood of Kensington. Home to an arts theatre, numerous eclectic restaurants and coffee houses along its main street of Adams Avenue, it’s a lovely departure from the usual bustle of downtown. Here you will also find a charming restaurant called the Kensington Grill.

A staple in the community and well know by locals, Kensington Grill offers its diners a rare treat. Classic in style and décor, you feel the need to be prim and proper, but after a few minutes of engagement, you realize you can throw caution to the wind and simply enjoy the evening. It’s a nice balance of sophistication complimented with the sense of being in your own living room. Heck, they even have football games playing on the TV in the bar.

We situated ourselves at a window table so we could watch the street scene pass by. We were quickly spotted by our server and water and bread were promptly delivered (the bread came with a wonderful red pepper and garlic pâté, yumm). After allowing a few minutes to settle in, our server graciously engaged us in conversation, as if we were visiting friends. Just like the restaurant, she presented herself with proper etiquette, mixed with a devilish smile and humor.

Hand Torn Pasta

Pan Seared Halibut
Copyright©2006 sandiego.com, Inc.

For starters we requested the watercress salad (Chablis poached pears, boursin cheese, crushed pistachio, preserved lemon vinaigrette) and the soup of the day, a scrumptious Tortilla soup. The salad was plentiful and enriched with lots of flavor while the soup was hearty and easily warmed the tummy. A bottle of wine was ordered and we soon found ourselves being swept away by an enchanting red from Toad Hollow called “Erik’s the Red.” It was subtle to the palette and very balanced in its flavors. For you wine snobs out there, you must read the wine list and its explanations of each wines “unique” flavors, but don’t take yourselves too seriously. I can’t remember the last time I thought of loquats and dried tobacco when taking a sip of wine. Also look for their Wine Wednesday when all wines over $40 are half price.

For the main course, we ordered the Hand Torn Pasta with Chicken (cremini mushroom, fresh ricotta, sorrel cream, hibiscus red onion) and Pan Seared Halibut (rosti potato, blue foot mushrooms and bacon fricassee, spinach, vanilla bean jus). The pasta dish was robust in its sauce with the thick noodles laced around the mushrooms and ricotta, a superb meal. The halibut was wonderfully presented, soft in its texture and seasoned impeccably atop the fricassee, potato and jus.

If you have any room left, you must try the Peach and Blueberry Cobbler (oat and almond streusel, with buttermilk gelato) and you will truly walk away mesmerized. The menu is unique with its offerings, from burgers, salmon, and lamb meatballs to daily ravioli specials. The dishes range from the high teens to mid-twenties. Be sure to enjoy the quaint shop upon entering the establishment, where books, tchotskies and other jewels can be found. Whatever your menu choices, you can be sure to have a pleasant meal with just the right amount of sass and charm. Enjoy!

Details »
  • City: San Diego, CA 92116
  • Phone: 619-281-4014
  • Name: Kensington Grill
  • Address: 4055 Adams Avenue