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Currant Restaurant

The Original Caeser

Chipotle Barbequed Pork Chop
Copyright©2008 sandiego.com, Inc.

There is something about the Currant Restaurant in the Sophia Hotel that brings a sense of nostalgia, of a time and charm seemingly long forgotten. Certainly a part is due to the history of the hotel itself. Originally built in 1928 as the Pickwick Hotel, the establishment has joined the ranks of the National Trust Historic Hotels of America as a national treasure. Adding to its allure, the hotel was recently renovated and reopened as the Sophia Hotel in December, 2006. But the classic style of the hotel lives on and is captured in its premier dining setting, the Currant Restaurant.

The feeling of the dining area is that of a time and age where men still wore suits for the evening coupled with their partners in flowing gowns and wraps. It has the feel of sipping a martini during lunch and smoking a cigar after a meal (ahh the good ‘ol days, to heck with being PC). In many ways its very old school San Francisco. Now this doesn’t imply that you have to get all decked out to visit the restaurant (we were quite comfortable in jeans and a shirt), just that it has a sense of style and charm that permeates its walls.

The establishment is small and intimate with traditional black & white checkerboard flooring and rich, seasoned décor to enrich the venue. There is a grand bar that dominates the room with its glamorous wrought-iron and glass canopy that hangs over the bar itself, showcasing the expansive selection of wines and spirits. Notice the timeless, old world chandeliers that hang from the high ceilings, situated amongst tall arches that separate the room itself. Be sure as you are seated to spy the seats themselves as they are coupled together in different styles, sizes and shapes, enchanting it its uncomplicated awkwardness.

The menu is simple in its offerings, all the while showcasing pretty much any entrée you could desire. There is seafood (salmon, sea bass, swordfish and scallops), chicken, pork chops, omelettes, duck, filet mignon and prime rib. Selecting the right meal for your palette will not be a problem. There is also a nice wine list with many of the varietals offered by the glass.

We settled in for the evening with a friend to catch up on old times and spied the “In The Beginning” or appetizer listing. Soon orders of The Original Caeser (baby romaine hearts, mild white anchovies, imported Romano, roasted garlic croutons), Seared Hudson Valley Foie Gras (black missions figs, whipped mascarpone, toasted brioche, Sicilian pistachios) and Moules Frites (sauvignon blanc, butter, shallots, garlic, fine herbs) made their way to our table.

The salad was traditional and adequately fulfilled the need for a little roughage, but setting the pace were the engrossing Foie Gras and Moules Frites. Foie Gras is in itself a rare treat in any venue and Currant upped the ante with one that was so soft, moist and flavorfully crunchy, with the textures working beautifully. The frites were a showstopper with the generous portion of perfectly prepared fries lying on a bed of mussels, which were basking in a rich bountiful sauce. It was such an odd combination that turned out to be uniquely distinct. The dish was served stylishly in a large bowl and just try to stop yourself from gobbling it up.

White Sea Bass

Chocolate Soufflé
Copyright©2006 sandiego.com, Inc.

For our main course we settled on the Chipotle Barbequed Pork Chop (with Tuscan style white beans and bundle of arugula), White Sea Bass (with ginger steamed jasmine rice, wok’d sweet pea tendrils, red miso broth and wasabe caviar) and Jumbo Sea Scallops (white truffle risotto, caramelized onion jus, Maui onion rings). All three entrees were beautifully presented and the tastes were superb. The Sea Bass was delicately prepared, with a mostly flakey consistency and flavor. The pork chop had a nice subtle bbq glaze melding in a sea of white beans in an almost soup-like consistency. Simply divine. Last but certainly not least were the scallops which were gracefully companioned with the delicious risotto. The dish was flavorful with the textures molding well with each other, creating a wonderful balance of zest and comfort. Add the decadent onion rings, which were crunchy and scrumptious and you’ve got quite the meal.

We finished off the evening with the engaging Chocolate Soufflé which was served in three pieces, one part soufflé (which had a nutty, almost hazelnut flavor), one part whipping cream and one part ice cream. Just dip your spoon into all three and you have yourself a merry little dessert.

The staff was delightful (classically adorned in white shirts and jeans) and explained in detail all of the components of your dish, a nice education lesson. Prices are affordable and they have valet parking, which is a blessing in the somewhat overcrowded downtown. The good: excellent food in an easy-going setting. The bad: not a lot of knowledge from the staff in regards to their wine list. Enjoy!

Details »
  • City: San Diego, CA 92101
  • Phone: 619-702-6309
  • Name: Currant Restaurant
  • Address: 140 West Broadway