We stumbled upon Nicky Rottens by sheer accident, or was it the universe providing us with exactly what we were looking for? The “Secret’s” got nothing on us. Whatever the reason, we were excited to have discovered it. It was one of those days sharing the excitement of the Gaslamp Quarter with some out of town guests. After a day of shopping we didn’t want a persnickety or pretentious location to dine in – we wanted burgers and drinks. We found that and so much more at Nicky Rottens.
The joint itself exudes such a friendly, hip vibe that you can’t help but be swept in. The venue itself embodies a “Cheers” sort of atmosphere but with a cooler, trendy edge. The room is dominated by a grand bar made of refined dark wood. Oversized bottles of spirits adorn the top of the shelves. Whether you saunter up to the bar, sit on the cushioned long bench with opposing barstools or deep into the upstairs loft, you will find comfort and smiles everywhere you go. Big screen TV’s encircle the room, playing the latest, greatest sport events.
So with a full bar available, a round of Appletini’s quickly found there way to our table. The playfulness of Nicky Rottens spills into its menu as well. While burgers are the shining stars, there are also zesty Rotten Starters (Buttermilk Chicken Fritters, “La Costa Nostra” Buffalo Wings or The Not-So-Rotten Chicken Lettuce Wraps), salads (like the yummy Mandarin Chicken or BLT), sandwiches (Grilled Hot Pastrami or Papa’s Steak Sandwich and even a zesty “Grown Up” Grilled Cheese), hot dogs (the “Home Wrecker” Hot Dog, served with chili or American style), and delicious Rottens Baby Back Ribs.
But even with all of those delectable delights, it is truly the burgers that make Nicky Rottens a must-visit venue. The burgers themselves are made from Black Angus Beef Patties (100% organic with 0 trans fats and 100% cholesterol free, that’s what it says on the menu) and you can choose turkey, vegetarian or chicken instead of beef if you prefer. The hard part is which one to choose. Quirky names like Rottens “Bacavo” Burger (apple-wood smoked bacon, avocado, lettuce, tomato, onion, Swiss cheese and rotten sauce), Rottens “Maui Wowi” Burger (grilled pineapple ring, onions, tomato, lettuce, with melted Swiss cheese and topped with Rottens Teriyaki glaze) or the Rottens “Stinky” Burger with the moniker of saying “Da one thata smella lika Nana Franny’s feet” (with Bleu cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion and Rotten sauce).
Our party of three gorged on the Rottens “Bad-Ass” BBQ Burger (with lettuce, tomato, crispy onion ring, cheddar cheese and homemade BBQ sauce), the Rottens “Hoffa” Jalapenos (lettuce, tomato, onion, Pepper Jack cheese and topped with Chipotle mayo) and the Rottens Chili “Chooch” Burger (Rottens Homemade Chili, Onion Ring, and melted Cheddar Cheese). First off, all three burgers were bigger than life. You know the kind that is literally “too-big-a-eat”? They were large, scrumptious and delivered contentment on every count. The bun was soft and large enough to keep the inner workings from falling all over the place (okay we are starting to sound like every burger commercial made here).
All three were bulging with the generous portions of their distinctive mixings. The chili overflowed, the BBQ sauce, a river of flavor, while the spicy Jalapenos and cheeses served in overabundance. The accompanying delicious fries were perfectly crunchy on the outside and warm and moist on the inside. The dishes were served in a basket and were themselves full of satisfying and mouthwatering flavors.
Nicky Rottens is a place to go for fun, for really great comfort food and a good time. The service was quick, spunky and everyone seemed genuinely interested in making sure you were having a good time. That seems to come naturally at Nicky Rottens. Enjoy!
The good – Sassy and fun, this is a great place to hang out.
The bad – It’s a small venue and you find yourself sitting a little too close to other customers.
- City: San Diego, CA 92101
- Phone: 619-702-8068
- Name: Nicky Rottens – Bar & Burger Joint
- Address: 560 5th Avenue