RESTAURANT REVIEW: Beaumont's Eatery
There’s just nothing like a great neighborhood spot; someplace close to home where you can stop off after a busy day, or in the midst of the everyday. You know you’re amongst your peeps be they fellow residents, your favorite waitress or that smiley bartender who overpours ever so wonderfully. Places like this are getting harder to come by as chains invade America’s suburban sanctuaries, but they’re out there. Even though they might be geared toward ‘hood denizens, they’re worth venturing out to, even if you live across the county.
I’ve recently fallen for such a place and it’s in one of the toughest parts of town to not only get to, but traverse—Bird Rock. In this community’s roundabout-fortified heart is a five-year-old resto called Beaumont’s Eatery. Since its early, tumultuous days, when said roundabouts were being constructed and travel and parking where huge obstacles for the budding biz to overcome, Bird Rockers have supported this venture and turned it into a thriving business that has quite a bit to offer in return.
First off, there’s plenty of space, be it in the simultaneously retro-mod decorated (and quite pleasant) main dining room, at the locals-laden bar or on the outdoor patio (which offers an entertaining view of motorists trying to wrap their heads around the proper way to navigate a roundabout without wrapping their car around one of their fellow motorists). In this day and age of places like The Smoking Goat and Searsucker, there’s something to be said for going to a popular restaurant where you’re not sitting so close to the party next to you that you feel like you’re part of their party.
Secondly, there’s a serious Cheers-ness to Beaumont’s. The warmth and genuine kindness of every member of the staff (who, by the owners’ own admission, are hired first and foremost for their personalities) truly makes me glad I chose to patronize their establishment over other, colder places. It’s the kind of place where it’d be strange if, after a few meals there, you hadn’t identified or flat-out met the owner. Hint: he’s the tall guy with a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale making the rounds and chatting with his regulars as well as first-timers and making sure they’re having a good time. It’s attentiveness like this and a real concern for diners that has made this spot a universal fave in a community full of folks who aren’t easily impressed.
Nice people are great and all, but without good food, you won’t get far in any neighborhood. Fortunately, Beaumont’s is hitting its stride in that area. They show improvement with each seasonal change of the menu and are better than they were the first time I dined there (and thought they were already really good) well over a year ago. This, despite having one of the longest menus in town and a bill of fare that dares to be eclectic, innovative and fun all at the same time. Here, macadamia- and wasabi-crusted day boat scallops with Israeli couscous share menu space with carnitas lettuce wraps, port-braised lamb shanks and California Cioppino. To attempt to give a name to the world-influenced field would be extremely daunting, so instead, I’ll focus on its quality.
On each of my visits to Beaumont’s, I’ve found something new that I really enjoy as well as a consistency in solid flavor and obvious care in preparation and presentation. Some of my favorites have been the fried oysters, which are plump and dusted with cornmeal to provide a delicious coating that protects these unctuous oceanic gems from drying out in the fryer. They’re served with house-pickled green beans that are also fried, but in reality, don’t need to be. They’re tasty enough to stand on their own and provide a nice acidic bite that slices through the richness of the oysters.
An appetizer that delivers bold flavors is the Korean duck confit street tacos plate. The duck is succulent, yielding and coated in a zesty sauce that leaves a lingering zing of heat in its wake. The tortillas that house the fowl and its accompanying Napa cabbage slaw, avocado and queso fresco are crisped up perfectly. It’s about time San Diegans got a chance to enjoy a fusion taco somewhere besides the open end of a gastrotruck!
A dish that almost surprisingly stood out to me is a summer risotto that looks plain and, when described as being made with water versus chicken stock, sounds downright blah. Yet, it delivers the flavors of a folded-in watercress pesto and a texture and creamy consistency that are just what one looks for when it comes to well cooked Arborio rice.
Then there’s the pork chile relleno. It’s been a staple here for some time now. I ordered it on my first go around and, after being wowed by a plump poblano chile nearly bursting with a mixture of pork and Oaxaca cheese, ordered it again the next time I came in. There was a lot of time in between these visits, but the vision and taste of that chile relleno stayed ingrained in my memory. The product of a cook who spends hours toiling over this labor-intensive dish every day, it came out exactly the same (except with a little less salt, which detracted a bit from the finished product, but was nothing a sprinkle from the tabletop shaker couldn’t fix). It’s one of those dishes that are good for breakfast, lunch or dinner and come across as a real winner.
On the entrée side, there’s a lovely rigatoni Bolognese flavored with chili flake and house-made pork sausage that’s leaner than most Italian varieties. Fall-apart short ribs and a New York strip with mustard-sherry demi-glace take care of carnivorous hankerings and all of the many fresh fish numbers I’ve tried have been delicious. That same sentiment goes for desserts, which are decadent and come in sizes that are way too large considering the plentiful serving sizes of apps and entrées here (but that’s why God made to-go boxes). My recommendations include the Bananas Foster bread pudding and a threesome of icy chocolate-covered bon bons that are so hefty, one of the wooden picks inserted into their hazelnut ice cream cores broke when I tried to lift it off the plate.
Big portions, big heart and big personality combine to make Beaumont’s the kind of place I wish was in my neighborhood. They may not be a trendy, fancy, gourmet downtown spot, but it’s nice to see them acting as if they were and thinking outside the box from within their own comfy box in Bird Rock.
- Name: Beaumont's Eatery
- Address: 5562 La Jolla Boulevard