Oh, how I love a good restaurant!! Fine food, attentive service and good company all add up to a wonderful couple of hours bound to lift everyone's spirits. A recent life development has my husband and I luckily spending every Saturday afternoon with my husband's father, a retired doctor. To remedy a not always wonderful day (we are dealing with a trying family medical issue), we have begun searching out a good meal together to cap off our day and to ward off our troubles. Hence... Liv Life is launching "Dining with the Doc" as we review and share some of our new favorites places to dine.
Dining with the Doc - Week 1
Last weekend had us arriving at the newly opened Solana Beach Crush Restaurant and Wine Lounge located in the quaint beach town of Solana Beach, California. Welcomed with smiles and greetings, we were quickly seated in the dining room and immediately took notice of the comfortable decor featuring all avenues of wine. From the walls lined with wine racks to the bar stools made from old wine casks, the ambiance was inviting and peaceful.
George, our server, promptly arrived bearing a plateful of bread and a delightful dipping olive oil and vinegar along with plenty of menu tips and advice. Taking his recommendations to heart we immediately ordered Moms Meatballs (complete with a roasted tomato sauce, sheepsmilk ricotta, basil and extraordinary amounts of delicious flavor) and the Crush Bruschetta (served with burrata cheese and cherry tomatoes smothered in a basil pesto). Served promptly, the appetizers didn't last on our table long as the three of us began to refuel our bodies. Doc nearly gushed over the meatballs and wholeheartedly accepted a 2nd serving. Glasses of wine and beer were poured along with my iced tea and we settled in as our stomachs began to be satiated.
Upon George's recommendation, my father in law and I ordered the Marinated Prime Skirt Steak with fingerling potatoes and an heirloom tomato/arugula/smoked blue cheese side topped with a crispy slice of pancetta. The steak was tender as promised, flavorful and juicy, though both were slightly overcooked. That Heirloom Tomato side mixed with the arugula and smoked blue cheese was bursting with fresh flavors and left us wanting even more.
My husband's Roasted Chicken Rigatoni filled with rapini, cherry tomatoes, spinach, and mushrooms in a Parmesan broth brought an aroma straight from the streets of Italy. Swapping part of my steak and potatoes for some of that garlic enhanced pasta was indeed a fair trade and we all doubled our pleasure enjoying both entrees.
Deciding that we could not give Crush an adequate review if we didn't partake in the dessert we immediately fell for George's description of a raspberry, blueberry, strawberry and peach filled Fruit Crumble topped with Vanilla Ice Cream. I know the men were just appeasing me with the dessert, both claiming to be too full to partake, but I watched with relish as my "I don't really like desserts" husband reached for seconds and then actually polished off the bowl of crumble proclaiming this dessert one of the best desserts he's ever had. From him that is the highest of complements and Doc and I wholeheartedly agree.
From the decor to the menu to the food and on to the friendly service, Crush is a real pleasure. Executive Chef Jason Colabove has most definitely accomplished his goal of crafting a distinct menu of fresh and authentic Italian flavors. Supplementing his ingredients with San Diego's bounty of market-fresh produce, free-range meat and local seafood only serves to make Crush just that much more appealing.
Located 437 S. Hwy 101, Suite 112 in Solana Beach, California, Crush is open seven days a week serving lunch and dinner. Happy hour is featured daily from 4:30 to 6:30 and presents a menu filled with appetizers and specialty cocktails. The lunch menu features an appealing "Create your own salad" along with a selection of sandwiches and pasta. And yes... you can get the Fruit Crumble at lunch too!
Note: Please excuse the quality of the photos... Unfortunately I arrived at the restaurant cameraless, however the meal was so good we didn't want to let the opportunity to review get away from us and all photos were shot on my husband's iPhone. Thank you George for helping us try to get the perfect shots!