Urban Solace, San Diego
A guest blog from Erika Ulring in Fleishman-Hillard’s San Diego office. If you find yourself in San Diego, be sure to check out this local favorite.
Urban Solace lives up to its name. It’s an urban retreat providing comforting yet adventurous dishes in an environment that’s both relaxing and upscale. The restaurant is located in the adorable San Diego neighborhood of North Park, which is known for its eclectic and diverse array of restaurants and its hip yet neighborly vibe. Smack dab in the middle of North Park’s restaurant row sits Urban Solace. From the outside, the restaurant almost appears Southern in décor due to the scrolling ironwork and lush outdoor seating area. The menu, however, is a combination of sophistication and locally sourced treats.
A favorite restaurant hot spot among locals, Urban Solace offers a variety of dining delicacies. I decided to go out on a limb and try their beef cheeks, a dish they’re well known for and one I’d never before seen on a menu. The item is described as “Braised Paso Grass Fed Beef Cheeks, Smoked Tomato Jam, Mustard and Garlic Jus, Sweet Potato Mash” and came recommended by our helpful, friendly and patient waiter.
The cut of meat was a bit fattier than I was anticipating, but was extremely tender. The taste was that of a delicate, earthy braised roast. The dish was extremely well executed, but I found that I prefer more traditional cuts of beef, such as braised short ribs, that still have all the tenderness but lend to a more robust savory taste. Lesson learned. That said, I did thoroughly enjoy my meal, especially the sweet potato mash, and I’m glad I somewhat uncharacteristically went for the adventurous option.
For dessert there are a variety of sweets to choose from, but I opted for the cheese board as a nice finish to my savory meal. The cheeses available were not any that I was previously familiar with, so I leaned heavily on a foodie girlfriend for descriptions prior to ordering. My three cheese selection featured the below regional highlights:
• Seascape from Paso Robles, Calif. – This cow and goat milk semi-firm cheese was somewhat mild and was a pleasant complement to the spicy glazed walnuts.
• Rimrocker from Paso Robles, Calif. – This was probably my favorite as it was a firmer cheese with a rich taste. It almost reminded me of a mild Gouda, which is possibly my favorite cheese of all cheeses. This was exceptional with the featured local honey.
• MouCo Colorouge from Ft. Collins, Colo. – This had a Brie-like consistency, though the rind was a bit more firm than Brie. True to the menu tasting notes, it was creamy and buttery. It went very nicely with the sliced apples and earthy bread that were also part of our cheese board.
The cheese was great, but I must admit the salted caramel pot de crème that my friend ordered was better. It was decadent and rich in all the right ways, and I highly recommend it.
Overall, Urban Solace is a winner. The food is amazing, and I love that I’m able to try something new and delicious each time I dine here. It’s a culinary adventure and a welcoming backdrop for gabbing with girlfriends or a nice date.
3823 30th Street
San Diego, CA 92104
Pot de crème photo courtesy of Urban Solace