Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Basic Kitchen and Bar, San Diego

Basic Kitchen and Bar
Flatbread pizza and salad in an artsy, urban setting

During San Diego Comic-Con, we enjoy going to all the different restaurants in the beautiful downtown Gaslamp district. When we were in the mood for pizza, though, we couldn't think of a standout place, so we asked a friend for a recommendation. "Basic Kitchen has been getting great reviews," he said, so off we went, to the other side of the ballpark at 10th and J Streets, to a place that looks like an art gallery/bar but has wonderful food as well.

Inside, even in the restaurant area, the feel persists. There's very little standing on ceremony; you seat yourself, and eventually a waiter in t-shirt and ripped jeans comes over to take care of you. Meanwhile, you can enjoy the music and the industrial interior, looking as if someone ripped the innards out of an old brick studio and threw a bunch of tables and chairs into it.

The menu is simplicity itself: choose a red or white sauce for your pizza, small or large, cheese or no, and then pick from toppings like sun-dried tomato, black olive, mushroom, fresh basil, bacon...broccoli...mashed potatoes... (those last couple recommended for white pizzas, it is noted). You can also have a salad if you want. One size, one salad.

We recommend, well, everything. The salad is delicious, with a tangy fruit vinaigrette and the right balance of candied walnut, gorgonzola, pear, and greens. The pizzas have a crispy thin crust, but even our friend who loves Chicago-style pizza liked it because it's not greasy and dripping as New York pizza should be and thin-crust traditionally is. The toppings are all fresh--on our sausage, olive, fresh basil, and mushroom pizza, it was the sausage that got lost in the other flavors.

If not prompt, the service was at least extremely friendly and helpful. We all felt comfortable and resolved to make this stop one of our Comic-Con traditions. Take a little detour and make sure to visit when you're in the area.

No comments: