Restaurant Reviews

Family recipes from Milan

Posted: October 27th, 2017 | Featured, Food & Drink, Restaurant Reviews | No Comments

By Frank Sabatini Jr.

Danilo de Corato learned to cook in his teens from a mother “who lives in the kitchen.” A native of Milan and former apprentice of the Italian Federation of Cooks, he’s exactly the kind of guy you want making your pasta when going out for an Italian meal.

De Corato and his wife, Francesca Brusati (also from Milan), moved here more than a decade ago, after which they ran Caffe Bella Italia in Pacific Beach for a while.

The hidden meat smoker at Grossmont Center

Posted: September 22nd, 2017 | Featured, Food & Drink, Restaurant Reviews | No Comments

By Frank Sabatini Jr.

Past pretty flower beds leading to the indoor food court, and then through its second set of doors near Dante’s Pizza, is Grossmont Center’s big barbecue secret. But if you’re sniffing around for it on weekends or any late afternoon, you’ll be let down.

Smokin Blaine’s BBQ operates only from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Marked by a quaint wooden façade with two windows flanking the entrance, the 600-square-foot eatery resides in an unseen nook partly enclosed by an outer wall of Macy’s.

Decisions, decisions

Posted: August 25th, 2017 | Food & Drink, Restaurant Reviews, Top Stories | No Comments

By Frank Sabatini Jr.

The name is a misnomer.

La Mesa Bistro & Bakery more closely resembles an all-American diner rather than some quaint bistro serving rustic French fare. The menu and chalkboard listings bombard you with hearty food choices for breakfast and lunch, and despite its small façade, the interior greets with two sizable dining rooms perfect for family dining.

‘Hands of love’

Posted: July 28th, 2017 | Featured, Food & Drink, Restaurant Reviews | 3 Comments

By Frank Sabatini Jr. Oscar Acosta recalls telling his wife, Dulce, before they got married, “One day we’re going to have a restaurant.” The couple first met at a farmers market in their native Mexico City. They eventually moved to Spring Valley, where they run one of the best and most underrated Mexican restaurants in […]

Slurps and twirls on the boulevard

Posted: June 23rd, 2017 | Featured, Food & Drink, Restaurant Reviews | 1 Comment

By Frank Sabatini Jr. | Restaurant Review Comforting ramen has arrived to La Mesa. So have a couple of unique sakes that are hard to find outside of BLVD Noodles, the neighborhood’s first and overdue Japanese-inspired eatery that opened on the village strip a few months ago. One of the sakes is a sea-green Bushido […]

A thousand bottles of booze on the wall

Posted: May 27th, 2016 | Featured, Food & Drink, Restaurant Reviews | No Comments

By Frank Sabatini Jr. I’ve eaten inside liquor stores before — pizza at Fiori’s in Mission Hills, a lobster roll at Corner Liquor in Normal Heights, and a memorable “meter feeder” ham-and-Swiss sandwich in the presence of attorneys making liquid purchases at Mixon Liquor and Deli near the Downtown courthouse. But in terms of ambiance, […]