Restaurant Review: West Coast Tavern, North Park


Let's get one thing straight: at West Coast Tavern, no one is going to have to force you to eat your brussel sprouts.

I should know. Here is a secret about my boyfriend: he hates that people joke about the fact that he hates vegetables. In reality, he probably eats them more often than people know, but still, there is some truth to it. For instance, it would never in a million years occur to him to order brussel sprouts as an appetizer. And honestly? I don't know that it would be my first choice either. Enter the magic of West Coast Tavern, an impossibly chill restaurant and bar in North Park.

We headed there for dinner last Thursday and it proved the perfect spot for a date night. Incredible food, a laidback atmosphere, great jams on vinyl from their live DJ, and of course, some fantastic wine. It was a nice reprieve from what ended up being a crazy week for both of us. When things get hectic though, my first instinct is to take a little break, slow it down and enjoy a nice meal with my favorite person. And we kicked it all off with... the brussel sprouts.

I was told the brussel sprouts were a must and I will forever trust the person who recommended them to me on all future food-related instructions. Ryan and I surprised ourselves when we pretty much destroyed them in all their herbed, bacony, cheesy goodness. I barely touched my wine (a Francis Ford Coppola Pinot Noir) while I was caught up in my brussel sprouts frenzy and if you know me, you know that means they were something special.

Ryan's appetizer of choice came out next, the tangy, gooey wonder that is their Five Spice Chicken Wings. The sauce on these wings was unlike anything either of us had ever tried before. It was almost like a salty candy and even that explanation doesn't do them justice. They would have been a great snack to go with some craft beer and their Chicken and Spinach Mac and Cheese.

Our entrees were next and like I said, it had been a tough week. So it's rare that I order something as fancy as steak at dinner but thank god I did because their Grilled Flat Iron with Braised Kale and Butternut Squash Puree tastes like you're biting into autumn. Seriously. If you could bottle up every cozy, warm feeling and every autumnal spice and create a flavor and then pour that flavor over a meal, this would be what that would taste like. Eating my dinner, I was honestly so happy I could have cried. Ryan got the Angus Chuck Beef Sliders, but I don't think I even talked to him about his food since I was too busy being mesmerized by mine.

Somehow, someway, after all that, we both had room for dessert, but just barely. I ordered the Pumpkin Cheesecake with a graham cookie, salted caramel and spiced whipped cream on top, but the real winner was Ryan's Bread Pudding. My dessert was decent, but the Bread Pudding was truly heavenly. By the time we finally put our forks down, we were so stuffed I thought someone was going to have to roll us to our car.

I know they say don't eat your feelings and blah blah blah, but never in my life has a meal so completely changed my mood like my dinner at West Coast Tavern. It really was like magic. When we walked in we were both run down, stressed out, and slightly angry at our respective work situations, and by the end of the meal we were totally laidback, happy and relaxed. So if you're in need of some culinary magic, or just want to relax in one of the coolest bars and restaurants in San Diego, head to West Coast Tavern in North Park and don't forget: start with the brussel sprouts.

West Coast Tavern
2895 University Ave.
San Diego, CA 92104
Phone: (619) 295-1688