NoshJune 28, 2013
By Eileen Sondak
When a restaurant calls itself “The Grille,” you naturally expect to find a nice selection of grilled items on the menu, and The Grille definitely lives up to expectations. But this brand new eatery has a few surprises as well.
The cuisine is described as “international fusion.” According to Benny Behar, who owns the restaurant with his family, the food includes Mexican-inspired dishes, Israeli specialties, American favorites and food influenced by other parts of the globe. If that isn’t reason enough to check it out, The Grille is also glatt kosher.
And if you’re interested in buying glatt kosher ingredients for your own home cooking, The Grille is located on the site of Emet Kosher Market, where you can find just about anything you need, including high quality meats (such as Angus steaks), several varieties of kosher fish (all skinned, boned and ready to cook) and hard-to-find packaged and canned items.
“We have fresh fish every day; five or six types, including salmon, halibut and sea bass. We’re the only kosher fish market in San Diego,” Behar says. “I’ve been in the food service business for 35 years, and I saw the need for a kosher place with everything fresh. We’ll be making fresh bread and cakes, and we have a candy store for the kids. We’ve been planning this for two years.”
There are a few indoor tables, but the large outdoor patio is the place to be. The restaurant will eventually have a permanent awning overhead. In the meantime, there’s a temporary shade covering and comfortable tables and chairs for leisurely dining. Glass walls around the patio area keep it cozy and quiet.
The restaurant opens for breakfast at 8 a.m. Monday through Thursday and stays open for lunch and dinner through 8 p.m. On Friday, it closes at 3 p.m., but you can dine at The Grille Sunday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
The menu reflects careful planning. There are many wonderful choices for breakfast, and they’re very reasonably priced. For example, you can have bagels and spreads (salmon or maple raisin) for $3.99, lox and bagels with red onion, pareve cheese, and cucumbers for $5.99, and an all-American breakfast of eggs and hash browns for $4.99.
The restaurant’s famous French toast ($5.99) is made with thick slices of challah bread and topped with strawberries and whipped cream. Chiloquiles, a Mexican delicacy of tortilla chips simmered in red or green salsa and topped with pareve sour cream, goes for $4.99.
There’s a huge lunch menu that features an Israeli sampler for an appetizer ($5.99). That was one of our favorites. The platter contains hummus, babbagonoush, motbucho, Israeli salad and pita bread. Everything on that dish is delicious, and fortunately, it’s available for dinner as well.
Another great selection is the tortilla soup ($2.99). It has just the right mix of flavors without overwhelming the taste buds. The luncheon salads can be topped with grilled chicken or grilled salmon. Either way, they’re all modestly priced at $7.99.
We loved the Southwest salad, with a mix of greens, cucumbers, tomatoes, jicama and corn. Other salad choices include the Oriental salad and the Coronado salad (which boasts hearts of palm and avocado with a fresh cilantro lime dressing).
The restaurant features several sandwiches and wraps, including the Tuscan sandwich with grilled chicken breast, and pastrami with secret sauce. They cost $8.99. A hearty rib-eye steak sandwich on rye with grilled onions sells for $9.99. You can opt for soup and a half-sandwich for $7.99.
An assortment of tacos ($6.99 with chips and salsa) and burgers (starting at $5.99) are also available on the lunch menu, and kids have several choices for $4.99.
The dinner menu offers larger portions of some of the same items available for lunch, plus grilled salmon with soup or salad and poblano rice ($13.99) and rib-eye steak with grilled onions and mushrooms accompanied by steak-cut potatoes and your choice of soup or salad ($19.99).
With its excellent quality glatt kosher food, The Grille and Emet Kosher Market are a winning team for San Diego diners.
The Grille and Emet Kosher Market
6548 El Cajon Blvd.
San Diego, CA 92115
Atmosphere: Family friendly, casual
Reservations: For parties of seven or more Happy Hour: No Take Out: Yes Delivery: No Catering: Yes Patio Seating: Yes
Signature Dishes: Fish tacos, Down Under burger
Hours: 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Mon.-Thurs., 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Fri., 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Sun. Closed Saturdays.