TCG Restaurant Review: Ave.5, San Diego

This was our first dining experience at Ave 5 restaurant located in Bankers Hill in San Diego.  The restaurant opened in 2007 and supports locally grown products in combination their own personal garden resulting in sophisticated cuisine with persistent creativity and energy … (their description not mine).

We got a table early on a Saturday evening around 6:30pm.  The restaurant has a minimalist, industrial / urban decor.  Our server was courteous, knowledgeable and extremely accommodating when things didn’t go perfectly (more on that in a minute).

The small menu is American based with a French twist.  I respect their commitment to principles of sustainability.  Now, on to the food.  Our first appetizer “Short Rib Tacos” was on the list of specials.  Three mini open faced tacos arrived with mouth watering rib meat garnished with avocado, lime, salsa and flecks of cilantro.  We chose to add “Truffle fries” as fried starch accompaniment for the tacos.

For dinner, my wife chose the “Wild Salmon” with broccolini, spatzle and tomato vinaigrette.  The dish was well executed with subtle flavors that accented the fish nicely.

My entree was also from the specials list a nice take on the classic “Bouillabaisse”.  Ave.5’s version was a thicker tomato sauce with chunks of salmon, scallops, large Shrimp and clams.  The flavor was amazing and the grilled bread on the side was perfect for sauce clean up.  The clams were on the dry side and a tad overcooked.  I did complain to our server and in minutes got a fresh plate of perfectly cooked and sauced clams.

Round 2 of clams arrived fresh from the kitchen to fix the problem … hallmark of a good restaurant and server that cared.  My first wine by the glass choice was a Rivola 2007 Tempranillo from Spain.  A fairly pedestrian choice and largely forgettable.  I chose to go a little bolder for round 2 … a Cabernet selection from Chappellet with robust flavors of espresso and red and black fruits layer deep into the core.  That was good juice.

In keeping with the industrial feel, the art work on the walls of the restaurant has a great off beat quality to it …

Dessert was a twist to the classic “Pecan Pie”.  This recipe called for no crust but had was filled with pecans, sweet gooey and accompanied by a scoop of banana gelato.  Absolute heaven!

Overall I rated the experience 8 out of 10.  We would go back there.

A little bit of information on Bankers Hill, San Diego … The area is primarily residential south of Laurel Street and west of 5th Avenue. Many new construction projects are ongoing as of 2009, creating condominiums along 6th Avenue facing the park. Locations further west allow an elevated, panoramic view of downtown, San Diego bay, the airport and Coronado.

Notice the little attachment on this neighborhood apartment building (just to the right of the entrance?) … here’s a closer look.

A skateboard rack … a sighting only in Southern California!

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