Friday, December 17, 2010

You Gonna Eat Your Tots?

Chef Rich Sweeney recently took over the space in Hillcrest that was formally known as Busalacchi's on Fifth. Sweeney was the former Executive Chef at Confidential downtown and was a contestant on Bravo's Season 5 of Top Chef.
At R-Gang Eatery Chef Sweeney proves that Retro-American food can be gourmet with out being snooty. Most of the classic dishes on the menu are twisted around and refueled, which left me saying "yuuuuuuuuum" and left me feeling the way comfort food makes you feel. Damn good!
We started with the House Made Tater Tots. I can't remember the last time I ate Tots, but I know never had Tots like this before. We got the Traditional Tots - Cheddar and Chive Tots served with Chipotle Ranch. They were so good. The outside was crispy and in the inside oozed cheese and chives.
Also on the menu are Philly Tots - Stuffed with Grilled Steak, Sauteed Peppers, Caramelized Onions and served with a Cheese Wiz Sauce. I heard from Chef Sweeney himself that White Trash Tots might be back on the menu soon - Stuffed with Spam & Velveeta and served with Ketchayo (ketchup & mayo). As if plain Tots aren't trashy enough? Gotta love it! Also he mentioned a Top Secret Tot that he will be featuring on his New Year Eve menu. I can only imagine what that would be.
For the main course we shared a vegetarian dish Quinoa Stuffed Pepper - Roasted Bell Pepper stuffed with Southwestern Quinoa and served with a Marinated Grilled Vegetable Skewer and Garlic-Thyme Balsamic Reduction. I loved this dish. Quinoa is my new favorite grain so I love seeing it used in different ways. The veggies that were stuck on the rosemary sprig skewer included brussel sprouts, mushrooms, zucchini, and onions. It was delicious!
We also shared The Not-So-Short Short Rib. This is absolutely no lie. I had no idea how big a bone could be and it was at least as big as my forearm. After all size is everything right? (Sorry, I had to throw that in.)
This meat-falling-off-the-bone slow braised bone-in beef short rib is served with Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Honey Glazed Carrots, Goat Cheese Demi-Glace and Fried Onion Strings.
The only complaint about this dish is the carrots could of been a little more cooked. To much bite for my liking. But who needs carrots when you have a bone that size on a plate in front of you?
To wash it all down, or more like stuff us all up, we had to try the Smoked Gouda Mac n Cheese with Toasted Butter Cracker Crumb Topping. I thought this mac n cheese was good. We ate the whole thing but I am sucker when it comes to mac n cheese. Really anything with pasta. Was it my favorite and the best I ever had? Probably not, but I had to try to see. I will continue my search for the best.
As if I wasn't full enough we ordered dessert. It was some sundae with chocolate covered bacon. Not my first choice but I tried it. I wont be trying it again. I like my meat left out of my dessert thank you. The people next to me had the S'mores Casserole and it looked great. That is what I will get next time. I love s'mores & casseroles! What a combo!
R-Gangs food shouts FUN and that is exactly what you get. The restaurant is casual and inviting. The staff was extremely friendly and seemed really excited about every dish on the menu. Rightly so as some are really off the wall. You can check out the full menu here. Overall expect a good meal and a good time.
I would go back to check out their brunch. I hear they have bottomless Mimosas!!! How FUN will that be?!?!
Food & Fun, Refueled
R-Gang Eatery
3683 5th avenue san diego ca. 92103

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