I didn’t know it at the time I visited, but Bare Back Grill has been voted one of the best burger places in San Diego. Bare Back Grill serves New Zealand style burgers, which means they use organic, grass-fed beef from New Zealand. The vegetables used to top the burgers are also organic. Devin took me there because one of his coworker’s had ordered a tofu burger, which I’d only tried once before at the dining hall at UCI (it was a mushy, bland burger), so I wanted to try Bare Back Grill’s rendition. Unfortunately, when I went, Bare Back Grill had run out of the Holy Roller(tempura fried tofu burger) so I ordered a Wake & Bake.
The Wake & Bake sandwich is a tilapia fish filet dipped in tempura batter and fried until golden and crisp. The light tempura batter allowed the fresh tilapia flavor to shine through. I was also surprised that the tilapia filet remained juicy. Topping the Wake & Bake was a mildly spicy coleslaw and mayonnaise. It was a hefty sandwich with a good portion of creamy coleslaw that went well with the fried tilapia. Since the burgers and sandwiches come solo, I added onion rings on the side. These onion rings were freshly fried and although I only received about five onion rings, they were cut thick and were very large in diameter. They came with a wasabi mayonnaise sauce which didn’t give off very much heat. Even though much of the food I ordered was fried and there was also a good portion of mayonnaise, it didn’t sit heavy in my stomach afterwards. I’ll be back to try the Holy Roller burger!
Bare Back Grill
4640 Mission Blvd.
San Diego, CA 92109
Touted as having some of the best fish tacos in San Diego by San Diego Magazine, Sign On San Diego, Serious Eats, and Bon Appetit, I finally made it to South Beach Bar & Grille when it wasn’t completely packed. South Beach Bar & Grille is located in Ocean Beach, right along the beach so that if you sit at the bar, you have a great view of the pier and ocean. I don’t spend a lot of time in Ocean Beach, but when I have, it was to visit the beach or nearby shops along Newport Ave. South Beach Bar & Grille is usually very crowded, especially when there is a game on.
Having had a late breakfast that day, I only sampled one taco, their fried Baja Fish Taco. It turns out that only one fish taco was enough because it was quite large, with a hefty piece of beer-battered pollock and a mound of fresh pico de gallo and red cabbage. I was surprised to find melted cheddar cheese on the soft flour tortilla, as it’s not a standard ingredient in fish tacos. The melted cheese helped all the contrasting textures come together.The fish was freshly fried and moist and the cream sauce had a nice tang to it. This was a great fish taco with the view from the bar certainly adding to the experience.
South Beach Bar & Grille only accepts cash and there is an ATM machine located in the bar. This, coupled with the large crowds that flock here at night, detract me from returning for the fish tacos. I mean, this was among the best fish tacos that I’ve eaten, but pretty decent fish tacos can be found without having to pick up cash and fight through drunken throngs of people.
South Beach Bar & Grille
5059 Newport Ave.
San Diego, CA 92107