Most Improved: The Linkery
Hello, lovelies. Hope you’re all enjoying the holiday… I wish I could say I was, but alas, am down to the wire on a major project so have been working through the weekend. That being said, I did make time for a date night with the Mister on Friday, and decided to pop on over to the Linkery in North Park.
Linkery just celebrated their one-year anniversary at their 30th street location this weekend, but they’ve been around a bit longer than that. Since they opened in the old space, the Mister and I have been popping by every six months or so, to see what they’ve been up to. After our last visit in the fall, the Mister and I came to a sad consensus: that, despite its aspirations, the Linkery was just failing to excite us any more.
Lo and behold, they must’ve read our minds, because after this last trip, we’re more thrilled with the Linkery than we’ve ever been before. A big part of this is their expanded menu– where it was fresh sausage all the time before, they’ve now thankfully diversified, and with great success.
Win No. 1: Seafood!
Where the Linkery once had a huge black hole, they’ve now filled with some beautiful seafood. These Baja oysters were incredibly sweet and very clean- no briny flavor, no sediment. It was served with lime and three minuets- green garlic, and two others I’m forgetting just now. The ‘pink one’ was very nice– fruit based, I think. Six for $13
Score No. 2: More weird cuts o’ meat!
Pickled Pigs Ear. Yep, you heard me right. Hey, it was $2 and who doesn’t like an adventure? It was served with just a touch of hot sauce, a nice complement to offset the acidity of the pickling juice. I enjoyed these, but the Mister wasn’t a fan. I guess you have to be used to the texture of soft cartilage– a bit like tripe, actually.
The excellent Linkery blog had alerted me beforehand to the restaurant’s featuring of stone fruit throughout the weekend, so of course I knew we had to order this:
Hampshire pork lonzino, wrapped around raw Snow Queen peaches, with a bit of Brooks cherries on the side and a very light splash of olive oil. $7 for three pieces (the Mister ate one before I could snap the picture) and worth it– the pork was fantastic. I actually liked the pork better without the peaches, but eaten with the cherries. That stone fruit *was* beautiful, guys. Great find.
Finally, it was time for the mains. And this is where the Linkery has really improved the most. See, in past incarnations (or at least the previous times we’ve been there), the menu has primarily revolved around whatever three or four fresh links they had for the day– you’d choose your link(s), and a preparation- in a ‘picnic plate,’ as part of a choucroute, etc. There was a smattering of other options- I think a burger or two, maybe a few interesting sides– but that really felt like it. I could be wrong, but if there were other main dish options, they certainly weren’t interesting enough for us to remember.
But now it feels like a whole new game. Several vegetarian options, an entire section for burgers and sandwiches, five or six different main entree options (and not all featuring sausage!), a section for flatbreads… I could go on. Very exciting growth, and I was so excited to keep it light on the sausage for a change. I know, it’s probably sacrilege, but since the Mister’s been making his own sausage at home, I think I’ve been getting spoiled.
Oh, right. So back to our dinner. The Mister, consummate New Englander he is, couldn’t resist the boiled seafood:
This “lowcountry boil” was the priciest item on the menu, topping out at $29, but it was a whole lotta plate for that price. Lots of fresh manila clams and slamming shrimp, along with corn, two kinds of potatoes, and a heaping helping of corn bread. They did us right and served it on a large flat tin plate, with wax paper.
As good as that was, I think my entree was the stand out of the night:
Tulare cherry-braised grass fed beef ($20).
Forgive the graininess of the photo (it was dark in there!) and just try to imagine succulent cuts of organic beef, with a bit of a crust but falling -apart soft, in a sauce so delicate it could be an aus jus if not for the extra bit of sweetness from the Tulare cherries. The fresh baby carrots and red potatoes were roasted to perfection as well, and just…. damn. So friggin’ good.
I made it through about half of my dish before giving up, and would’ve left it at that except for the dessert menu. I just had to try the LICS:
And that would be a Lardo Ice Cream Sandwich. With a slice of carmelized bacon on top. Um. Seriously. I think that alone was a week’s worth of cholesterol and fat intake. It tasted a bit like olive oil gelato only, you know, made with animal fat instead. So much for healthy eating! But oh, so so worth it… or at least half of it.
The Linkery’s also built up their wine and beer list quite a bit since our last visit. They have a large selection of local brews and wine– very nice selection, and I enjoyed my Cucapá Obscura beer (from Mexicali) a lot. Nice brown ale in the German style, like Bohemia and other good Mexican browns.
At the end of the night, our grand total came out to about $130- not cheap, but not bad for the quality of food we had eaten. At the Linkery, all tables pay an upfront 18% charge, so they don’t accept extra tips. If tips are left, they donate it to a local charity. Sweet deal, I think.
I’ve always really appreciated what the Linkery’s been doing for the San Diego food and bar scene. They’ve always put local meats and produce first, and cook seasonally based on what’s available at market. Now that they’ve diversified the menu, we’ll definitely be back more often. And hey, you gotta love a restaurant that’s as keen on blogging as we
fatties foodies are! Pay them a visit and let me know what’s on your menu!
3794 30th St
San Diego, CA
619. 255. 8778