I'd heard about Nate's Garden Grill a while back and really wanted to check them out. I took my sweet old time and the place changed management, which turned out to be for the better. Part of the intrigue is the location, on the edge of City Heights, in the same lot as this place.....
It makes for interesting bedfellows....compost and craft beer......
And yet, the quirky location and atmosphere, down to "horse bike stand", all seem to belong here in some strange way.
The floors seem well worn, like some dusty old saloon from a vintage western......
Enter through the doors to place your order at the counter. The interior is on the dark side; like someone's living room. There's a small kitchen area with a nice (21) selection of craft beer on tap.
I prefer sitting in the bright and on this day, sunny patio area, which looked like a nice, well worn deck somewhere out in the wild west......of City Heights.....
The atmosphere, location, menu, and craft beer makes Nate's a fertile feeding ground for hipsters. On this morning, there was but one of the tribe of "hats and tats", and what was that Sir Hipster was holding in his hand, but that remnant of another age....a book! Though sadly, this hipster was too busy texting to open up the book. Perhaps he was channeling his "inner Petunia"?
I wasn't super hungry, so I went with I thought would be a smaller sized breakfast, the Biscuit Sandwich with Sausage Gravy ($7.50).
Like I said, I thought it was going to be a pretty light breakfast, sausage gravy and all, but this was pretty hefty. The eggs were decently scrambled, the biscuit dense but nothing like the hockey pucks you get at Hash House. Loved the gravy, which had a nice balance of the salt and the nicely spiced breakfast sausage.
I really enjoyed sitting and watching folks going to the nursery and loading up their vehicles with sod, compost, potting soil......
Plus, the folks here were very nice.
I figured that the Missus would enjoy Nate's so I brought Her here a couple of days later. The woman working the counter was so friendly and let the Missus taste almost everything on tap. She settled for a Duchesse de Bourgogne to go with Her Flat Iron Steak Cobb Salad ($16.50).
Considering that they have a pretty small space for a kitchen, they do a pretty good job with what they have. The beef here is grass fed and finished and was cooked perfectly. The portion size was generous, a nice variety of greens, organic, crisp and fresh. Pork belly took the place of the bacon here and the Missus sure didn't complain about that. I wasn't a fan of the sriracha ranch dressing, which came off as rather flat with a tinge of heat.
I got the Pulled Pork on a Pretzel Bun ($10.50) and a Craftsman Acorn Saison to quench my thirst.
I really didn't expect much, but this ended up being very good. The pork had a nice smoked flavor with a mild chew. I've eaten my share of mushy pulled pork. The pork flavor was also good; I was told that the pork here is from Duroc pigs. I thought the kale slaw was going to be a bit intrusive, but it went really well with the pork. To top things off, I really enjoyed the pretzel bun; the crust was....well, crusty, and while the bread was dense, it wasn't too chewy.
I enjoyed the pulled pork, so I decided to return for breakfast again and this time went, ahem, whole hog, and ordered the Pulled Pork Hash ($10.50).
The hash, more a like a stir fry, was topped by two lovely poached eggs. The grilled sourdough toast was meh. Despite having some reservations about this mass of sauteed vegetables, I was pleased with the flavor. It wasn't overly seasoned so you could get the sweetness of the carrots tempered by the bitterness of the arugula, all brought together by the smoked flavor of the pork. This was way too much for me and I ended up taking half the hash (which is actually served in a small cast iron frying pan)home. The Missus, who enjoys this type of dish went through the leftovers in a blink of an eye.
We've enjoyed our meals at Nate's and will probably return soon. It's very relaxed, the woman who works here is so nice and friendly, the food is good, 21 craft beers on tap, what's not to like?
Nate's Garden Grill
3120 Euclid Ave
San Diego, CA 92105
And then of course....if you have breakfast or lunch at Nate's you can walk over to City Farmers Nursery right next door.
It's a wonderful urban oasis of plants and even more surprising for me; chickens, goats, quail, and a pony or two. I met a very friendly Rottweiler who kept nudging my hand, wanting to be pet and a cat that wouldn't stop rubbing against me. The woman working here said that I really had a way with animals. I told her that it was probably the pulled pork.......
I'll try and take better photos of the place next time.
Not super fancy, but fresh food, decent quality product, nicely prepared, what's not to like?