Toronado San Diego is better than the San Francisco original on almost every level, with less grime, better food and a beer selection that’s at least as good. About a year ago, former SF bar manager Ian Black licensed the name and applied San Francisco’s best aspects to open a larger incarnation along 30th Street, a strip that is undoubtedly ground zero for California beer drinkers at this stage.
The dimly lit space features wood floors, high top tables and banquettes. Happily, Black kept several flourishes that made the original great, including an overhead tap list organized by brewery. No surprise, the San Diego location features healthy representation from local breweries. Black also stocks plenty of Belgians, including krieks and Lambics, and displays metal signs for Dogfish Head, Gueuze Kriek and Orval, to name just three breweries.
In San Francisco, Toronado allows customers to order sausages from next-door Rosamunde Sausage Grill. Toronado San Diego preserves that tradition by offering a similar selection of sausages, with multiple encased meats served on local Bread & Cie buns. On Tuesdays, they offer the same Estancia burger that Rosamunde made famous in San Francisco. What sets San Diego apart is Chef Glenn Groening, who has the ability (and space) to create a market-driven gastropub menu. This is a concept that’s worked well at Father’s Office in Los Angeles.
L.A. beer fiend Alex Davis happened to be at the next table and shared tastes of two beers from Port Solana: a fairly smooth drinking brown ale called One Down Brown; and the hoppy Swami’s IPA, which paired really well with the sliders.
The San Francisco original still has its well-worn charms, but given the choice, the San Diego offshoot is more enjoyable.
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March 20, 2010 at 10:06 AM
[…] (Picture from Joshua Lurie’s Food GPS) […]
June 10, 2009 at 10:26 PM
Nice work on the food Glenn, photos look great. I will have to take a trip down to SD and say hello.
June 10, 2009 at 5:09 AM
nothing can beat the original.
June 26, 2010 at 5:39 PM
Patricia, have you been to Toronado SD? If you have, I’d be interested to hear how you’d compare it to the SF original. To me, SD delivers a better experience.
June 9, 2009 at 9:37 PM
we had the Dogfish Head Midas Touch as well, just a day before, and it was pretty sweet, but we didn’t pair with any food, making it an ideal afternoon “refresher”. Toronado has generally been very enjoyable for us, especially since we go when it’s very quiet (5PM), but I don’t know how much I’d like it in prime hours like 11PM on a weekend.