SoCal Pub Grub with Industrial Decor and Handcrafted Cocktails
“So long as you have food in your mouth you have solved all problems for the time being.” -Franz Kafka
San Diego is a continuously growing city and inside the community of Carmel Valley is a great new plaza called the Village at Pacific Highlands Ranch. Whether you’re looking to work out, shop, satisfy that sweet tooth, or grab some dinner, you’ll find what you’re looking for in the Village.
If you’re looking for dinner here, there are a few casual dining, grab and go type places, but if you want a sit down meal with a cool vibe, Westroot Tavern is the way to go. Westroot offers indoor and outdoor dining options, two separate bars and a mix of high and low tables.
On our recent visit to Westroot, we were seated quickly and as we were escorted to our table, I took notice of those around me. My attention was drawn to a select few: there were some guys and a couple at the bar, a larger group celebrating a birthday, a family nearby, and we were seated next to a table with a couple of gal pals having a girls night out. There’s a welcoming vibe about this place that ignites a sense of intrigue as soon as you cross their threshold.
After we were seated with our menus and introduced to our waiter, it was time to kick off my own girl’s night out with a couple of drinks. I opted for a glass of Kim Crawford wine and suggested the Doctor’s Orders cocktail to my gal pal. I had previously had this cucumber infused cocktail at Barleymash, so I knew it was refreshing and delicious. Incidentally, Barleymash and Westroot Tavern are both owned and operated by the Verant Group, so there are definitely some similarities across the board.
Once we settled in with a couple drinks we ordered some starters; pretzels, which are a staple anywhere, and the poke nachos. The beer cheese that accompanies the pretzels is flavored with poblano peppers for a little bit of heat. The poke nachos were served with crisp wontons and some garnishes like seaweed salad and avocado. But before moving on to entrees, who could pass up a Caesar salad served two ways? Similar to your traditional caesar, but for added flavor, this salad contains both grilled and fresh romaine lettuce.
For our main courses, we went the comfort food route and chose: Braised Short Rib and SoCal Mac’n’Cheese. Westroot features several mac’n’cheese dishes on the regular menu and special mac’n’cheese dishes on Monday nights. A house specialty, the SoCal Mac includes their standard poblano beer cheese, steak, and guacamole, just to highlight a few elements of its flavor profile. The braised short rib was tender and fell apart with just a fork. Served with roasted potatoes and vegetables, this short rib will definitely leave you wanting more. The next time we visit Westroot, we’re combining our dishes and getting the Monday night special: short rib mac’n’cheese, yummy!
If you save room for dessert, I highly recommend the Funky Monkey Bread Pudding. This bread pudding has dark chocolate, banana, and caramel inside, but the best part was the bed of agave cream cheese the bread pudding sat upon. It added a sweet and tangy complement to each bite of the bread pudding. If you’re a fan of carrot cake, I’d suggest trying their signature dessert called Rootcake; it’s their own unique spin on the traditional carrot cake.
Westroot Tavern is a great addition to this new development in Carmel Valley. Whether you’re coming by for happy hour (weekly from 3-5p), a full meal, just dessert, or the whole feast, you’ll have a great time and great food.
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