Born and Raised - Exceptional Steakhouse Service in a Glam Art Deco Setting
Updated: Oct 26, 2021
Born and Raised aka "BAR"
1909 India St.
San Diego, CA 92101
Average cost: $$$$
Parking: we walked over, Little Italy has paid public lots and metered parking
Notes: save yourself a wait by making a reservation via OpenTable. This is one of the most in-demand and creative steakhouses!
Recommended: special occasion meals (or when you're in full treat yourself mode), although with one bar downstairs and another one upstairs, this definitely makes Born and Raised's delicious dishes and drinks more accessible.
Where do (white collar) millennials go for a "night on a town" to celebrate a BFF's new professional milestone? Based on our first visit, I'm tempted to always answer that question with Born and Raised aka "BAR" - what a fun name and convenient acronym! The food scene in San Diego, and in particular, Little Italy, is very vibrant, but Born and Raised is hands down my favorite restaurant in San Diego and in my top 5 restaurants of all time.
The downstairs at Born and Raised is dripping with glamorous art deco vibes evocative of the Great Gatsby and mid-century design:
On the other hand, the upstairs has a more garden and open-air feel (but still glam):
Consortium Holdings, the brilliant folks behind Born and Raised and many other success in San Diego, spared no thought or expense when it came to investing in the sumptuous design and decor at Born and Raised; this is reflected in everything from the green marble, custom built brass and walnut "hardware" of the restaurant, the bar stools, fur cushions, the food and drinks (including a 40-foot onsite dry aging room), to the gold foil embossing on the menu itself:
We started our evening with a gorgeous CHARCUTERIE BOARD that we added a cheese selection to. This was served to us on tiers à la afternoon tea service:
The cocktail pictured above is the FRENCH 75: barrel rested gin, lemon, grapefruit cordial, sparkling wine and refreshingly sweet on a warm day.
The beautiful SMOKED TROUT SALAD was also a hit with us and included cabbage, fennel, pear, grape, mustard vinaigrette, and walnut:
We rounded out our appetizers with Born and Raised's version of UNI PASTA: this dish was an interesting take on what is usually a creamy, briney, and/or earthy dish. Unlike other versions, BAR's uni pasta packed a punch in terms of flavor thanks to the lemon and chili oil. I was stunned at first by the lemon and brininess of the sauce, but then my tastebuds caught up, and I eagerly gobbled up the uni pasta and even saved some of the sauce for the bread that came with the charcuterie.
A note about the service - our waiter Rafael (Raphael?) was phenomenally helpful and knowledgeable about the menu, particularly related to any food allergies and the precautions taken to prevent cross contamination. 10 out of 10 recommend!
For our entrées, we enjoyed a heavenly surf and turf combo: an add-on of incredibly tender POACHED LOBSTER swimming in a decadent butter sauce, and a STEAK SAMPLER with 3 ounces each of 4 different types of steak: dry-aged new york, wet-aged new york, American wagyu, and Japanese wagyu. We loved being able to do a side by side comparison! Each piece was seared to perfection and served with additional salt on the side in case you'd like to "salt bae" your bite of steak to taste. Both types of wagyu were melt-in-your-mouth buttery, with the Japanese wagyu winning in our books by a slightly meltier margin.
I definitely wanted to remember these bites:
For sides to share, we got: (1) CHARRED CARROTS which had a surprisingly tasty mix of sweet, acidic, and savory flavors consisting of tahini vinaigrette, feta, currants, and za'atar, and (2) ROASTED MUSHROOMS seasoned with parmesan fonduta, crunchy garlic bits, and thyme. The mushrooms were a standout for me - so much flavor packed into the almost "meaty" bits of mushroom and the texture was so amazing that I had a brief glimpse of an alternate reality: life as a vegetarian.
The DAISY (London dry gin, pineapple rum, passionfruit cordial, sirop de pomegranate, lemon and champagne) was my cocktail of choice to accompany our entrées and sides, while Tim kept it classy with red wine:
We didn't save room for dessert, but that's definitely one of many excuses I'll use to come back to Born and Raised. We later learned that BAR is known for its tableside service for certain items, including this cute champagne cart in millennial pink (of course).
Our waiter Rafael (Raphael?) was absolutely wonderful and brought out some complimentary champagne and cider as an non-alcoholic option since he knew that we were celebrating Maura's new job!
Such a beautiful way to end a sensational meal and celebration! Thanks a million and we can't wait to be back...