This is my last birthday dinner post! There’s one more after this, but this will be the last real, full restaurant post. Aren’t you excited?
This is the birthday deal at the Paradise Grilled in Del Mar, CA. The deal is good for one free dinner entree, up to $25. It’s one per table and you should bring a guest with you to get the deal. I signed up Jake and myself for this deal and you get it about a week before your birthday and it expires about a month later.
Jake, Laura and I went for dinner here on Friday night. Since Jake and I celebrate our birthdays in the same month, Jake asked our waiter if we could use both (just inquiring, why not?). Our waiter got a little huffy and told Jake no, and Jake jokingly said, “What if I sit at the table next to us?” Our waiter gave Jake a very bad look and said, “I guess…” before walking away.
Shortly after that (which left a bad taste in our mouths) a new waiter, Jess, came by and said he’d be taking care of us since our first waiter was leaving. We figured out what was going on (that our waiter didn’t want to deal with us) but it turned out well in the end since Jess turned out to be a really awesome waiter and made our experience at the Paradise Grille that much better! It just goes to show me that a waiter with a good attitude vs a bad attitude can really make the difference in a dining experience.
[Herb Focaccia Bread]
Jess started us off with some of their great Herbed Focaccia Bread. We nibbed through a basket pretty quickly and got another basket to munch on for the rest of dinner.
[Butternut Squash Soup - Roasted Butternut Squash, Sage Crisp, Nutmeg Creme Fresh - $7]
Laura and I enjoyed the corn soup so much the first time we visited that we bought got their soup this time around. The soup changes with the season and for the fall they feature a Butternut Squash Soup. It’s got a little nutmeg and sage on top to compliment the soup. It’s a completely smooth and creamy soup, very rich and sweet from the butternut squash. It’s very thick and almost dessert-like from the flavor. I really enjoyed the soup though I couldn’t finish my whole soup since it was pretty rich. Laura finished hers but I think we could have shared!
[Sausage + Portabella Brick Oven Pizza - Angus Fennel+Garlic Sausage, Roasted Portabellas, Mozzarella, Spicy Marinara, Basil - $15]
When we got our second waiter, Jess, told us he would talk to his manager about using both of our birthday coupons. We really appreciated him asking since our first waiter wasn’t even willing to ask. He came back and told us if we had another diner with us they would have honored both coupons but instead offered to take the full $25 off the bill, no matter what we ordered. I thought that was more than generous and we were happy with that.
So since we were using Jake’s birthday coupon, I scaled back on what I was going to order and instead got a brick oven pizza to try. It’s a 12″ pizza but more than enough for me to eat. The pizza crust was done quite well and I liked seeing that uneven look to the crust – it makes it a bit more rustic looking and lets me know it was just prepared. The sausage pieces were very good and flavorful and I loved the roasted portabella on the pizza. The spicy marinara was something a little too spicy for me, but a little bite of focaccia cured that for me.
[BBQ Baby Back Ribs - House Spicy Barbeque Sauce, Haricot Vert, Parmesan Chive Fries - $17 half rack]
Jake and Laura ordered the same thing – BBQ baby back ribs – but Jake ordered it with their spicy bbq sauce. Jess also had the kitchen bring out a sampler of the sauce for Jake to try since he wasn’t totally sure which sauce he wanted to try. Jake also substituted the sides (coleslaw and sweet potato fries) for the haricot vert and the super skinny Parmesan chive fries.
Jake loved the haricot vert so much that it was the first thing he finished on his plate. This was surprising to me since he never eats his veggies first. He gave me one to try and it was very good – a good garlicky flavor and had a nice crunch.
Jake really enjoyed his ribs too – he usually prefers beef, but he liked the ribs. He thought they should have had more sauce on them (he loooooves sauce) but he still enjoyed these ribs – they were tender and not overdone and were perfectly cooked.
[BBQ Baby Back Ribs - Passion Fruit Barbeque Sauce, Haricot Vert, Sweet Potato Fries - $17 half rack]
Laura also subbed her coleslaw for the haricot vert and was quite pleased with the swap. She got the ribs with passion fruit bbq sauce but I don’t remember how it tasted. The sweet potato fries were also quite good. I munched on fries from both of their plates and was quite the happy camper.
Jess gave Laura and Jake a plate with napkins on it and a pot of hot water to make a hot wet towel when they were done with their BBQ ribs. I was impressed by that little extra level of service there.
[Candy Pancetta + Pretzel Sundae -Vanilla Ice Cream, Caramel Sauce, Toasted Pretzel, Candy Pancetta, Whipped Cream - $8]
Jake didn’t want to dessert since he’s not a big sweets eater, but Laura and I are always game for sweets.
After looking over the menu, the Candy Pancetta + Pretzel Sundae caught by eye since it was different and not something I see on most menus. Laura didn’t ask me what pancetta was though and was not super pleased to find out it was like unsmoked Italian bacon. She was a trooper though and ate it anyway.
I liked the flavors presented here – vanilla and caramel sweet with the salty pretzel and pancetta – it had a real good sweet/salty combination going on and I loved getting bits of caramel in with my bite. The downside here was that the pancetta pieces were way too large and became a bit too distracting of a flavor in the dessert.
Jess asked us what we thought of the dessert and I told him flat out the pancetta pieces were too large. I had dumped a few out onto the dish and he told us that the pieces were usually much smaller than that (more like bacon bit sized) and said he would let the sous chef know about it. I think with smaller sized pieces the dessert would be much better but as it was the pieces were unappealing.
At the end, Laura and I avoided the pancetta pieces and were just going to bites with tons of caramel in it. It was adventurous at least!
In the end, Jake’s coupon covered his meal and our dessert and we left happy campers – stuffed with good food and a feeling of goodwill from the good service we ended up getting in the end.
You can sign up for the Paradise Grille’s Rewards Club online for a birthday entree, anniversary specials, a welcome certificate and more on their website.
See my previous review here.
Paradise Grille & Bar
2690 Via De La Valle
Del Mar, CA 92014
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