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Saturday Lunch at Sally's in SD

Jim Strain | Sep 16, 200206:33 PM

Hope my boss doesn't notice when this was posted, but in answer to Dumpling's request for more dining posts...

Many years ago, when we were even poorer than we are now, Diana and I started a tradition of eating lunch out on Saturdays. I don't know who turned us onto it, but the fact is, some places where a dinner check might send you into coronary arrest have downright reasonable prices at lunch -- for the *same* food they offer at night. The downside to this strategy is that only a small subset of places open for lunch on Saturday. Anyway, after seeing it mentioned in a couple of recent reviews, we decided to try "Sally's" -- the seafood restaurant affiliated with the Hyatt Regency hotel (new construction signs refer to it as the "Hyatt Manchester") on the bayfront just south of Seaport Village.

Sally's is located in a separate building with lots of sidewalk tables that were crowded on a warm sunny day. We chose to eat inside and were seated at a comfortable booth.

We each ordered a glass of wine -- I'm sure I could have and should have asked for a wine list, but I let the waiter tout us onto a chardonnay (Sonoma Cutrer) that was very, very good, but pricey ($9 a glass -- I shouldve asked, but didn't). They also brought fresh baked rolls and a miniature jug of grape tomatoes, halved and swimming in excellent olive oil. It made a kind of instant bruschetta that I could cheerfully have made a meal of.

We ordered an appetizer to share, smoked salmon quesadilla ($6) that comes with a few greens and some cold sliced purple potatoes that appeared to be covered with mustard seeds. The salmon quesadilla was smokey enough that at first all I could taste was ham, but after a minute the rich after taste of Pacific salmon made itself known. The potatoes looked more interesting than they tasted, but I give 'em points for imagination.

For our main dishes, Di ordered a Canadian Lobster Sandwich ($17.50). It came on what appeared to be a small loaf of ciabatta bread, onto which had been scooped a huge mound of lobster salad (big chunks of lobster, and less of any other ingredients). It also included something neither of us has ever seen in a restaurant: a bread and butter pickle, served as a long spear. The rest of her plate was covered with more french fries than anyone could eat, so I had to try. They were freshly made, fried to a uniform golden brown, and crispy -- no slimy "wet noodles" here.

I had the salad nicoise ($12.50). It came with a generous filet of tuna, which was not over cooked, but neither was it the medium rare that many of us have come to expect as the tuna norm. There were, of course, lots of nicoise olives, boutique sliced tomatoes (chinos?) alternating with grilled thinly sliced potato. String beans (hardy co-vairs, as Emeril calls 'em) and topped with a small mound of tiny marinated onion rings that I mistakenly thought were anchovies.

Sally's is a great place for lunch, and one of these days we may even try it for dinner, where the menu is much more extensive. A sunset dinner with the last glow of daylight filtered through a forest of sailboat masts would probably be a good advertisement for the Chamber of Commerce.

And lest I forget, you can park in the Hyatt garage for free (Sally's validates for 3 hours), and it's a short stroll through the hotel lobby and out to the waterfront.
. . jim strain

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