Hi Everybody! Glad you could make it back for another post. This time around, we are gonna check out a happening spot in San Diego, CA by the name of Kitchen 4140.
Now, before I get started, let me be upfront about something: I'm gonna be a little bias about this one. Why? Because my brother is a chef there. Yup, I got an inside connection. And yes, I am gloating about that. But don't let me feeling cocky about my connection stop you from checking out a really cool spot.
Lets get started!
First off, I'm not really that familiar with San Diego. I don't know my way around town. So, when I drove to the restaurant, I had my phone close by my side, with the directions showing on the first screen. When I got close, one thing started to become clear: There wasn't any other restaurant in sight! It's not the type of place you happen to drive by everyday. If you are headed there, you had it in mind to go there.
When I arrived, it was about 1p.m. on a Thursday. This place was hoppin'! Almost all the seats outside were taken and only a few spots were open inside. Luckily, I was able to squeeze in at the bar.
I mentioned at the beginning that this was a "happening spot". What I mean by that is there was a lot of energy in the air. It was a hot day to begin with, but the vibe was just.....DOPE! OK, that isn't the clearest description I can give, but damn it, that's what it was! You could see everyone talking, laughing, really enjoying their time and meal. The staff was on their toes, moving quickly, but not running around like chickens that lost attachment to their heads. Like I said, lots of energy in the air.
Unfortunately, I didn't get a lot of pictures. Maybe I was feeling a little lazy being on vacation. Maybe I was just diggin' the scene and not worried about the pics. I think it's a bit of both. In any case, I'll try my best to describe things.
As I stepped up to the bar, I was greeted and asked what I would like to drink. I got an iced tea and was handed a menu. The guy behind bar lets me know that all of the days specials are written on the wall. I look over, and they a huge roll of butchers paper about 6 or 7 feet above the counter. They pulled some of it down and wrote all the specials in red ink on the paper. Kinda slick, if I do say so myself.
I knew what I was gonna order, but I'll get to that in a minute. :) One more observation, then the food.
Sitting at the bar, you are facing the kitchen. From my seat, I was right in front of the pass, where Chef Kurt was holding things down. While the window to the rest of the kitchen was a little higher up, you could still see all the chefs working hard to get each order out. If you have never been to a restaurant with an open kitchen, don't be shy and request a seat with a clear view. On a busy night, it really is a sight to behold.
Now for the food. One of their specials was a burger with smoked pork belly and a fried egg. I was sold on the pork belly. I looked the menu over for a second, but that pork belly was calling me. I made my order, and what I got.....well, see for yourself.
I can't remember it all, but I know that beef was high grade and it was served on a brioche bun. I believe the fries were tossed with a little truffle oil.
I'm not sure how big this last picture is gonna be on your screen, but that was a big burger. I'm serious, it was fuckin' massive. And it was fucking delicious! A clear, smokey flavor from the pork belly. The egg was cooked perfectly, runny, but not completely raw. The bun added even more richness on top of everything else. And, to top it off, it was a bit messy.
Now, I'm not always a fan of messy burgers. Especially if I got some nice threads on. But when it tastes this good, messy is not a problem. So you get some food around your mouth or all over your hands. That's what napkins are for! After the first couple bites, I knew I was gonna have to dive in head first.
The fries were great. They were the kind of fries you can only get at a place like this. Hot. Crisp. Tender. Tons of flavor, to the point where you have to debate on if you really want to dip it in ketchup.
Half way through the burger, I started to make plans for the last bite. I know that may sound a little crazy, but when I'm eating something that I really like, I make sure the last bite is gonna be exactly how I want it. I wanted to make sure I had bits of pork and egg left. I wanted to make that last bite as special as the meal itself. Sure enough, that last bite was as satisfying as I wanted it to be.
After finishing the burger, I hung out there for another 10 minutes or so, just to let the food settle. As I was leaving, I still had most of a glass of iced tea left over. The guy behind the bar offered to put it in a to-go cup. I said yes, and was grateful. I know it's not the greatest thing ever, but stuff like that always leaves a great impression on me.
I know I'm a little bias on this one, but I really enjoyed it. Great food. Great atmosphere. You can't ask for much more. If you happen to find yourself in San Diego, go check it out.
4140 Morena Blvd
(at Avati Dr)
San Diego, CA 92117