Barleymash (Downtown)


A few weeks back Michael and I got the pleasure of tasting some of of what Barleymash has to offer.  As the name may suggest, they do have plenty of beers on tap to serve their patrons.  But beware beer lovers, their food integrates many beer elements all culminating into one thing, a complete beerific experience.


The atmosphere is casual with plenty of tv’s around and there are large communal tables to share for the willing.

Our server Syndey pointed out the pies as a Barleymash recommendation and me being the potato lover that I am, we had to go with some variation of the iron fries.  Michael’s comments will be in green.


This was a tough one to come to a decision on ordering but finally we settled on The Far East Side Iron Fries.  This had nicely cooked pork belly, grilled chicken, green onions, celery, house made kim chi, teriyaki sauce, cashews, and wasabi cream.  After feasting our eyes on this as it came closer to our table and finally within reach, it’s easy to see this fare is not for the faint-hearted.  You cannot grasp the scale of this but I’d say it could feed 4 people easily as an appetizer.  Overall, I enjoyed the different flavors put together and it was a nice change of pace from the traditional cheese fries.  There may have been too much wasabi cream for me but it cleared my sinuses nicely!  The only other minor note is the kim chi was not the best.  If I didn’t know what kim chi was I may have not thought twice, but I didn’t think it was a good representation of what kim chi has to offer.

Michael’s Thoughts:  I was a bit skeptical about the description in the beginning, but to my surprise it was quite tasty.  The fries came out piping hot and they had a good solid crunch on the outside, with a warm soft center inside.  The mixture of different ingredients were solid.  I’d agree with Darren, it was missing the kim chi, but it made up for it with lots of meat.  I loved the presentation on the skillet.  It’s a great size to share with friends. 



Next up was the Shorty Barley Pie.  It was topped with arugala, stout braised short rib, onions, a three cheese blend, and horseradish cream.  The crust is also made with barley flour.  I’ve never had this crust before and you can notice the different flavor and texture.  The crust isn’t as crisp as most but at the same time was firm and didn’t get soggy.  Their pies are fairly thin and packed with toppings.  The short rib was tender and all in all, quite enjoyable.

Michael’s Thoughts:   So this was pretty tasty as well.  In hindsight, we probably had a few too many carbs this meal, but it was worth it to try.  The Barley Pie was also a sizable portion.  I enjoyed the the short rib combo with the horseradish cream and arugula.  I did think the crispy onions were a bit much.  Maybe sauteed onions would have rounded it out a bit more.  But overall, it was quite delish.  It’s a bit hard to describe the flavor of the crust, but I’m sure most people will find it the perfect compliment to their beer. 



What meal would be complete without dessert?  American Pie Doughnuts?  Why not!?  These had a little cinnamon glaze on the outside and apple pie filling.  There were three dipping sauces: chocolate, caramel, and get this cheese fondue!  Before casting judgement, try it.  I was as skeptical as ever and almost didn’t dip.  But I did, and it actually tasted good and ended our lunch on a warm, cozy note.

Michael’s Thoughts:  Although we were completely stuffed, I had my eye on the donuts from before we ordered lunch.  Donuts, cheese, chocolate, and apples?  BRING IT ON.  I’m glad we tried them.  The variety of savory and sweet was curiously satisfying.  Oh yeah, we got it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream too!!

The choices we made were not the lightest on the menu but we escaped Barleymash unscathed.  In hindsight, we probably shouldn’t have ordered two items that contained horseradish and wasabi either.  You live and you learn.  Thanks to Stephen over at Alternative Strategies for setting the visit up.  Also wanted to give a shout out to Syndey and Carlos who took good care of us at the restaurant!


600 5th Ave.
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 255 – 7373

barleymash on Urbanspoon


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About Darren

Fooood! I love it if you can't tell already. I love everything about it. The taste, the smell, the look, the feel, the satisfaction, the gratification, and ultimately: the fun! I've been in San Diego for about 10 years now and it amazes me that there are still places to uncover. Traveling, eating, and taking pictures of food has always been a hobby of mine. So naturally Michael and I thought it made sense to share what we found with all of you. I tend to side with the savory but never shy away from a knock out dessert. If you have a place you think we haven't tried let us know! We're always on the lookout...

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