Recently we were invited to dine at Admiral’s Restaurant in San Carlos (just adjacent to La Mesa).
I was excited because Chef Geoff markets his restaurant well. His message is simple – world class cuisine based off of his wide-ranging experience cooking for admirals, senators, and diplomats (sounds fancy)!
This should be good. So, I invited my good friend, Tee, who happens to be the Captain of a Navy ship, and a foodie just like me.
Let’s see how they did and if the experience lives up to their name…
Admiral’s is located in San Carlos strip mall just a few doors down from The Trails Eatery.
When you walk in, you are immediate inside the dining area. It was about 6:30 pm and it was pretty busy for a Tuesday night.
Off to the right side is a small bar area. They have a simple setup up inside the main dining room with several pieces of modern art lining the walls. In fact, if you like the paintings, they’re for sale!
The modern decor was a bit random only because it didn’t match the marketing of “Admiral’s” at least in my mind’s perception. The only nautical focal points were on tables and a small side area with some naval references.
The little table card menus showcased their happy hour specials and Chef Geoff’s story.
We were eventually greeted by one of the waitresses who looked overwhelmed. I told her we had a reservation and she simply said, “sit wherever you like”.
She came to our table and asked if we had made any decisions, but we had barely picked up the menu. She looked a bit annoyed.
Eventually, she came back and took our order for drinks and apps. Just around then, our servers transitioned to Kiara and it was a much better service experience from there.
The calamari was interesting. It had a unique crunch from and infusion of coconut, which I rather enjoyed. However, Tee thought it was just okay. She’s more of the calamari connoisseur than I am and didn’t care for the overpowering habanero spice in the citrus red sauce you see above.
Tee also had a glass of their house red “Admiral’s” wine which she enjoyed.
I was kind of on the fence for my entree. So I decided to get two! (Good idea, Tee)
I was excited to dig into this Jamaican curry chicken and it looked quite nice.
Unfortunately, it was rather bland and needed salt also. I was surprised given how pungent curry flavors typically are. Perhaps it was off this evening, but I wouldn’t order it again.
Here’s the good news. The second entree I had was delicious. This was the Jamacian jerk chicken plate which was super tender, flavorful, and had a sweet tangy sauce that made me smile.
The cabbage was also interesting because it was sauteed warm with some butter (I think). It was quite tasty. The red beans and rice were okay but complimented the rest of the dish well.
As for Tee, she doesn’t eat a lot of meat, so she quickly honed in on their ratatouille. This was a mixture of eggplant, bell pepper, onions, squash, tomato, and potatoes. Tee like the dish overall and said the veggies retained their structure (i.e weren’t too mushy). However, it was a bit spicy (which we were informed of beforehand). It’s just a bit unorthodox in the approach.
Tee also had a side of mashed potatoes. This was a generous scoop and it was nice and buttery. Both Tee and I thought this was well executed and tasty.
Of course, I always save some room for dessert. So we shared a creme brulee with a flaming twist!
Yup, this was a new flare to a classic dessert.
I’ll never complain about some added FIRE to anything. 🙂
The creme brulee was soft and creamy. It had a nice flavor and was a nice way to end the meal.
We did notice that service was pretty slow at times and even overheard some people waiting up to an hour to get a salad.
Chef Geoff came over part way through our dinner and gave us an inside take on his approach. He explained that his menu was composed of different world cuisine that he’s encountered while deployed in different parts of the world. So, that explained the pretty eclectic mix of dishes you see here on the menu.
The restaurant has been open for just about a year and was a spinoff of Chef Geoff’s catering business. He also runs a few other businesses which are food related.
Chef and Tee were able to talk fluidly about the Navy, but most of the acronyms and references floated way above my civilian head… hehe.
Chef Geoff was definitely personable, but we both felt that the overall restaurant experience needed to level up to match the marketing and reference to a true “‘Admiral’s experience”. The good news is there is potential to make it a great experience and we wish them the best.
*Please note our meals were comped, but our opinions remain our own. A special thanks to Hillary for setting this up.
7407 Jackson Dr
San Diego, CA 92119
2 Comments on “Admiral’s Restaurant – San Carlos / La Mesa”
Thanks for sharing your review. Always eager to try new restaurants in the La Mesa area. Sometimes they are hit or miss. I’m a sucker for creme brûlée so I may have to go in just for the dessert.
That sounds like a solid plan, Natasha! 🙂