Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Tiger! Tiger! - North Park

Tiger! Tiger! ** See Editor's Note Below** The first thing I noticed about the menu at Tiger! Tiger! was how much it looked like the menu at one of my favorite places to eat - the Hog Island Oyster Co. in San Francisco (at the Ferry Building.) They're not using Heath Plates and you're not looking out over the San Francisco Bay, but the front side of the simple menu offering oysters on the half shell, a clam and corn chowder, Oysters Rockefeller, and a few simple artisanal salads rang some bells in a good way.

I had heard about the restaurant the day before from some friends who attended their soft opening. When I saw the words beer, sandwiches and oysters, I hijacked already existing plans with my friend Vince and dragged him here instead of Cafe Chloe for their first Friday lunch. TT uses the same ordering system as Blind Lady Ale House, the other restaurant owned by this group of friends (two couples, actually.) You walk up to the counter, place your order and get a number to take to a table. The room has  a classic "beer hall" layout, with two rows of long picnic tables with attached benches running the length of the room.  Much of the food is cooked in a large wood-burning oven that dominates the kitchen area. (I don't know about you but I'm drawn to a wood-burning oven like a moth to a flame.)  Like BLAH, TT offers a wide and ever-changing selection of beers. Since it was a work day, we didn't really indulge... much... but you'll find a great selection of local and artisanal brews to satisfy your thirst.
Tiger! Tiger! We started with their oysters on the half shell, served with lime granita, pickled chiles and micro-cilantro. Hog Island serves theirs with a cup of pickled chile mignonette, which these flavors echoed nicely. I tend to prefer for my oysters to come naked and add the condiments myself, but I thought the additions on these were well balanced.  James went a night or two later and thought the lime granita was too much, so you will have to be the judge for yourself.  The only thing I missed was some sourdough epi bread (Hog Island serves theirs with Acme.) They're baking their own breads here, so hopefully that will come along.
Tiger! Tiger! Next we were delivered a bowl of the corn, bacon and clam chowder - tender sweet clams and chunks of potato, in a light creamy broth studded with bacon and roasted corn kernels, served with a slice of house-baked levain bread on the side. The broth had a sweet, complex flavor and the clams were pretty darn perfect.  It looks a little skimpy on the clams, but I think I had already plucked at least one off before I remembered to take the picture.
Tiger! Tiger! Then came the sandwiches, a pork bahn mi and a fried oyster po'boy. Nobody likes a good sandwich more than I do, and I was pretty excited about these.  I did like the po'boy (though all that red onion was a little overwhelming) but the bahn mi was a bit of a disappointment.  I think it was supposed to be hot, but the meat had cooled by the time we bit into ours, and it was missing the funky-sweet pickled root vegetables and sweet mayonnaise that are (in my opinion at least) essential to a bahn mi.  Instead of the traditional baguette, it also came on a house-made torpedo roll.   It's hard to quibble with housemade fresh bread, but I missed the crunch of the baguette crust.
Tiger! Tiger! All of the sandwiches are served with these exceptionally good fresh, housemade potato chips.  You can't really tell from this picture, but there were both sweet potato and russet potato chips in there. They also offer several other sandwiches that sound intriguing -  like the croque madame, served with an optional bechamel sauce and fried egg.
Tiger! Tiger! Overall, given that this was literally the very first meal they served to paying customers, I thought they did a fine job. I'm looking forward to going back and trying some of their other sandwich offerings and the Oysters Rockefeller, which I hear are superb.

** Just wanted to note that Tiger! Tiger! has changed significantly since this post was written - this was basically their opening day, and they have refined and changed quite a bit in the intervening time.  It has become a favorite spot for brunch especially - one of these days I'll write a new updated post about it.*

Tiger! Tiger!
3025 El Cajon Blvd (near 30th)
San Diego, CA 92104

Check out their Beer Week Schedule - November 3-9.
Dinner only. Closed Mondays.  (They are starting lunch service Fri-Sat. soon, if not already)

1 comment:

  1. We went to Tiger Tiger last weekend not even realizing it was still in soft opening. We had a great salad (persimmon maybe?), the po'boy and the bahn mi. I liked the bahn mi but the po'boy I thought was pretty fishy tasting and a little dry. Our friends said the same about the sliders but they also liked their salad which might have been a Caesar. We all loved the chips and the beer was great, too. I'd try it again once things are more settled.