Downtown San Diego is in a state of constant flux. It’s hard to keep up with all the restaurant openings and decide on a new place to explore. While some locals reserve the downtown area for the tourists and conventioneers, it’s always good to keep up with the restaurant scene especially when friends come to visit with requests of where to chow down. I have my list of favorite eateries, but I also like to try new-to-me places like Analog Bar. I’ve had my eye on Analog since last year, and as luck would have it, I was invited last month to check out their revamped menu.
The décor at Analog is lo-fi cool with warm wood interiors, leather-wrapped booths and records and tape cassettes adorning the walls. Dressing up to hang out at Analog is not necessary – just put on your most ironic concert t-shirt or anything black and you’re pretty much good to go.
There was no wrong decision in the appetizers we tried. The blue and brie cheese sandwiches accompanied with a tomato-pesto bisque ($9) could be a meal in itself. The pan-fried brussels sprouts came with generous cubes of crisp pancetta and copious amounts of cheese ($9). Four pieces of bacon-wrapped cheddar-stuffed medjool dates ($5) and three mini lobster corn dogs ($12) were equally as good. Even the stuffed dates were pretty tasty, helped by bacon (some people in the party initially resisted them). Reminder to self, bacon makes anything palatable.
The main entrée had more mixed opinions.
Of what we ordered, the grilled sterling silver hanger steak ($22) was the clear winner, illicting envious comments from around the table as the large platter was set down. The cooked-to-order hanger steak was perfectly medium, accompanied by small potatoes and French cut green beans to round it out. While the burger ($13) was impressive, the patty was unseasoned and lackluster despite the peppered bacon and garlic aioli. Other items ordered but not tried (by me) were short rib sliders ($12), which my friend said was a tad too sweet, and orange sesame glazed salmon ($15), which was just described as tasting like well-seasoned salmon.
We passed on dessert, although the butterscotch pudding looked enticing.
Lesson learned from Analog: stick with appetizers to share and order the hanger steak if you need something more substantial. And true to their motto, their drinks were definitely strong. Happy hour at Analog is Tuesday to Friday from 5-7 p.m. and features specials on drinks and half-off select appetizers.
Despite the lively musical accompaniments (DJ spin tunes throughout the week and karaoke on Saturdays), it’s fortunately not one of those places where talking over dinner and drinks is next to impossible— they somehow manage to keep the sound manageable in the restaurant.
Disclaimer: All opinions are my own. I was not compensated for this review.
801 5th Avenue
San Diego, CA 92101
I’ve passed this place too thinking they only served drinks but the interior looks cool. I will have to remember it when headed downtown — if only parking was easy.
The exterior looks familiar. I wonder what Analog replaced?
And ooh, butterscotch pudding? Bert and I might just have to pay a visit just for that dessert alone!
It appears that many corner restaurants downtown look similar over the years for us San Diego natives. I need to go back and try their desserts!