Kensington Grill serves up gourmet treats

Lauren J. Mapp, Editor-in-Chief

Kensington Grill, located in Kensington at 4055 Adams Ave., may appear to be a small restaurant in a cozy San Diegan neighborhood, but its quality of food and service far outweigh the restaurants downtown.

A swanky but rustic interior welcomes patrons, while the relaxing but hip music meanders through the air. Patio, bar and dining room seating are available to ensure comfort for whatever dining style one prefers.

Happy hour specials are from 5-7 p.m. every day and include discounts on wine, draft beer, sangria and cocktails. Notable weekly deals include two-for-one “bites” on Tuesday nights and half-off wine bottles on Wednesday nights.

Speaking of drinks, the cocktail menu is one of their best features; you haven’t had a dirty martini until you’ve tried Ken Grill’s “dirty bleu” made with Blue Ice potato vodka, olive juice and a gorgonzola stuffed olive.

As a starter, pick three, four or five of the unique bruschetta appetizers for board platters. The apple, lemon marjoram ricotta and pepita aptly combines sweet and savory flavors, while the burrata, tomato and basil bruschetta drizzled with balsamic vinegar balance the other well.

Gorgonzola buffalo tots kick up the appetizer menu and are great for sharing – or hogging to oneself. Served with a creamy buffalo sauce, these bundles of cheesy-potato joy are rolled in breadcrumbs before taking a bath in hot oil to reach their crispy perfection.

Salad options are refreshing yet anything but boring. One pairs wild arugula with juicy chunks of melon, gorgonzola cheese and candied hazelnuts while another choice combines manchego cheese, dates, endive and prosciutto. Both distract the diner from the fact that they’re eating a salad because these colorful and delicious compositions satisfy the consumer.

Once you’ve gotten your fill of appetizers and cocktails, it’s time to dive into the dinner menu at Ken Grill.

The hungriest of patrons can sink their teeth into the hearty wild game meatloaf burger. Served on a brioche bun with caramelized onions and red pepper aioli, this burger is hard not to inhale in one bite. Unfortunately this burger can’t be ordered to your desired temperature since it’s a slice of meatloaf, but it is so flavorful that it doesn’t need to be served rare.

Coconut broth, kaffir lime and a touch of coriander transform the bowl of mussels into an unprecedented delight. Try the herb-roasted salmon with tomato, braised cauliflower and basil butter for something a little healthier.

Dessert at Ken Grill is executed just as well as the rest of their menu items.  Happiness might be a “warm gun” to John Lennon, but in Kensington happiness is in the form of their banana bread pudding. It transforms a recipe that traditionally uses stale bread into a gourmet treat that will break your heart when you realize your dining companion has stolen the last bite.

Gorgonzola buffalo tots, served with a creamy buffalo sauce, are a perfect appetizer to share at Kensington Grill. Photo by: Lauren J. Mapp/Editor-in-Chief