Cross Over the Bridge to Experience Leroy’s Kitchen & Lounge

| December 2, 2012 | 0 Comments

There is a song that David Spatafore probably would like to hear played on radio and TV more often. It is a classic song, “Cross Over The Bridge,” which I enjoyed hearing Patti Page perform more years ago than I’d like to admit.

The delicious Washington coast coho salmon with a sweetness from apple and a cider reduction.

Spatafore probably would like to influence residents of San Diego and all its communities subliminally to venture across the Coronado Bridge to enjoy the many delights offered by that little appendage to our coastline, including the several restaurants he operates. He runs five brands in several locations. These include ice cream parlors, pizza places, barbeque place, coffee shop and the jewel in his crown – Leroy’s Kitchen & Lounge. They are all in Coronado. They all make it worthwhile to cross over the bridge.

Spatafore is a restaurant entrepreneur who relishes the challenges of new dining concepts. Why? “Because I want to have fun and I don’t need the headaches of managing businesses that are located too far away.”

Fun he does have. He travels extensively to seek out new dining ideas and tastes, not only in American cities like San Francisco and Philadelphia but also overseas, in Italy and other European countries.

Spatafore has a simple marketing approach – he gives back to his community with sponsorship and other programs that give him a high profile locally and keeps his restaurants busy. Many of his operations are also within a short distance from the Hotel Del and other tourist locales. Actually, everything on Coronado is pretty close.

Leroy’s serves a creative continental menu that features “farm to table” fresh produce and other products. The name derives from Spatafore’s cousin, Leroy, who speaks many languages and helps him find exciting dining ideas.

The “farm to table” approach brings new levels of fresh taste to the dishes created by and prepared by Executive Chef Gregory Chavez. You can find Chavez at the farms and at the local farmers markets choosing what to prepare. The menu changes often to reflect what he found. Now, in the midst of the fall season, fall vegetables are highlighted.

Chavez, who grew up in San Diego, trained at the Culinary Institute in San Francisco and worked and traveled in Hawaii and many other exotic destinations. He focuses his background to create unique and imaginative food combinations and tastes. Why work so hard? “I just want to have fun,” he said, echoing his owner’s approach to the business.

The restaurant’s interior offers something for everyone. A delightfully decorated small private dining room can accommodate a dozen or so partiers. A large comfortable bar runs across one side of the interior, leading to a small stage where entertainment is featured some week nights.

The restaurant is open long hours. An extensive brunch menu is offered midday on weekends that includes a Coho Salmon Benedict that is house-smoked and served with poached Niman eggs. One can while away the late afternoon at the social hour, enjoying drink and food specials. The truffle fries with parmesan and pomegranate ketchup sounds delightful. Lunch and dinner are served during conventional hours and the social hour repeats after dinner until closing at midnight. That’s great for the late night crowd.

Regarding drinks, the restaurant offers a large selection of local and distant craft beers. Don’t know what you like? Try a “beer flight” sample of three beers. The house made Sangria, made with Grand Marnier, is a tasty mélange of marinated fruit and wine. The custom cocktails are really delightful combinations of creative ingredients that titillate the palate.

The dinner menu is sectioned off as “bites,” “share,” “farm” and “mains.” The menu is relatively small but offers enough choices to satisfy. “Farm” lists the salads. The wedge was an appetizing chunk of cold lettuce drizzled with blue cheese and topped by large bacon chunks and heirloom tomato. The delicious Washington coast coho salmon balanced the solid flavor and texture of the fish with a sweetness from apple and a cider reduction. Mary’s brick roasted chicken (I wonder who Mary is) was an airport cut (breast and part of wing) wonderfully flavored portion that rested on a bean-chicken sausage-kale mixture base that left me scraping the plate for more.

Prices are moderate and really fair, given the quality of the ingredients and the impressive creativity of the preparation and presentation. It is a popular local restaurant and deserves its business and reputation. So, if you don’t live in Coronado, listen to Patti Page and “cross over the bridge.”

Leroys Kitchen & Lounge is located at 1015 Orange Avenue in Coronado. Call (619) 437-6087 ? for information and reservations.

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