First Avenue Bar & Grille – New York Personality Sans the Attitude

| September 6, 2012 | 0 Comments

Brittany Battistoni, chef de cuisine, and Christian Biscocho, general manager, share a passion for food and the restaurant business.

This past month a guest and I were invited to a menu tasting at the First Avenue Bar & Grille, located at 1055 First Avenue in downtown San Diego at the Bristol Hotel. The venue is sophisticated, yet comfortable. There’s an intimate bar off to the left as you enter the restaurant. Casual meals are served in the lounge, or, you can enjoy your meals in the main dining room, which is what we elected to do.

I will start by saying that the staff at the First Avenue Bar & Grille is first class. They are engaging and caring. From the moment we arrived to our late departure, the wait staff, chef and general manager made us feel part of their extended family.

Christian Biscocho, general manager, and Brittany Battistoni, chef de cuisine, were very gracious and interested in our impressions of the restaurant, food, drinks and our overall experience. We said we would be glad to offer our feedback.

To start the meal, we shared thyme twice-cooked Yukon gold fries and calamari with spicy smoked pepper aioli as an appetizer. They were flavorful, and because of the large portions, could easily be considered a stand alone meal.

However, I also tried the grilled local sea bass with calamari, mussels, charred tomato saffron broth, leeks, potatoes and grilled ciabatta. It was delicious, flavorful and dissolved with each bite. I learned that all meals are prepared with local, fresh fish, meat, produce and fruit. Processed food isn’t allowed in the kitchen. I can definitely attest to the fact that the food is fresh and flavorful.

Then came the homemade dessert. We shared a pomegranate-citrus sorbet with blue berries. It was amazing.

If we weren’t already full to capacity, we were invited to try their bread pudding with chocolate. As difficult as it was to take another bite, I quickly decided this had to be the best bread pudding that I’d ever had. It melts in your mouth and is robust with flavors. What a great way to end the meal.

I’ve already complemented the staff. However, I think it’s important to reiterate that everyone we met was personable and eager to please. That alone makes this establishment an exception.

At the same time, the ambience of the venue and the selection and quality of food make this our “A” list choice. We definitely will return.

First Avenue Bar & Grille is open for breakfast, dinner and happy hour seven days a week; lunch is served Monday through Friday. For more information, visit

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