Located in a business park on the edge of the Bay Ho neighborhood is Kitchen 4140. Helmed by Executive Chef and owner Kurt Metzger, it’s a farm-to-table restaurant with an American flair for food. It makes use of its rather basic space by adding rustic touches of charm like wood panels, blue tiles, vibrant orange cloth napkins, and a stunning outdoor garden. I had the opportunity to dine on their brunch and more recently, summer dinner menu. Here’s how it went.
When you drive to Kitchen 4140, if you’re not vigilant, you could miss it. Located towards the end of Morena Boulevard, the dramatic orange arrow hanging off the side of the building helps newcomers detect the intimate eatery. The plus side of such a location is the parking. Two lots surround the space, and are never short of spots. Upon entering the restaurant, you’ll immediately notice the ample garden, as well as the dog house. Yes, a dog house for chef’s dog, which immediately signals to patrons that this place is pet-friendly. Candlelit outdoor patio seating with lights strung from above kicks this business park up several beautiful notches. The interiors are also impressive and unexpected; there’ s a private wine room, with a large wooden communal table, specially designed for wine and beer-pairing dinners, which Chef Metzger holds regularly.
As for the service, well, the best way I can describe it, is, odd. Everyone is friendly, has a pleasant demeanor about them, however, something’s off. The sense of urgency is slight, and the return of service is sometimes slow, but mostly, everyone’s just a bit socially awkward. For example, the thing you don’t expect to hear your hostess say upon arrival is; “We were just watching this Youtube video…and it was really funny.” Umm, okay, can I get a table? Thanks.
The appetizer we had could’ve been a meal itself; the Homage a la Fromage ($12) is essentially a fancy grilled cheese sandwich made with humboldt fog, aged cheddar, and taleggio cheese drizzled with black truffle oil, served on brioche bread, and served alongside a creamy smoked tomato soup. Decadent and filling, it’s best suited for a cold winter day, rather than a hot summer month. With that said, it’s incredibly flavorful and will definitely be crave-able come December.
For the main course, I enjoyed the smoked salmon risotto ($27). A well-cooked salmon steak is placed atop a giant portion of super-creamy risotto while a trifecta of summer colors; cherry tomatoes, asparagus and baby carrots are mixed in. While the meal is gratifying, the risotto was on the heavier side. Risotto is a naturally rich grain, and the added cream gave it a thick, ice cream-like consistency. The special that night was a grilled yellowtail. While beautifully presented; sprinkled with ginger, diced mango, and other gorgeous garnishes, it was basically a slice of fish with pretty décor. Grilled to perfection, it was light and flaky, but for nearly $50, I would’ve expected a starch, or really, any other piece of food on the plate. The best part of my meal was the dessert. A heaping portion of warm and bubbly berry cobbler is embedded beneath a giant dollop of vanilla gelato. Combined with a glass of bubbly, it makes for a delicious summer evening.
Kitchen 4140 has a steady following. On any given day, you’ll find parents looking to dine out with the kiddos, or dog owners enjoying a meal with their pet. It’s a convenient place for those who live or work in the surrounding Clairemont and BayHo neighborhoods.
Personally, I’d return for their brunch, where the prices are more reasonable, and they serve something I wish all brunch spots offered; brunch appetizers! Other than that, it’s up to you to decide whether the trip down to Kitchen 4140 is worth the investment.
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