The Smoking Goat
3408 30th Street
Photo by Amanda Friedman, AFAR Media
The Smoking GoatAlthough the Smoking Goat is credited with pioneering a culinary renaissance in a once-sleepy corner of North Park, nothing else about chef Fred Piehl’s flagship restaurant screams “culinary vanguard”—and that’s precisely what devotees love about the place. Regulars come here for the reliably exquisite staples: French onion soup with what’s essentially an open-face grilled cheese sandwich afloat in rich veal broth; duck fat truffle fries with pecorino romano and mustard aioli; beef cheeks à la Bourguignonne with carrots, cioppolini onions, cherry tomatoes, mashed potatoes, and braising jus; and other creations that blend traditional French tastes with sustainable, organic San Diego–sourced ingredients. While dinner at this rustic, romantic spot is hardly the time to eat lightly, if you want to go vegetarian, opt for the indulgent raclette au gratin with fingerling potatoes, cornichons, and toast, along with a salad of poached and raw pears with mixed greens, pistachio pesto, and champagne vinaigrette. And as befits the restaurant’s caprine theme, the goat cheese cheesecake with poached peach and whipped cream is a favorite dessert.