Indigo Grill Offers Alternative to Italian Cuisine in Little Italy

Photo Credit: Lauren J. Mapp
Amidst an endless sea of Italian restaurants in San Diego’s Little Italy district, an alternative to the traditional fare of the neighborhood lies in Indigo Grill’s American-inspired cuisine.
Located in Little Italy at 1536 India St., this Cohn Restaurant is run by restaurant industry veteran Chef Deborah Scott and features dishes that are varied in origin throughout the Americas. From Alaska to the Southwest, the result of the menu and décor is an eclectic mixture of themes and flavors.
Upon entering the restaurant, guests are welcomed by an indoor “tree,” wood floors, a stylish bar and an open view of the kitchen. Masks, glass, metal and brick details balance out the wood, giving the restaurant a feeling of culture.
Happy hour is Monday through Friday, from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. – and it includes a selection of $4 beers, $5 glasses of wine and well drinks for $6, as well as a selection of happy hour bar appetizers.
Though the ginger mojito seems promising, it tips the scale toward being too sweet. The overabundance of sugar overpowers the flavor of the ginger and rum in the cocktail, making this a drink that deserves being skipped over.
Indigo Grill’s beet salad with orange segments, shaved fennel, beets, spinach, lime-caraway seed vinaigrette and cotija cheese offers both the wintery root vegetable elements with the sweetness of summer. The beets in this salad were overcooked, so a burnt undertone overrides the earthy notes.
If it comes down to the choice between a salad and an appetizer, the sweet corn tamale makes the decision an easy one to make. With braised chicken thigh, crispy chicken crackling and guajillo chili butter, the tamale is flavorful and moist with each bite, unlike many tamales that are only flavorful due to the filling in the center.
While Indigo Grill may not feature a traditional Italian dish, it isn’t totally devoid of the irresistible, carbohydrate-filled dish that stars in the daydreams of many dieters.
Grilled salmon, lightly coated in a teriyaki-like sauce, is served on an alder wood plank with thick squid ink pasta in a lightly spiced cream sauce. A pico di gallo-style, cucumber-dill salad – a mix of chopped cucumbers, bell peppers, onions and dill – completes this dish, adding a cooling element to the hot salmon and spicy pasta.
As probably one of the tallest plates that you can sink your teeth into in San Diego, the kaffir-lime duck will impress you with its extravagant plate presentation and complex flavor diversity.
Served with a goat cheese risotto cake that could end a friendship if you try to split it, the initial aw from plate presentation is blown out of the water with the flavor of the duck and its sides. A spinach salad with onion and bacon sprawls out in the corner, and a zucchini skewer complete the plate, giving you quite a serving of vegetables to nimble on between bites of the succulent duck.
For dessert, try Indigo Grill’s chocolate pistachio torte with raspberry sorbet. Though more accurately described as a frozen chocolate ganache with a layer of pistachio gelato, the flavor was good, but could have better featured the pistachio element a little more prominently.

This article was originally published by the National University Herald on March 1, 2014

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