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DINING REVIEW: A door worth knocking on in Mission Hills

When Trish Watlington proclaims her Red Door Restaurant and Wine Bar serves farm-to-table food, she is not talking about purchasing tomatoes and carrots from the local farmers markets. Instead, she nurtures a decent-sized garden at her Mount Helix home, where things like kale, radish, eggplant and lettuce ripen before ending up in the restaurant’s kitchen.

Her newly appointed executive chef, Miguel Valdez, said he could not be happier.

“I love home cooking from scratch. I never before had access to a wonderful garden like this,” he said, while pointing to the micro basil and super-fresh deep-green Swiss chard lacing my red quinoa salad. A wedge of iceberg lettuce sitting beneath my companion’s nose had also originated from Watlington’s plot, as did the snappy radishes mingling with pickled onions. Even draped in creamy homemade buttermilk dressing, the organics remained bright and crisp.

The exceptional salad offerings extend further to medleys using romaine, arugula and baby beets. Consider them a telling clue to the impressively homey entrees that Valdez has mastered since taking over the kitchen after cooking stints at Anthology and The Glass Door.

Read the full review in Gay San Diego, a SDGLN media partner, HERE.