Good but Expensive
Posted on 11 / 13 / 2010
Spread said that they were unusually booked, so we felt lucky to be in when I called for reservations. We arrived a few minutes after 6 pm and had to rap on the locked door; they reluctantly let us in. For a while we were the only ones in the restaurant and wondered what the big fuss was about. By the time we left about 7 pm, they were almost full. They had one portable menu that they were finishing up, so we had to wait until that was done before we could decide on what to order. Only one table can look at the menu at a time. After we had ordered, we had some time to read the Happy Cow/VegOut reviews on my mobile app. This was a good thing as we were able to prepare ourselves for the small portions. I did notice that there was a disparity between the reviews. It was obvious that the restaurant stakeholders had included their own reviews (the chef works really hard, repeated mentions of fresh local organic produce, threats to leave San Diego because patrons are cheap, etc.). But seriously, do people really believe that all produce is picked that day? If you go to the farmer's market at 9 am, there's no way people are picking produce that morning at 5 am. Try the day before. Oh and one reviewer said they ate at places all over the country, yet Spread was the best. Apparently, they had never hit SF or NYC for fine vegan dining, or they're a Spread owner/chef.
We had an artichoke pasta dish and pureed cauliflower with veggies (these 2 items were $37 - yikes). To be fair they were both really good, but the pasta was swimming in oil and the cauliflower was drizzled (drenched?) with oil and we each had one bite was way too salty. The reviews were helpful in helping us decide NOT to order dessert. I liked the decor (lots of contrasts, the casual dress of the wait staff/owners (all in Spread t-shirts and jeans) but table cloths and cloth napkins, the modern clean look of the furniture and walls but dead tree branches hanging down from the ceiling, etc. The plastic pool chairs were nicer to look at than sit in, but weren't that uncomfortable.
In summary, the food was beautiful, creative, and tasty, but too much oil and at times too much salt. Slightly overpriced. The decor was okay, but it did get noisy once the dining room filled up, the wait staff/owner were great, but they need to invest in at least another chalk board (which was sometimes moved out to the sidewalk) or a couple of Etch-a-Sketches. All but one of the selections could be veganized.
Friendly Staff, Great Food, Vegan Friendly
Very Oily, Expensive, Difficult Parking