Review by The East County Eater
December 10, 2013 (San Diego) -- The Bridges Bar/Grill/Bay at 4800 Art Way (off El Cajon Boulevard near 63rd Street) in the SDSU College area has it all. A spacious sports bar with upscale and delicious food, specialty drinks, great local brews and excellent wines, Bridges is the perfect place for the East County Eater, who expects something special when dining out.
Open for just over a year, Bridges is named for the seven bridges across the San Francisco Bay and delivers on the promise of Bay Area quality dining. The restaurant is so-named because owner/CEO Salvatore hails from San Francisco and most of the seafood recipes come from that region. Palma has a vision of an upscale and friendly sports bar with a menu reminiscent of the Bay Area. Bridges is just a few blocks from SDSU, but the atmosphere is 500 miles away to the north where great dining, seafood and sports combine for an upscale metropolitan experience.
For those of us who have traveled to the City by the Bay, the ambiance is much appreciated.
General Manager Reggie Waller told me that presentation is a source of pride for the restaurant. While customers know they are in a sports bar with TVs, interactive games and a pool table in another room, they will be transported by Bridges’ upscale food and drinks menus and expansive space--classy but comfortable.
Bridges’ unique menu offerings include Fisherman’s Wharf Crab; a Po’ Boy Sandwich that includes grilled Andouille sausage, fried shrimp& calamari, provolone, and more; a Bacon Pepperjack Macaroni dish and a Roasted Artichoke Clam Chowder. That list names only a few items offered along with appetizers such as crab cakes and Ahi tostadas, burgers, sandwiches and wraps, a variety of quesadillas, chicken, sliders (including tasty crab, pulled pork, chicken and beef), salads, soups, and desserts.
Chef Miguel Deer is responsible for the delicious fare served up at Bridges. He has a culinary background that includes former Cohn restaurant Dakota Grill, the Baleen Restaurant at Paradise Point, and Tower 23 with owner Brett Miller.
A Happy Hour menu of drink specials, such as a Thin Mint Martini with Baileys is available, among well cocktails and beer specials. Bridges’ Happy Hour Menu of tapas is served at the bar with reasonable prices and several scrumptious choices. Our favorites were the Grilled Sirloin Kabobs for $4, Ahi Sashimi for $5, and Spicy Garlic Shrimp for $5. No, that’s not a typo, great appetizers for five dollars or less.
The Ahi Sashimi tops their list of tapas with sesame crusted fresh Ahi served with sliced tomatoes, red onions, and avocado atop wonton crisps and garnished with julienne carrots, bell peppers, green peppers, & spicy Thai peanut sauce.
Next, the Grilled Sirloin Kabobs--cubes of top sirloin skewered with sautéed bell peppers, onions and mushrooms--come drizzled with teriyaki sauce and garnished with scallions and sesame seeds.
Five tail-on jumbo prawns sautéed with brandy, roasted garlic, red peppers and paprika served with toast points and garnished with chopped parsley and lemon makes up the bowl of Spicy Garlic Shrimp with sauce.
Manager Jesse Kovacs suggested beer from one of the many local micro-breweries that make San Diego the Napa Valley of beers. I picked the Lagunitas from Lagunitas Brewery in Petaluma near San Francisco. The beer is dark in color but light in intensity and perfect with the Grilled Sirloin Kabobs.
We must not forget that besides a full bar, Bridges’ serves some of the world’s finest and even legendary brews like Guinness. Examples are Blue Moon Belgian White, Newcastle Brown Ale, Anchor Cali Lager, Fat Tire Amber Ale, Samuel Adams Oktoberfest Marzen, and Angry Orchard Apple Cider.
For desert – Guinness Float! Three scoops of vanilla ice cream in Guinness Ale with whipped cream and caramel – OMG. Another amazing dessert is the B-52 bananas foster-- bananas served with Grand Marnier-stuffed waffle, drizzled with a Kahlua reduction and Bailey's whipped cream, then garnished with candied almonds --pure Nirvana.
As a sports bar, Bridges provides extensive sports coverage with multiple screens, including pay-per-view boxing matches and UFC Championships. They host sports viewing parties and also serve as a venue for local bands on Friday nights from 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Bridges goes by the appellation “Bridges, Bar/Grill/Bay." Classy and comfortable are two adjectives to describe this restaurant, which is so much more than a sports bar. With an enticing menu, including an equally attractive and reasonably–priced Happy Hour menu, for food adventurers and aficionados, Bridges connects the metro with the neighborhood pub.
You can visit Bridges Bar/Grill/Bay at www.BridgesSD.com.