8384 La Mesa Boulevard, La Mesa
“I could swim in a sea of that.”
That was my seven-year-old son’s reaction after tasting the boeuf bourguignon at BO-beau La Mesa.
Can’t argue with him, the beefy French-inspired stew has a rich meaty flavor that coats the tongue down to the tummy. Unlike other boeuf bourguignons, which are usually a lovely dark purple from being braised in wine, BO-beau adds fresh green beans for color and a slight crunch.
My son isn’t a picky eater, but he is particular. He was thrilled to see the menu offered a kids-size portion of steak, along with the usual boring butter noodles, quesadilla, and chicken nuggets that are the standard options for kids at most eateries.
BO-beau La Mesa is not a family restaurant in the stereotypical sense of the word. It’s a nice restaurant that food-loving adults can take kids to without the ankle biters getting frustrated, cranky, or bored.
If Mom and Dad feel like having an adult conversation, there’s a refurbished bus in the corner where the kids can play until their meals arrive.
My 10-year-old daughter, who enjoys watching the Food Network almost as much as the Disney Channel, had a fun time with her brother while waiting for her mussels and fries. There are three varieties, but we enjoyed the classic garlic tomato (with lots of bread to sop it up).
The signature appetizer at Bo-beau La Mesa and its sister restaurant in Ocean Beach is the Brussels sprouts cooked with pancetta in a balsamic port reduction before being topped with parmesan.
My kids had a mock fight over who got the last one.
I tried the buttermilk fried chicken on the recommendation of one of my oldest friends. It was moist and the cauliflower mash was a nice variation to the more predictable mashed potatoes. However, despite the delicious presence of shishito peppers and Sriracha sauce, the chicken was not as spicy as I would have liked.
The roasted black cod gets high marks for its pleasant brininess, which comes from capers, lemon and white wine sauce.
The vegetarian entrée currently available is spaghetti squash, which is baked with hazelnuts, green beans, cremini mushrooms, parmesan and white balsamic vinaigrette.
The vinaigrette adds bracing acidity and my wife enjoyed the dish (which she had with an egg added on top), but thought there were too many mushrooms for her taste. Your mileage may vary.
Earlier, I mentioned how much fun the bus is for kids. There is plenty of fun to be had for adults as well. There’s an outdoor sand bar in the patio. It’s literally a concrete bar filled with sand and some toy Matchbox cars.
Kids can play with the sand if they stand on a chair, but it’s mostly popular with slightly tipsy adults who play aimlessly while enjoying cocktails.
There are some lip-smacking drinks at BO-beau, including a variation on the Moscow Mule that has grapefruit and the “La Mesa Lemonade” which was able to transport me from a chilly December night to a warm July afternoon just like that.
“This seriously tastes like La Mesa,” I told my wife.
“You’ve had too many,” she said.
“Maybe,” I agreed. “Good thing we live close by.”