The daughter who eats anchovies and huitlacoche

Well, it was the Westgate

I first ate there on prom night.
  • I first ate there on prom night.

It was time for a little father-daughter bonding and what better place than a drag show?

The Westgate Room

Westgate Hotel, 1055 Second Avenue, Downtown San Diego

Exactly! That’s why I had no problem when my daughter asked to go to Werq The World, featuring drag queens from RuPaul’s Drag Race at the Balboa Theater.

Caesar salad made table-side

Caesar salad made table-side

But I wanted to balance the show with some dining class so we decided to go the Westgate Room at the Westgate Hotel on Second Avenue.

The hotel exterior tends to be mid-century concrete, the prevalent style for many buildings north of Broadway, but since I first ate there as a teenager on prom night, the Westgate Room has always made me feel like one of the upper crust.

My daughter was impressed at how the waiter quietly cleaned the crumbs off the table near the end of the meal, and we were both impressed by the food. Yet the Westgate Room’s decor is stodgy (people who still own opera glasses might like this place).

Kurobuta pork chop

Kurobuta pork chop

We started out sharing the Caesar Salad ($12), made tableside by the waiter. My daughter was a little nervous when I insisted on the anchovies in the salad.

Ceviche trio – shrimp,  scallops, uni

Ceviche trio – shrimp, scallops, uni

The salad was crisp, cool, and tangy. The romaine leaves popped with freshness. My daughter developed an appreciation for anchovies.

Key lime semifreddo with cubed pineapple

Key lime semifreddo with cubed pineapple

Freshness was in abundance in the ceviche trio ($14): The shrimp and scallops were pleasantly briny; my daughter and I bonded over the uni.

“It tastes like the sea!” she exclaimed.

“The sea if some lime was squeezed on it,” I added.

For our entrees, my daughter got the bourbon glazed Kurobuta pork chop ($36), which was covered with a green apple foam and served with cauliflower grits.

At first, my daughter liked it so much, she wanted to share bites with me. Then she liked it so much, she wouldn’t share any of it with me.

The scallop-scallop risotto ($23) included tomatillo salsa over the creamy rice was a revelation and the addition of huitlacoche, corn fungus with an earthy taste.

For dessert, the key lime semifreddo with cubed pineapple was exactly the citrusy sweetness I needed to top off rich food.

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