A roofless meatball shop linked to a gold-accented cocktail parlor sounds like a peculiar combo, but it works well at one street corner in Normal Heights, or is it North Park?
On the Polite Provisions side, bands of hipsters in plaid mingle with a rowdy Hawaiian shirt-clad crowd, bonding over a shared love of fancy $8 elixirs with ingredients like housemade grapefruit soda, Blanco tequila, London dry gin, organic mint and celery bitters. Around the corner lies Soda & Swine, a quieter and more casual scene filled with brick and wood. Groups of friends and families line the long tables, ordering affordable bites (about $3 to $10) from a walk-up counter.
What connects the two seemingly hot spots is a steady stream of beef, pork and quinoa meatballs, roasted Brussels, Scotch eggs and fried pizza knots parading out of Soda & Swine's kitchen doors and into the mouths of hungry and buzzed Polite Provisions patrons. Ordering grub right from their marble tables saves them the yards-away trek – and need to leave their Tropical Honey Punch bowls unattended.
And now, in a new edition of Good News/Bad News, here's a look at what the critics, Yelpers, bloggers and commenters across the internet have been saying about Consortium Holdings' Soda & Swine and Polite Provisions. Have you taste-tested both? Weigh in with your thoughts in the comments.
Soda & Swine
The Five-Star News: This Facebooker raves about it all, from the fireplace and shiny red stools to the apple pie and polenta. "Everything from the food, to the decor, to the service and eclectic wood business cards was five stars. Aces all around friends!" [Facebook]
The Meaty Good News: The U-T's Keli Dailey gave the signature "Swine" meatball -- packed with pork, chipotle and pepperjack – two thumbs up and compares the joint to Brooklyn's Meatball Shop, which is "famous for the build-your-own meatball slider or sub, pick-a-sauce, add-cheese, get-a-homey-side-dish, eat-in-a-very-cool-modest-hipster-space concept." [U-T]
The Weekend Eating News: Brunch launched in the spring, and San Diego Magazine is a fan of the German-style oven baked pancakes, which come sweet or savory: "Executive Chef Jason McLeod says they're like a hybrid between a souffle and a Yorkshire pudding: essentially, a fat crepe." [San Diego Magazine]
The Prized Pig News: Restaurant Hospitality just placed a blue ribbon on The Hog submarine, which has chorizo chipotle and mozzarella: "What makes its meatballs excel is the care and quality that goes into the grind of multiple, excellent-quality meats." [Restaurant Hospitality]
The Not So Much News: This blogger wasn't knocked out by the meatball-centric menu, saying, "if you're going to just offer one thing, it should be really good, and what we had just wasn't that great. It could have been that they were overwhelmed, it could have been that they're still working things out in the kitchen - but the bottom line is I am in no big hurry to rush back there for another meatball, and since there's nothing else to try, I'm in no hurry to rush back period." [Alice Q. Foodie]
The Bitter News: One Yelper is less than impressed: "Polite Provisions is just a pretentious venue that just offers a nice ambiance, overpriced cocktails where you don't know the exact ingredients, and pricey punch bowls that are essentially a $35 bowl of jungle juice." [Yelp]
The Pace Yourself News: Tackle the long list of spirited, champagne, beer and dessert cocktails one at a time: "Don't be intimidated by the draft list and large selection of craft cocktails. Just commit to tasting a few of them each visit." [FourSquare]
The Seat Real Estate News: This Yelper had a hard time finding a stool or bench to park her rear: "I don't necessarily think it's "bad" if the place is busy...it's usually an indicator of a good thing." The tasty concoctions created by cocktail master Erick Castro make up for the wait: "I really like the drinks...very Craft and Commerce-y but I don't have to go all the way to Little Italy." [Yelp]
The Seeing is Believing News: This blogger says, "Polite Provisions is immaculately decorated: marble countertops, velvet cushioned stools, intricate wood inlays and bronze statues inhabit this area ? No amount of photos do justice to this place." [My Burning Kitchen]
· Soda & Swine [Official Site]
· Polite Provisions [Official Site]