In the seven years since introducing Soda & Swine to San Diego, CH Projects has spawned a clutch of flashy, attention-grabbing venues, from swanky steakhouse Born & Raised to bonkers brunch hub Morning Glory. Earlier this summer, it refocused on one of its first-born, rebooting the Adams Avenue restaurant with a makeover and an entirely new menu.
Never afraid of a little kitsch, the group has redecorated the open air dining room with the trademarks of a throwback Italian joint, from hanging garlands of garlic to straw basket-wrapped bottles of chianti and a liberal sprinkling of candelabras dripping with wax; all that’s missing are red checkered tablecloths.
It’s a fitting setting for the Italian comfort classics now being served at Soda & Swine in a style described as “badass Italian grandma” by newly-installed executive chef Jordana Francisco (MIHO Catering). The menu no longer offers different kinds of meatballs, just one gold standard version made with beef and veal that’s served on a family-sized platter of spaghetti or as the base of a smashed meatball burger or patty melt. A vegan meatball option is still available.
Other cozy dishes include cheese-stuffed pasta shells, a 12-hour bolognese sauce with spaghetti, eggplant parmesan, and a giant grilled cheese with a side of marinara that’s big enough for four. Regulars who miss the previous menu can request a few holdovers, including the mac and cheese and Brussels sprouts.
Up next for the brand is another Soda & Swine opening at UCSD where it’ll replace Porter’s Pub; it will offer this menu as well as breakfast. CH Projects’ Jon Francese says the group will be giving a similar refresh to the Liberty Station outpost later this fall.