Bonding with the Link

Last night was my fourth visit to the Linkery, after three visits in three weeks in January, so I think it’s about time that I weigh in on that little joint. It’s definitely not the swankiest, most high-brow food that I’ve eaten, but there are a lot of things to love. Their attitude towards food and community is just fantastic, the menu is well-thought-out, and the food is not pretentious. Plus, the servers (male & female) are hot.

At the Linkery, they use sourced, seasonal ingredients. They make their own sausages and grind their own hamburger meat, which makes for just about the best burger I’ve ever had. They bill it as the “Complete Burger” and I agree that it’s not missing anything. When I had this burger on my first visit, it was topped with pineapple, rocket, grilled onions, bacon, gouda, and a fried egg. Mmmmm. Now they’ve added some amazing house-pickled beets to the stack. They are confident about grilling their burgers to medium-rare, since the meat is fresh and ground in house, and that makes for one spectacularly juicy burger—expect juices running down your fingers and onto your plate, or, if you’re like me, your pants, your sleeves, and the table.

They used to be closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays for revamping the menu, but recently they’ve switched over to 7-day service. They also changed the menu a bit. It used to be that most of it would change every week, with a few items (sausage tacos, burger) showing up regularly. Now, the menu is split into two parts: standards and “market selections” (of which there are just as many as standards). The standard menu items can be found every time you stop by the Linkery, while the market selections part renews itself every Thursday.

The standards part of the menu is again split into vegetarian and, well, “meaty.” The vegetarian part sports some tasty Blue Lake green beans which are grilled and then doused in a soy-ginger sauce, as well as a vegetable polenta stack and a Mexican-inspired vegetable lasagna. The meaty section includes link plates, where you can pick a link and they’ll pair it with a complementary side. Other options include that obscenely wonderful burger and a chaucroute plate (also not to be missed!). On your first visit to the Linkery, I’d recommend trying something that comes with links—they’re one of the things they do best, and you’re sure to be satisfied. (Caveat: skip the sausage tacos. They’re a bit boring and not the best showcase of the sausage.)

The market selections part of the menu is a compilation of specials put together for that week, based on what’s in season and what’s fresh. The owner, Jay, spends a lot of time travelling and bringing back fun goodies for the restaurant, goodies like booze and meat. The “fruits” of his travels and market runs assemble themselves into interesting dishes like pork terrine or wild mushroom pie at the hands of their chef, Rey. You can read all about what’s going on each week in Jay’s blog, Casing the Joint. Last night I introduced myself to Jay, since he already links here anyway, I figured I should let him know that I like what he’s doing. He chatted with my friends and me for a while, each of us oohing and drooling over various food items. He’s super friendly and obviously cares a lot about food and his customers, which was really great to see. As I’m from North Carolina, there was some chat about bbq, his upcoming visit there to get more pork, and great eateries in the Triangle. I should really get back there to visit my sister and eat some bbq (make sure to shake the sauce!) and banana puddin’ at Allen & Son, and get some home cookin’ at Mama Dips.

But back to he Linkery. They put as much energy into their drink menu as they put into the food menu. They just serve beer and wine, but let me tell you this is no ordinary beer and wine list. First of all, they have cask beer, which you definitely have to check out if you like beer. The selection last night was Alesmith X extra pale ale, and it was amazing. I’d never tried cask beer before, and it was an incredible flavor experience—very fresh and almost citrusy even. The rest of the beer and wine list is made up of boutique choices and is ever-morphing, depending on what Jay can get his hands on. Again, check his blog for what’s happening now.

The dessert menu seems relatively stable, but they change the flavors of various components regularly. In January, I had the deadly chocolate torte, which has since been replaced with a warm chocolate cake. I also had the Pink Lady apple & persimmon grilled pound cake and when it begged me to have it again on my second visit, it was just as delicious, though the flavor that time was just Pink Lady apple (the current flavor is mango). On my third visit, they had added Oaxacan chocolate ice cream with cocoa nibs to the list, and it is sublime. In fact, it’s so great that I couldn’t stop myself from ordering some Mayordomo Chocolate from Melissa Guerra when I got home last night so that I can try to make some for myself. I’ll let you know how that turns out, but in the meantime, stop by and let Jay serve you some.

The Linkery
3382 30th St
San Diego, CA 92104
(619) 255-8778

3 Comments

  1. Posted March 30, 2007 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

    I need to go back to the Linkery and try their non-sausage menu items. I’m a huge sausage fan and wasn’t impressed with the 3 I tried. Maybe it was an off night? Also, the lighting is way too dark for me. So maybe an early dinner would be better. That’s a great review and gives me some ideas of what to try. Btw, thanks for the great comment on my last post. I posted a reply to it on my blog. Have a great weeken!

  2. Posted April 2, 2007 at 11:00 pm | Permalink

    Hey, no badmouthing the sausage tacos. They’re one of my favorites. Plus, there’s a fine cross-cultural irony in this dish.

  3. Posted April 2, 2007 at 11:19 pm | Permalink

    Kady – Yeah, I think that maybe some of the sausages are hit and miss? Plus Jay seems to have been stepping up several factors for consistency and quality lately, so maybe give the Linkery another go!

    Doug – Really? Maybe it depends on the kind of sausage. I just found them a little boring. But everyone has different tastes!


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