In 1989, Hillary Clinton had a trace of a Southern accent, the Soviet Union was still the Soviet Union and Karl Strauss Brewing Company opened its flagship brewery restaurant in Downtown San Diego. The Soves would write their own country out of existence two years later, and Clinton's dialect evaporated soon after—but Strauss steadily expanded, along with Downtown's growth. What's the point? I have absolutely no idea, except maybe that all that recent global history is probably an appropriate bed for a piece on the 20th anniversary of a world-class eatery.
For two decades, the peeps at Karl Strauss have exploited beer's role in the enjoyment of a good meal, and so should you. Just like wine, beer pairs better with certain foods than with others—the Atlantic salmon filet, washed down with a big fat pint of Saison ale, is an ideal case in point. Salmon has an especially salty taste; a pale ale like Saison declares its presence in the meal without diminishing the salmon's flavor. The ahi poke, a Hawaiian dish featuring raw tuna, is as spicy as that porn DVD you're about to watch; any pick from the ale family will handsomely mute all that heat. And the neatest thing about the food is its plenitude—the $12-to-$20 entrées are easily shared by two.
Strauss' salmon dish is one of the best I've ever tasted—and I learned my way around salmon during my 17 years in Seattle. You, on the other hand, have only to get yourself to 1157 Columbia St. between 10 a.m. and 11 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 11 a.m. and 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. Sundays to see what I'm talking about. Call 619-234-2739 and find out more about the 20th-anniversary specials and events.
—Martin Jones Westlin