The folks at The Regal Seagull have a good thing going. After the success of their first location, Mission Hills' The Regal Beagle, the "sausage and ale house" has expanded northward to beachy Leucadia (get it? Seagull?), opening in the location formerly occupied by Leucadia Sushi (996 N. Coast Hwy. 101).
These days, the intersection of good food and good alcohol usually means you're eating at a "gastropub." We've all had enough with baskets of chicken strips, sure, but not everyone wants fussiness when it comes to bar food. How about food that's hearty, unpretentious and just a little bit greasy—the better to go with your beer buzz, my dear. The Regal Seagull has carved out that nice little niche.
I'll admit that I felt a twinge of hipster-hate when I first walked in and saw trucker hats and ear gauges on my fellow patrons. Then I remembered that I'd accidentally put my underwear on inside out that morning, so I thought, Maybe just shut it, Judgy Inner Monologue.
Since I'm not the beer columnist, I usually just glance appreciatively at most places' beer selections, noting that it's more challenging these days to find a restaurant that doesn't carry a respectable selection of craft beer. The Regal Seagull has a legit selection—it is a bar, after all—with sips from locals Monkey Paw, Mother Earth and Societe, along with bigger faves like Ballast Point and Green Flash.
But beyond the great pours is great pork. And veal. And lamb. All put into sausage form, and all crafted by "sausage meister" Jacob Kappeler of T&H Meats in San Marcos.
The traditional pork brat was exceptional, with the telltale snap of the casing when you bite into it and luscious, flavorful juice oozing from the tender meat. For traditional sausage, this is as good as it gets.
If you're craving something a little less traditional, check out the Moroccan-style lamb link, heavy with herbs and just a touch of heat from peppery spices. The meat was slightly less juicy, but no less moist and flavorful than the bratwurst.
You can't go wrong with any of the toppings, from peppers and onions to cheese and sauerkraut. The 'kraut is on the mild side. There's just enough pickling to cut the grease of the sausage without overpowering everything. Each link is wrapped up in a Sadie Rose buttermilk roll, a delicious and buttery bun, but on the weak side when it comes to holding up all that goodness. My bun's bottom fell out mid-meal.
Oh, and if you can't decide what beer to order (it can be overwhelming when you're faced with so many delicious choices), they have a wheel o' beer you can spin that makes the decision for you.
The Regal kids have figured out a great formula. Along with terrific beer, they've brought together quality meats and breads to create a simple and well-edited menu, perfect for soaking up booze and putting a smile on your face.