Bellamy's in Escondido feels like the kind of place your parents would totally love for a fancy night out. I know, I know: You're way too cool for that kind of vibe, and it's true—there's no reclaimed wood or ironic beer choices, but this kitchen came to play. Don't be dissuaded by the groovy, abstract jazz paintings on the wall; Bellamy's (417 W. Grand Ave.) has really excellent food.
Before analyzing anything else on the menu, order the chilled yellow-corn soup. A tender, sweet pile of scallop ceviche arrives, sitting on the bottom of the bowl. Your server then pours a thick stream of summery soup over it, and happiness ensues. We've all heard it, but fresh, quality ingredients don't need much in the way of frippery to taste amazing. Sweet corn is one of the greatest creations nature has given us to put in our belly, so why mess with it? This soup lets the corn shine in all its juicy glory. There's just a hint of hot-pepper heat, adding a subtle, warm layer on your tongue, and the scallops give texture without distracting from the starchy star.
If you're visiting Bellamy's on a weekday, sit in the bar and order off the bar menu. A large part of the appetizer and salad menu is half off, so you can try a number of killer tastes at bargain prices.
If you need your fix of fried whatnot, now that the county fair is winding down, hit up the fried avocadoes on Bellamy's hot-bites menu. San Diego's unofficial fruit is battered in crispy, airy tempura, then punched up further by a creamy, blistering pink Sriracha sauce. Thinner-than-tissue flakes of bonito float over the top of the avocadoes like fishy little snowdrifts. I burned my fingertips and tongue, what with not wanting to wait for this crunchy and creamy treat to cool down.
The beef skewers with mushrooms and cippolini onions don't push any envelopes, but the chunks of filet are tender, the mushrooms and onions are sweet and caramelized and each skewer is covered in a savory gravy, making for a hearty appetizer or even a light dinner to go with the hot-from-the-oven rolls served with soft butter and Maldon sea salt.
My only bit of disappointment was the lobster risotto. What could go wrong there? Nothing in particular, other than I was left feeling underwhelmed. The lobster was sweet, but the risotto was a bit on the brothy side—shouldn't it always be creamy?—and I tasted none of the Tahitian vanilla that lured me into ordering such a fun-sounding dish. Perhaps my palate was still zinging from Sriracha and bonito flakes.
Some chefs around town put a lot of energy into ambiance and décor and design trends—I suppose to distract from what's often mediocre food. Bellamy's isn't trendy; it's just plain tasty.