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With only a few giftcards remaining from my San Diego Burger Week adventure, we made our way into Gaslamp Tavern. This downtown sportsbar has been open for over 10 years and also owns the upstairs Quad Alehouse "beer study hall". I believe our giftcard worked for both places but the upper floor was closed that night. We proceeded with the downtstairs Gaslamp Tavern menu.
For Taco Tuesday, you can order tacos for $2.50 each rather than the standard plate of three (single flavor) for $10. These were dressed with slivered radishes giving it a refreshing touch with a pop of color. My first bite was the beef taco, juicy and flavor, and I reluctantly gave the other half to Dennis. He, on the other hand, thought it had too much meat for the size! Say what? Maybe my earlier bites pushed more meat into his half! The second taco had pork belly but we thought it could use a little more crisp to it. There was tons of sour cream on this particular taco too. The last taco was carnitas which didn't seem too special. It was not very juicy especially compared to my first taco. The tacos overall seemed to have very similar tastes to them due to the heavy toppings. We thought it would have been nice if Taco Tuesday included choice of fish, even at .50 or $1 more. These are street size tacos so order as many as needed to get your fill.
Gaslamp Tavern offered two homemade sauces which were incredibly spicy! The green serrano cilantro sauce was a bit on the watery size but it definitely had some bite! I noticed beads of sweat forming on Dennis's forehead due to the heat. The orange mango habernero sauce had a thicker consistancy so was great for dipping but this also had some kick. Dennis went back and forth between the two and continued to feel the burn haha! He's a medium heat kind of guy so couldn't eat too much by itself!
We enjoyed the burgers from our previous visit but decided to try something new. The PBLT (pork belly lettuce tomato) priced at $12.50 caught our eye. I enjoyed the sourdough with the nice toast. The thin pieces of pork belly tasted good enough though there was a bit extra mayo throughout. We ended up taking home 1/3 of the sandwich. The fries (can also choose salad) had a cajun seasoning but didn't have that nice fried edge. They were already softening on arrival, as if it had been sitting while waiting for the rest of the order. I think we were reconsidering our choice to save the burger for next visit. If only they had a pork belly BURGER to hit the spot!
We ordered a small order of 6 wings for $7.25. Surprisingly, the menu doesn't have a discount when ordering the full dozen for $14.50. Out of the eight available flavors, we selected the Tavern Sauce, a house mix between buffalo and barbecue sauce. We ordered it naked so they arrived with salt and pepper seasoning only. The very fried skin was thin with a slight oil sheen and was ready to skinny dip. Dennis really liked the sauce style, unblended, so you could distinctly taste each one, a tanginess of the bbq sauce then the tart of the buffalo sauce. I found it to have the buffalo flavor without the spicy sting.
Since it was still happy hour, the House Mule was only $5. It featured New Amsterdam vodka though our first sip tasted mostly of ginger beer and lime. The branded mug was petite but very chilled. This reminded us of Europe because most of the beers came with their own glass to fit the brand. The regular Mule was double the price so I wonder if there's a size difference! Other specials include $4 wells, $4 select drafts, $2 off wine and $2 off specialty cocktails. I picked Goose Island brown ale. This had no hops and was easy to down without any bitterness.
Gaslamp Tavern was relaxing that night. It was between seasons for sports and still festively decorated following the holidays. The service was fast and our bartender/hostess was friendly with plenty of recommendations. The bar food ain't so bad either. Next time we'll go back to their dependable classic burger and perhaps try the chicken sammy we had been eyeing.
868 5th Ave
San Diego CA 92101