In an area so full of restaurants picking one can seem like trying to choose between the steak and the lobster, one manages to stand out as one of the best restaurants in San Diego’s lively Gaslamp Quarter.
It is Greystone Prime Steakhouse & Seafood on Fifth Ave.
True to its name Greystone specializes in steaks. So much so, in fact, that it is is the only steakhouse in San Diego to serve an international variety of Wagyu Beef: American Wagyu, Australian Greg Norman Farm and Miyazaki Prefecture Japanese Wagyu, A5 Japanese Wagyu. It has the certificates on site to prove it, too. But don’t just take my word for it. It has just been recognized by Wine Spectator as one of just five restaurants in San Diego to claim the publication’s highly coveted “Grand Award” and was Voted Best Steakhouse in California by Money Inc. It has a wine list that Wine Spectator called one of the best in the city.
The steaks really do melt in your mouth as the restaurant’s website claims but it’s their full, robust flavor that will instantly grab your attention.
Yet what really makes Greystone such as special place to eat goes beyond its melt-in-your-mouth steaks. It is the entire menu that puts it ins the “special place to eat” category. After all, it’s been in the Gaslamp for 22 years in a historic building that once served as police headquarters.
Beyond its streak and seafood name, Greystone has a roster deeper than that of the Padres. While its steaks are its equivalent of Fernando Tatis, Jr. – in other words, the star – the restaurant has a deep bench of many other desirable menu items, as well as wines and several creative cocktails.
I, and several local bloggers, got to experience this first-hand during a tasting for the San Diego chapter of the worldwide Travel Massive group. We were offered sample sizes rather than the full plates, which enabled us to taste a variety of the restaurant’s offerings
So let’s start with the starters. The charcuterie plate contains so many delicious cheeses that one would think you are on a tasting tour. The Italian meats are a perfect compliment that can be enjoyed separately or wrapped around the cheeses, which is my favorite way to enjoy this large two- to three-person platter. The large plate also has blueberry jam and slices of quality bread.
Like calamari? Then you’ll love the offering at Greystone, which is lightly battered, served with Shishito Peppers and seasoned just enough to bring in some extra flavor without overwhelming the true taste of the fried squid.
The chicken? It’s as melt-in-your-mouth as the steaks. I tend to avoid ordering chicken in a steakhouse because in most places it’s dry but that is certainly not at Greystone. We got to experience this in potstickers that were so delicious the only sounds in the restaurant you could hear were the “oh MY, these are soooooo good” comments coming out of our mouths.
The roll-ups were so fantastic that I was savoring them so much I failed to write down exactly what is in them. When my mind returned to Planet Earth, I noted they contain asparagus and goat cheese but what really came to mind was the fact that this restaurant, so well known among locals and critics for its steaks, goes far beyond that that when it comes to food excellence.
All of this happens in a setting that is both hip and classy. The changing colored lights in the main dining room give the place a fun and lively vibe while upstairs a fireplace is pure class. Downstairs, diners get a look inside the kitchen. There is also a private room that can accommodate more than a dozen diners. There is also outdoor dining right on 5th Ave., sometimes with a musician adding to the experience.
In addition to its extensive wine list, Greystone has a very creative list of cocktails.
To wit, there’s the Midway (coconut rum, white chocolate liqueur, pineapple juice) named after the USS Midway, which sits just a mile away in San Diego Bay; the Mexican Candy (tequila, tamarindo syrup, lemon squeeze, grapefruit juice and angostura bitters), the San Diego Sunset (tequila, hibiscus and a splash of pineapple), the Butterfly (gin, butterfly pea extract and lemon topped with champagne) and the Blackberry Smash Mule (vodka, blackberry purée, fresh lime juice, ginger beer and angostura bitters)