Drive on over to Sidecar

Friday, February 27th, 2015

Side car’s Savory food offerings, delectable desserts, and creative cocktails are sure to delight

If hunger drives you to downtown San Luis Obispo, let it take you to Sidecar, a SLO staple “known for” it’s luxuriously savory spin on brussels sprouts and a host of creative cocktails.

The DigsExterior of Side Car

If side-streets with amiable passers-by and breezy trees is your scene, Sidecar’s outdoor seating is a must. If you prefer the ambient glow of asymmetrical Edison bulbs and the warm hum of conversation, the interior is amazing.

Most of Sidecar’s wooden tables, fascinating assortment of chairs, and antique books came from estate sales — together they create a feeling of “1940s speakeasy” meets “home sweet home.”  For owner Josh Christensen, it practically is home.

“I love it here — the restaurant, and the industry as a whole,” says Josh, who’s also a fan of the 20-25 employees with whom he shares this passion. “I’m blessed to work in a place I love and care about.”

The Man Himself

Originally from Albuquerque, NM, Josh has worked in restaurants since he was 14 and has been a bartender since 19. He came to SLO in 1999, became majority owner of Sidecar in 2013, and is now complete owner with his brother Jeremy Christensen and friend Chris Lee.

The Deals

Sidecar offers a 4-6 p.m. Happy Hour serving $7 specialty cocktails, plus $2 off other drinks, that draws around 100 guests on weekdays. Monday night is “pro night,” when they serve “Tomahawk for Two,” a 32-40 oz bone-in ribeye steak served with parsnip puree and mashed potato with heirloom carrots, two salads, two desserts, and $10 off a bottle of wine.

The Eats

The fried brussels are delicately charred and crisp on the outside, tender on the inside, and topped with fresh bleu cheese crumbles to complement the sweet and tangy drizzle of balsamic reduction on a bed of garlic aioli that accent the entire dish.

Be sure to try the pork belly tacos, a perfect blend of sweet and zesty pork grilled perfectly to a tender juiciness. The tortillas are soft with lightly crisp edges, topped with fresh, crisp cabbage and tangy Asian slaw, cilantro, ginger and sesame glaze with sweet macerated onions round out the delectable pork.

Their risotto is creamy, filled with wild mushrooms, melted leeks and parmesan, topped with a sous vide egg to break gently over the top of the generous portion of food, dappled with crisp pancetta and served with fresh-ground pepper.

The Sidecar burger is tender and juicy, complemented with sweet bacon maple ketchup, aioli, caramelized onions and smoked mozzarella. It is served with a side of fresh and crisp fries.

Sidecar also serves an excellent market cut of meat (duck, pork, beef, etc.), a versatile offering that keeps things interesting and supports the local ranches.

To top it all off, their most popular dessert is the mini donuts with three dipping sauces: chocolate, dulce de leche, chocolate and raspberry. There are several additional mouth-watering options including flourless chocolate torte and mixed fruit gratinado.

The SipsSide Car cocktail

Among their house-made bitters and tinctures, Sidecar is known for the smoky, big-flavor Mezcal cocktails — and they sell more of these most other venues in the county. Other popular drinks include the Happy Tackle, made with sage/lemongrass-infused bourbon with simple syrup, boker’s bitters, a frankincense tincture and lemon peel.

On the flip side is the Clover Club — its gin and lemon juice, raspberry syrup and egg white has more sass than its frothy pink facade and delicate raspberry-garnished rim let on. On Mondays, they also have 22-ounce Moscow mules for just $7.

The Latest

Sidecar has plans to expand very soon. With an approximate opening sometime around March/April 2015, they will have a second bar/lounge area with a kitchen and wood-fire oven that serves flatbread.

Look for Sidecar to be pouring at the “From the Barrel” event at The Ranch in Santa Margarita on April 10, 7-10 p.m. Taste a host of libations “born from the barrel,” with a portion of the proceeds from event tickets benefiting Woods Humane Society.

Sidecar, located at 1127 Broad Street in San Luis Obispo, is open 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday (bar open until 11 p.m.); Friday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. (bar open until midnight); Saturday, 10 a.m.-10 p.m.(bar open until midnight) and Sunday from 10 a.m.-10 p.m. (bar open until 11 p.m.) For reservations or booking events, go to www.sidecarslo.com, call (805) 540-5340, or email josh@sidecarslo.com.

-Sarah Graybill

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