Yes, I know the title sounds quite self-contradictory. How can a diner be upscale? Well, I guess anything is possible in California. If you’re like me, when you hear “diner” you think of Waffle House – but Studio Diner isn’t like that. It’s nice. The kitchen is actually in the back, so you’re not blasted with the smell of a greased griddle as soon as you walk in. Consequently, the floors are not slippery due to the oil particles clinging to the tiles – in fact, the floors are not even made of tile! Haha.
I came here with 6 people on a Saturday evening, and it was pretty crowded – we waited about half an hour for a table, and the restaurant’s staff was even turning away large parties that had walked in after us, because their list was just so full for the night…
Since I actually wasn’t hungry and did not plan on eating a full meal, I decided to try the Beef Brisket chili. It sounded very Texan: made with chunks of brisket (not ground beef), and minimal beans (“If you know beans about chili, you know chili ain’t got no beans!”). Awesome.
This ended up being probably one of the best chilis I’ve ever had outside of Texas. Seriously, no joke. However, I do want to comment that chili is a very personal thing for people, and everyone is very attached to his or her own definition of what should be included in and left out of chili. So, I am just going to say that this is my favorite chili, but it might not be what you are looking for or expecting ;)
Sk ordered the eggs & sausage, which is served with hash browns (yay!) and sourdough bread.
Despite the slight disappointment (okay, more than slight) that they did not have sausage patties, Sk liked this a lot. I tried some of the hash browns, and they were super yummy. This whole dish looks so GAD (Greasy American Diner)… which I love.
Finally, because this is a diner, I had to get tater tots. Because this is an upscale diner, they were sweet potater tots.
So. Good!! I think I like these even more than sweet potato fries, possibly because tater tots have more surface area, which means more crispiness. I wonder how sweet potato hash browns would taste…
On a side note, the chipotle mayo sauce did not pair well with the tater tots at all. We ended up leaving the sauce alone and just devouring all of the tots.
Some of our friends tried the sandwiches, such as the prime rib sandwich, albacore tuna melt, burger – and all gave positive reviews. All of the items came in pretty sizable portions, too – quite a few of us had leftovers.
This was definitely a great meal, even though it’s not quite the diner that I expected. Still, I liked it and would definitely be back. My list of “Open 24 hours” restaurants is expanding ever so rapidly…
What is your impression of a diner? Have you ever been to a diner in San Diego? Let me know in the comments!
4701 Ruffin Rd, San Diego, CA
24 hours/7 days