Comfort food garbs your tongue in luxurious velveteen knickerbockers of flavor, as opposed to discomfort food, which clings to the face like an overtight ascot. Avoid the embarrassment of culinary crampers with today's Groupon for innovative comfort fare at either of Prepkitchen's two locations in La Jolla or Del Mar. Part of the Whisknladle restaurant family, the eatery's diverse menu shifts in time with the season, much like the moon, which by late November resembles a fully-grown turkey. Enjoy classic dishes and innovative takes on comforting cooking, such as butternut squash ravioli ($14.95), beer-braised beef ($19.95), and pan-roasted trout ($21.50), to name just a few possibilities. A casual, neighborhood vibe permeates both locations, from rough-hewn wood and exposed brick to the Del Mar location's outdoor patio (where dogs are welcome), all of which reflect the restaurant's laid-back philosophy like a mirror containing a compliment-dispensing Vincent Price.
Discover SD featured Prepkitchen's newest location in Del Mar. Yelpers highly praise both of Prepkitchen's locations, with the La Jolla location receiving an average rating of 4.5 stars and the Del Mar location receiving an average of four stars:
- Now open, the new Prepkitchen in Del Mar offers a unique take on the dining experience, boasting a casual beachside café atmosphere with farm-to-table fine-dining quality…the new PK is guaranteed to bring the ultimate dining experience to North County residents. – Ryan Eisenacher, Discover SD
- I also leave Prepkitchen feeling satisfied (perfect portions) and energetic (not fatty, greasy at all). The staff here is also incredibly friendly. – Dan K. on the La Jolla location, Yelp
Whisknladle and Prepkitchen
The small empire that is Whisknladle Hospitality started with a serendipitous meeting of French Laundry vet Ryan Johnston and aspiring restaurateur—and undaunted cooking-school dropout—Arturo Kassel. Their vision? Gourmet comfort food, with none of the guilty excess that term might imply. Just about every ingredient at Whisknladle, down to buttermilk dressings and canadian bacon, would be prepared from scratch, filling a menu that would change with the finest gradations of the seasons. "We want to find that balance of making our guests comfortable and pulling one foot out of their comfort zone," Johnston recently told San Diego Magazine—which means the french toast might exude lemon and lavender and the fried chicken might nest on purslane.
In a 2008 review, the Union-Tribune described "delightful, soul-satisfying" dishes such as "juicy, perfectly roasted chicken" at "one of the most exciting restaurants in San Diego." The crowds agreed. So Johnston and Kassel decided to expand the experience, inspired, as their website says, "by our desire to eat Whisknladle-quality food on a regular basis while sticking to our restaurant-employee budgets." Prepkitchen is a little simpler and more casual, but dishes such as porter-braised short rib and biscuits with chorizo gravy prove the new venture takes the same care as the original when it comes to sourcing ingredients and clearly labeling sugar and salt containers.