Chefs just off duty and serious oenophiles tend to linger at OB’s classy wine bar until the wee hours, nibbling on fine cheeses and sipping one of 1,000 available wines stacked in cases and shelves around dining rooms. Early in the evening, friends settle in the lounge’s leather couches for happy hour wines and munchies—the house salad, a true bargain, is one of the best I’ve ever tasted, as is the wild mushroom soup. More serious diners study their menus at tables and booths edging wine racks in two small dining rooms and a patio, trying to decide which reasonably priced tasty entrée sounds best. The baked Humboldt fog cheese with toasted brioche is my favorite appetizer; depending on budget constraints I’ll choose either the perfectly seasoned shrimp arrabiatta or the tender New York steak with salad and fires. I’m less impressed with the lunch salads and sandwiches—fortunately many of dinner’s best apps and entrees are on the lunch menu. Choose a bottle from the stacks to accompany your meal for a mere $5 corkage fee. Parking is limited to a small lot and neighborhood streets, but there are large lots at Robb Field across the street. There’s also an outpost in Encinitas at the Lumberyard shopping center, 897 S. Coast Hwy. ([tel] 760/942-2104).
- Frommer's Staff