Growing up in Michigan and having been exposed to White Castle burgers or “sliders” at an early age. I never really thought much for them until I turned 21. It was then that I gained an appreciation for their true value as a late night, after bar source of pleasure and instant gratification.
White Castle was founded in 1921 in Wichita, Kansas by Walter A. Anderson. Anderson is credited with invention of the hamburger bun as well as the kitchen as assembly line and the cook as a replaceable technician giving rise to the modern fast food phenomenon. Due to White Castle's innovation of having chain-wide standardized methods, customers could be sure that they would receive the same product and service in every restaurant. This can be taken as a good or bad thing, depending on your views of fast food. That’s my history lesson for today.
Fast forward 70 years or so and some smart cook somewhere decides to give the old slider a gourmet upgrade. My first exposure to this phenomenon was at the Martini Ranch in Encinitas about 10 years ago which occupied the building where D Street is today. I’ve been hooked ever since and it seems like just about every bar and grill has them now as well they should. They are always a crowd pleaser and the many variations make them fun to eat.
D Street has a couple of versions that I find slightly addictive. Their D Street Slider with Kobe beef and onion ring is one of those combinations that need no other condiments. The Kobe beef is amazingly tender and flavorful and the onion ring gives it that crunchy goodness. Two of those combined with two of their Ahi Sliders seared rare with a wasabi mayo provide that unique surf and turf combination I crave. Those are the only two slider options on the menu and I’d love to see that selection expanded a bit. Maybe a pork tenderloin and crispy chicken version, both of which I’ve done at home and that have been big hits. Just FYI, Trader Joes sells the mini buns that are essential to any home cooked slider endeavor. And a key to getting that restaurant consistency is to butter and fry up the buns prior to loading them up with your favorite sliders.
Ok, enough with my slider obsession. D Street has a lot more to offer and some of it is quite good. They have a full selection of starters, salads, soups, pizza, sandwiches wings and burgers. Besides my sliders I went with the “original” Philly cheese steak and was not disappointed. In fact, it was so substantial; I just finished the half I took home for lunch. The homemade chili is also quite good and the fish tacos are up to par with the best I’ve had in the area. None of these items are over $13 which is a great value. On taco Tuesday and Thursdays, they offer fish tacos for $2 along with $2 Primo beers. So you figure 3 fish tacos and a beer for $10, not bad. I may have to hit that one up.
I’ve also tried the NY Strip on occasion and it’s always been cooked perfectly and full of flavor. There is a full list of meat, seafood, pasta and chicken entrées from $9.50 to $21.95 and it should be noted that all of these entrée’s are half price on Mondays. That’s an impressive promotion.
It should also be noted that when D Street gave up their cabaret license, it enabled them to admit all ages which is a nice treat for parents who want to experience a non-chain type environment where they can get decent food, catch a game on one of their many TV’s, and have the kids tag along. D Street is a haven for sports enthusiasts with TV’s in every sight line and an all sports lineup filling the screens day and night. The place gets hopping after 9 pm most nights and becomes quite the scene. You can’t beat its prime location in the heart of old Encinitas right next door to the La Paloma. It’s a great place to stop for lunch or dinner before or after a movie. They are open from 11:30 – 1:30 daily and can be found online at www.dstreetbarandgrill.com<< Back