Review: Take a tour of the food and drink menu at Wolfie’s Carousel Bar
Since opening in mid-August in northern Little Italy, Wolfie’s Carousel Bar has become San Diego’s most popular ticket.
The imaginatively designed 256-seat bar-bistro offers a 15-course menu, 11 retro-inspired personalized cocktails and a full bar. But the crowds that make all the reservations online and line up outside Nolita’s little room aren’t as interested in the food and drink as they are in Wolfie’s vintage vibe.
The central feature of the 2,500-square-foot venue is its namesake Carousel Bar, a slowly rotating 24-seat O-shaped counter that revolves around a bar topped by an 1800s-style wooden carousel canopy decorated with over 400 light golden shades. There are also three circular dining cabins topped with carousel horses that slowly rise and fall above the head. With its catchy club-style music and its clientele to see and see, Wolfie’s has become the go-to destination for Instagrammers.
But the food and drink program developed by Executive Chef Peter Ziegler and Beverage Director Michael Clifford shouldn’t be overlooked in the rush to ride the carousel, which runs one circuit every 14 minutes. Clifford’s cocktails are nostalgic returns to 19th-century Paris, when aromatic liqueurs and spirits like Chartreuse, crème de violette and absinthe were de rigueur. Ziegler’s kitchen menu could best be described as French “ish” meaning that the dishes incorporate French ingredients, techniques and names, but they are recognizable by their flavor and American concept, like the Wagyu burger ” Royale ”at $ 2.
Wolfie’s is a collaboration between seasoned bar owners Gillian and Mauricio Couturier and business partners Abe and Ricky Aguilar. Les Couturiers specializes in immersive experience bars such as the Noble Experiment underground bar in East Village and the Bang Bang Asian fusion restaurant / bar in the Gaslamp district. They conceived the idea for Wolfie’s five years ago on a trip to New Orleans and designer Abe Aguilar helped make their dream come true. The design of the bar was based on the 19th century carousels created by German designer Charles “Wolfie” Looff. The walls and underside of the bar’s glass roof are decorated with aged reproductions of European paintings from the 1800s.
Most of the menu items are gourmet appetizers designed to snack on with a cocktail, such as a butter baguette ($ 8), a plate of marinated olives ($ 9), or herbed fries with homemade aioli and dips. with Dijon mustard ($ 9). The ‘fromage du jour’ cheese plate ($ 28) comes with a generous assortment of fruit, nuts, honeycombs and hot toast, but its cheeses include French Brie, Spanish Manchego and Californian Humboldt fog.
The Jambon Beurre is a simple but tasty sandwich of Jambon de Paris (French ham) and butter on a baguette ($ 18) and there’s a lightly flavored French onion soup with a crouton crust ($ 14). Other options include New Orleans Rockefeller Baked Oysters ($ 18), Wagyu Quail Yolk Tartare ($ 21), and Bibb, Endive, and Beetroot with Warm Goat Cheese Salads (11 $ to $ 17). The Signature Steak and Fries Platter ($ 36) is a well-prepared 14-ounce New York strip loin with a seasoned crust. It is served medium rare with a homemade Béarnaise sauce and short fries. Big guys can splurge on caviar and blinis starting at $ 85, and bottles of French champagne ranging from $ 50 to $ 205 a bottle.
Due to the high sugar content of French and Italian liqueurs, some of the $ 14- $ 18 cocktails like the violet-hued Fleur de France and Hemingway Daiquiri are fragrant, but Clifford balances that sweetness with sour ingredients like grapefruit. and raspberries. The bar’s signature drink is Wolfie’s Connection, a complex cocktail of cognac, amaretto and raspberry, with nutty and sweet notes with tangy notes.
Wolfie’s is a fun place to visit, but plan ahead. The crowds were so overwhelming in the first few weeks of the bar that last month – after a temporary COVID-related shutdown – Wolfie’s instituted a new reservation-only policy for all seats at the bar and at tables. The “standing only” areas have been removed. A good time to try to reserve is when the doors open at 4 p.m. or after 8 p.m. on Sunday or mid-week. Seating at the carousel bar is limited to 90 minutes. Parking in the neighborhood is difficult, but $ 10 valet parking is available one block away at Juniper & Ivy.
Wolfie’s carousel bar
Hours: 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays; From 4 p.m. to midnight Sunday and Tuesday to Thursday.
Or: 2401, boulevard Kettner (entrance on West Kalmia Street)
Telephone: (619) 255-7533
In line: wolfiescarousel.com