10th Street Grill: A hidden treasure

Tucked away in a quiet Los Osos courtyard, 10th Street Grill offers a menu specializing in surf-and-turf classics enjoyed in a cozy dining room that feels like a friend’s home.

ktbudge@sbcglobal.netApril 12, 2012 

  • 10th Street Grill

    2011 10th St. (between 9th and 10th streets at Santa Ynez) | Los Osos | 528-2011 | www.10thstreetgrill.com

    Hours: 5 to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday (also open on Mother’s Day)

    The scene: A cozy neighborhood dinner house with seating for about three dozen in the main dining areas, plus a few seats at the bar.

    The cuisine: A surf-and-turf approach plus nightly specials; wine and draft beer available.

    Expect to spend: Entrées $15 to $30; early bird dinner $16 and under from 5 to 6 p.m.

Since opening in 2003, 10th Street Grill has quietly become a favorite destination for those in the know. It’s well tucked away in a quaint jumble of buildings in Los Osos (you can’t even see the restaurant’s front door from the street, so look for the signs and sandwich boards.)

Whatever 10th Street Grill may lack in street presence, it makes up for it in welcoming ambiance.

The cozy restaurant has the feel of going over to someone’s house for a casual dinner party, especially when the fireplace is crackling away.

“Once you discover it, it kind of becomes your own secret spot,” said owner and longtime local resident Jay Dickinson, who co-owns the restaurant with his wife, Laura (an occasional freelancer for The Tribune).

He parlayed his experience at A.J. Spurs and McLintocks into the steak-and-seafood approach of 10th Street Grill.

Over the years, locals warmly embraced the dinner house concept, and Dickinson admits that “often I can stand in here and recognize almost everybody in the place — that’s particularly gratifying.”

Starters at 10th Street Grill include sautéed mushrooms or shrimp, Caesar salad or a steak garden salad, grilled calamari or bacon-wrapped scallops (the latter two are also available as full dinner portions).

From there, either tuck into pasta dishes such as fettuccine Alfredo and spicy shrimp fettuccine, or launch into the hearty surf-and-turf dishes.

Meat lovers can choose from top sirloin, rib-eye or filet mignon steaks, or go hog wild with a Dijon-maple glazed pork chop.

If seafood is more your style, reel in shrimp scampi, fish and chips, or the fresh catch of the day such as grilled halibut or seared Ahi tuna.

“We usually have at least two fish specials,” said Dickinson, “and usually more like two or three.”

With people looking for comfort food, other nightly specials might include lamb chops, home-style meatloaf, braised beef Provencal, beef brochette with shrimp scampi, and a blue cheese wedge salad. If it’s Friday you can always count on slow-roasted prime rib being in the lineup.

All the dinners come with French bread and a small garnish of sautéed mushrooms and green beans.

Entrées other than pasta dishes also include your choice of steamed vegetables, rice pilaf, seasoned wedge fries, garlic mashed potatoes or a baked potato.

If you do manage to save room for dessert after all that, it’s going to be a tough choice between temptations such as the cheesecake or a crème brulée trio of vanilla bean, butterscotch and chocolate.

Dickinson noted almost everything at 10th Street Grill is made from scratch “like the soups, salad dressings, sauces — and I go to farmers markets for all of our lettuces and seasonal vegetables.” He added that “since often I’m the one who’s serving you your meal, I’m not going to put down something in front of you that I’m not proud of.”

In addition to quality food, Dickinson and his staff (many have been with the restaurant almost since it opened) pride themselves on “consistency and hospitality. We want to give you the experience we’d want when we go out. Our overall philosophy is to provide that kind of hospitality for everyone who walks in the door.”

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