Restaurant News & Reviews

Alphy’s Adobe Grill in Pismo Beach

The Adobe nachos at Alphy's Adobe Grill.
The Adobe nachos at Alphy's Adobe Grill. The Tribune

It’s the same, only different. Alphy’s Adobe Grill in Pismo Beach is indeed operated by the same team behind Alphy’s Broiler in Arroyo Grande, but the grill’s menu charts new territory — Southwest territory, to be exact.

The second Alphy’s, on Five Cities Drive, opened in April 2011 and came about largely because “we needed more space for our catering business, and we’d been looking for a couple of years when this became available” said co-owner Doug Simpson. (He and his brother Lance operate the restaurants in a structure that he described as “not having employees, but partners.”)

With the new location, which sports a casual feel, Simpson “wanted to do something a little different that no one else was doing — authentic Southwest from scratch.”

Yes, purists will quibble with the fact that the menu has an Orient Express salad with cabbage and sesame ginger vinaigrette, or that a recent special was a fried shrimp po’boy sandwich.

To be honest, the menu also sports other very north-of-the-border items such as Buffalo wings, a burger, and fish and chips. However, the wings can be tossed in “devil sauce,” the burger comes with chipotle aioli, and the lightly breaded Arctic cod comes with zingy southwest tartar sauce.

You can start your Adobe day with breakfast options such as huevos rancheros or a Southwest scramble with eggs, chorizo, fire-roasted chilies and cheese.

For starters and salads, go for nachos with black bean chili or tacos, Southwest egg rolls with black beans and poblano chiles, or a Vaquero salad with carne asada and chipotle ranch dressing.

Signature dishes at Alphy’s Adobe Grill include slow-roasted and pulled Southwest beef brisket served with roasted corn salsa, a green chile Chicken Coop sandwich with tomatillo sauce and melted cheese, and the unique Naked Tamales.

Instead of the standard meat-filled tamales, these start with a masa mixture made from scratch that’s cooked in banana leaves in a sheet pan, almost like polenta.

Once cooled, it’s cut into squares, grilled to order, and topped with your choice of tomatillo, enchilada or adobo sauce, plus additional add-ons like carnitas, chicken or shrimp.

“I like to take ideas and put my own twist on them,” said Simpson. “I also like to do it right. So although we want to serve good food at a good price, we don’t cut corners. We roast our own tomatillos, we reconstitute dried chiles for our sauces, and we make the chipotle lime vinaigrette for the avocado and black bean salad.”

That approach also means that the brisket is cooked for about seven hours, the egg rolls are rolled by hand, and the corn tortillas are made from scratch “in small batches so they stay fresh throughout the day.”

Another twist on the Adobe Grill menu is a slightly more vegetarian approach to the dishes that you might expect in this cuisine.

Overall, things are meat-centric, but Simpson noted that the beans aren’t made with lard, and that sautéed veggies instead of meat are an option in dishes such as the Naked Tamales, quesadillas, and tacos made with those fresh tortillas.

“We’re certainly not full-on vegetarian or vegan,” said Simpson, “but if people ask us for something, we’ll certainly do our best to accommodate them, especially since everything is made to order.”

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