Rustic Root and outdoor dining in the Gaslamp District, San Diego
Restaurants have sprung into action to take advantage of permits to add sidewalk dining. Several blocks of Fifth Avenue were closed to traffic to allow restaurants to set up eating spaces on the street. I think this is a great idea! I watched a restaurant set up a space on the street with a carpet, eight large artificial ficus trees, tables and chairs in about 30 minutes. Most restaurants are now open with outdoor dining, so it is a good time to check out some new places downtown.
We chose Rustic Root, because it is well known for its rooftop dining area. They offer contactless check-in by text, but I missed the text and had to find a hostess. The roof (second story) was busy with several parties. The whole area is well shaded, but the roof makes the acoustics very bright (loud). It was hard to have a conversation. The decor is fun with large topiary animals and old-fashioned street lights.
The menu was available by a QR code. We had brunch. Two of us had an eggs benedict "caprese". It was very nice variation with mozzarella cheese and sliced tomatoes. The hollandaise was excellent. I think it was a missed opportunity not to load it up with fresh basil. Another one of us had a classic benedict. The food was very good, but not outstanding. The menu was also pretty standard brunch fare.
It is a really fun place to eat. It offers great people watching, since you are only one story up from the action on the street. Fifth Avenue wasn't its typical bustling self yet. We did see a few people in costume, doing their best to celebrate ComicCon, despite it being virtual this year.