“The Downs,” hidden in the Bonsall hills, offers delicious, reasonably-priced meals

I hadn’t eaten at “The Downs” at San Luis Rey Downs Golf Resort for quite some time, but it was only because I forgot about the place. It is not an establishment that is on the way to anywhere else – you must purposefully go there. Tucked away in the San Luis Rey River Valley, this quiet resort offers great food in a park-like setting.

The casual bar and grill is set up above the golf course; and a wall of bay windows affords a stunning view of the willow-lined lake with hills in the background. The other side of the restaurant is lined with television screens. So, guests have a choice, either to dine quietly with a marvelous view, or to watch a favorite sports team.

The “Fallbrook Chicken” entrée (available at dinner only) can probably be considered their “signature dish.” Leo Ruiz said that this entrée has been on the menu ever since he began work at “The Downs,” and that has been 15 years. They must be doing something right to keep it – unchanged – on the menu that long.

It’s not your typical chicken dish. A tender piece of grilled chicken is hidden under a delicious medley of toppings. Fresh avocado, tomato, and Swiss cheese are layered over the chicken, then melted in the oven. House-made alfredo sauce is slathered over the entire concoction. This is Chef Audie Leon’s own recipe that he enhanced wonderfully with white wine and garlic. Chef Audie has been taking pride in his work at The Downs for 20 years.

From the luncheon menu, I recommend the “Western Burger.” Sizzling from the kitchen, this one-half pound hamburger is served with cheddar cheese, red onions, tomatoes, crispy bacon and just the right amount of barbeque sauce. With a terrific smoky flavor, I think it’s one of the best burgers I have eaten. At other restaurants I have had bacon burgers where the bacon is not cooked enough or is too well-done, but “The Downs” does their bacon right. How do they ensure that the bacon has just the right texture and flavor? The secret is Chef Audie’s cooking method – the bacon is oven-cooked.

Clam Chowder is served every Friday; and it’s a creamy clam chowder loaded with clams, carrots, celery, onions and potatoes. Rosemary gives the soup a unique burst of flavor. The soup itself is just the right consistency – not too thick or too thin.

“The Downs” Sports Bar and Grill at San Luis Rey Downs Golf Resort and Country Club is located at 31474 Golf Club Drive in Bonsall, Calif. Lunch is served from 11 a.m. to close and dinner is available from 5 p.m. to close. A “kid’s menu” is offered. In addition to the restaurant, the resort offers a meeting room that seats 45 and a banquet facility that will accommodate 115 guests.

To learn more, call (800) 78-DOWNS or visit www.slrd.com.

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