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San Diego Chart House Restaurant

By: Kellie K. Speed, Travel Writer

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CHART.jpg (52857 bytes) The Chart House has done it again.

With a new and improved contemporary menu, Chart House has somehow managed to maintain the same flair of its well-known menu that has been attracting guests for nearly four decades.

The entree prices have been lowered significantly much to each guest’s surprise! Chart House is now offering a la carte options in direct competition with the five-star steakhouses.

Chart House definitely gives any steakhouse a run for its money - the value, quality of food and service are outstanding.

Chart House, headquartered in Chicago, currently operates more than 50 restaurants in 20 states nationwide, employing more than 4,500 people.

The company is now undergoing a revitalization program, which includes the introduction of a new menu at each location, conceptual design changes and remodeling.

Each year, Chart House serves five million meals nationwide. Well-known for its steaks, imagine having to prepare 400,000 servings of filet mignon or three million pieces of shrimp and 800,000 pounds of prime rib every year!

We recently visited the San Diego Rowing Club Chart House. Known as “The Little Clubhouse on Steamship Wharf,” this restaurant was the former home of the San Diego Rowing Club for more than 80 years. The group moved in 1979 to Mission Bay, opening up an opportunity for Chart House, which gladly moved in during June 1983.

“The changes are meant to inspire a new and exciting dining experience while retaining the classic Chart House spirit of adventure and casual style our customers have grown to love,” said Tom Walters, Chart House President and Chief Executive Officer.

What began nearly 40 years ago as a small restaurant with just 14 tables in Aspen, Colorado, has now turned into a well-known, highly regarded, full-service restaurant conglomerate with more than 50 Chart House locations from Hawaii to the U.S. Virgin Islands.

For just a limited time only, the San Diego Rowing Club Chart House will be serving Alaska’s best salmon - Copper River King Salmon.

“If you’re a salmon lover, you know that nothing tastes better than well-prepared fresh Copper River King Salmon,” said Tom Perreira, Chart House’s Vice President of Concept and Development. “We are thrilled to be able to offer this rare salmon to Chart House diners and have created some very special dishes that will complement our regular menu and please our patrons.”

We sampled everything on the menu the evening we were at the San Diego location.

We started out with some wonderful Crunchy Calamari Medallions served with cocktail and island mustard sauces. These weren’t prepared as the usual circular rings calamari is generally served but rather, large, tender chunks of this sumptuous treat.

The shrimp cocktail here is a must - enormous, fresh samplings made this our favorite appetizer. (Everyone was ordering them that night!)

My husband ordered a Caesar salad, served with a small sampling of croutons and not overloaded with Caesar dressing.

Entrees here are simply amazing - the portions are not for those with small appetites. Be sure to come here with a hearty appetite. (You may even want to skip lunch!)

We tried the King Crab legs and filet mignon surf and turf special. It was fabulous! Imagine a mouthwatering, tender, juicy filet, cooked to perfection, complemented with a sampling of tender crab legs that melt in your mouth.

Be sure to try some side orders but be forewarned - the portions are just as enormous as the entrees and should be shared between two guests.

We tried the au gratin potatoes, loaded with melted cheese and the mushrooms served sizzling in butter.

Other side entrees that looked appealing were the creamed spinach and coconut-ginger rice.

Not only is Chart House well-known for its prime beef (like the Callahan Cut Prime Rib or the New York strip) but the fish sampling here is quite extensive. From lobster tail and Mahi Mahi to a grilled tuna chop and sesame crusted salmon, there are several options to choose from.

Be sure to save room for dessert - the Charles River Mud Pie (their signature dessert) was the perfect ending to a perfect meal.

We can’t wait to return to the Chart House again for another wonderful evening.

San Diego Rowing Club Chart House
525 E. Harbor Drive
San Diego, California

Phone: 619-233-7391


Monday through Friday (5 to 9:30 p.m.)
Saturday and Sunday (5 to 10:30 p.m.)

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Kellie Speed - Click to enlarge

Kellie K. Speed is a freelance travel writer and restaurant reviewer. Her features have been published in various publications including The Boston Globe, Cahnersí Industrial Distribution and Graphic Arts Monthly magazines and Reno Air Approach.

Kellie has reviewed numerous first-class hotels and travel destinations, including Hawaii, California, Arizona, Bermuda and Mexico, to name a few. She has also traveled internationally to Ireland, England, France, Germany, Belgium and the Czech Republic. Next year, she is planning a trip to Tahiti.

Since she is from Massachusetts, she will be providing reviews of local restaurants for Travel-Watch.

If you would like to email Kellie any suggestions or comments, please do so at


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