The Tractor Room: “Our Hunting Lodge on 5th”
By: R.J. Villa
Have you given The Tractor Room a shot? This is the place if you have a craving for the flavors of the Hash House A Go Go, but are in the mood for a different kind of atmosphere. As the sister restaurant of the Hash House A Go Go, The Tractor Room sits only a stoneâ€™s throw away from the original Hash House Hillcrest location on 5th Avenue. The menu is of the same â€œTwisted Farm Foodâ€ variety while serving what they term as â€œHonest Cocktails.â€ House hashes, freshly baked cornbread, scrambles, food from the griddle, benedicts, game meat, prime burgers, salads and, of course, the booze! They specialize in late night dining, cocktailing, and offer a full smoking patio. They also offer brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 9:00-2:00.
If you are in the mood for brunch on the weekend, their menu takes some of the Hash House A Go Go favorites like Andyâ€™s House Sage Fried Chicken Benedict. But, some of the dishes offer gamier options like the Free Range Wild Boar Hash with crispy potatoes, pancetta, fresh tomato, and goat cheese topped with two eggs. Their flapjacks come in a unique variety: buttermilk, peach brown sugar, raspberry macadamia nut, and the house favorite, chocolate banana. If you had a hard night and crave lunch right away, you should try their prime or lamb burgers served with criss-cross fries, or even their Baby Bibb Cobb: smoked chicken, chopped egg, bacon, fresh tomato, fresh blue cheese, and blue cheese dressing.
A major difference that you will notice at The Tractor Room is the impressive layout of the bar and their detailed list of tasty alembic concoctions, tempting you to start your dining experience. They offer the largest bourbon, rye, scotch and whiskey selection in all of San Diego.
â€œOur bar at the Tractor Room is the brainchild of Andy and I,â€ explained Rivera. â€œIt is our homage to cocktails and old-time cocktailing. We all put our best foot forward and take the perspective of our customers into consideration. We are having a lot of fun with that. It is kind of hard to believe that we are on four and a half years on that one.â€
For your enjoyment, as you wait to be seated or to accompany your meal, their bartenders whip up some of their tastiest Honest Cocktails. Much like their food, they use organic produce from local farms for their cocktails. Drinks like their Tractor Room Old Fashioned uses muddled organic Rancho Del Sol Farmâ€™s blood oranges mixed with Buffalo Trace Bourbon, Bokerâ€™s Bitters, a dash of soda, orange zest, and house brandied cherries. The Sazerac contains New Orleans Sazerac Rye Bourbon, Peychaudâ€™s Bitters, a French sugar cube, and Absente Absinthe served either neat or the Tractor Room way, on glacier ice if requested. Their Crown of Thorns is served in an ice cold stainless steel cocktail goblet and is made from muddled ginger, cherries, Canton Liqueur, Makerâ€™s Mark Kentucky Bourbon, a fresh spank of rosemary, fired orange, and George T. Stagg.
A large portion of the staff at the Tractor Room has been involved with Rivera and Beardslee since the opening of the Hash House A Go Go in Hillcrest. Rivera takes pride in employees like Tractor Room bartender Fernando Carreto, who has been with them since the beginning. Some employees have even been working alongside them before there was a Hash House A Go Go.
â€œThatâ€™s the great thing, we have people like Fernando that have been with us for ten plus years,â€ added Rivera. â€œThat says a lot for the community we have built and thatâ€™s hard to keep together in the restaurant industry. Our kitchen manager Jose Zarate has been with us for over 17 years now.â€
A common theme that can be found on the dinner menu is the kitchenâ€™s use of free range meats. Their crispy elk sausage ravioli demi-glace cream dish, pheasant and cognac, and rabbit sausage skewer with crispy polenta appetizers are definitely worth checking out. Not-to-miss is their wild boar and mashed potato spring roll served with a spicy peanut sauce. Sticking to the free range theme, some entrÃ©es of note are their braised buffalo sloppy joe, a free range buffalo burger, venison meatloaf, or even their spicy chipotle free range chicken breasts. All of their free range buffalo and wild boar are made with demi-glace, root veggies and love.
When asked if they plan on opening any other Tractor Room locations like they have Hash House A Go Goâ€™s, Rivera replied, â€œWe donâ€™t plan on rolling out locations like we have the Hash House. There has been some consideration for one more Tractor Room location, but nothing definite.â€
The Tractor Room
3687 5th Avenue
San Diego, CA 92103-4218