Livestock raised traditionally, humanely and sustainably produce the finest tasting meats…

Oddly enough, I had never had pork cheeks prior to this trip to Grant Grill. Even more surprising than that, I had never heard of Niman Ranch. I am overjoyed that I was honored to experience both. Realizing that I want to be a pseudo-professional foodie, not just some random guy who eats for the sake of doing so, I took the time to learn about Niman Ranch and the rearing of livestock which later becomes food. I always assumed a pig just kind of gets hit in the head one day and eventually ends up on a plate—that may be true for factory farms but certainly is not the case with Niman Ranch raised livestock.

Raised traditionally, humanely and sustainably? What does that mean?  “A farmer doesn’t have a group of animals locked in cages, waits for ’em to grow up then bats ’em over the head with a blunt object, bleeds ’em then sells ’em and they become food?” No Cue, they don’t! You’re an idiot, by the way. Niman Ranch was started in 1969 by hippie and elementary school teacher, Bill Niman (William Ellis Niman). Since inception Niman Ranch has become synonymous with raising livestock in a healthy and organic environment. Livestock raised by Niman Ranch—a network of more than 600 small U.S.-family farmers and ranchers committed to supporting the protection of the land and well-being of livestock —ranchers are raised outdoors in pastures or in bedded pens; Niman Ranch does not allow confinement of any kind; they are true to the animal husbandry factors. There are no antibiotics, hormones or meat products in the feed; the animals’ diet is strictly vegetarian.  Niman Ranch goes above the call of duty and is significantly different from factory farms. Not only do they feed the animals quality and organic food, they preserve the land where the animals roam, they treat them with care and dignity on a daily basis, and they connect with the community and people—and subsequently the world—around them. These practices have been recognized by restaurateurs and since 1971 many market menu items with the Niman Ranch name and company logo—a time-honored business model which began with celebrity chef Alice Waters and her iconic Chez Panisse restaurant.

Grant Grill understands the importance of raising animals in the manner of Niman Ranch’s husbandry; which is why I believe they feature a menu item with Niman Ranch raised meat. The Niman Ranch Pork Cheeks dinner at Grant Grill, an upscale restaurant located in the hotel lobby of the U.S. Grant Hotel in Downtown San Diego, are wonderful, moist and savory. The meat is soft and virtually melts in your mouth. Not ever having pork cheeks before, I was not sure what to expect but I can best describe the taste and texture as something similar to stew meat. I don’t exactly know what “stew meat” is, other than the meat that is usually in stew, when I eat stew—go figure. The dish is comprised of: Asian pears, Swiss chard, cipollini onions and rooftop garden tomato jam—made from tomatoes which are actually grown on the rooftop of the U.S. Grant Hotel. The tangy pears mixed with the sweet taste of the tomato jam base compliments the pork cheeks very well.

Whether for the tomatoes grown in the California sun atop the roof of the US Grant Hotel or to experience organically-raised meat, Grant Grill is certainly a place to visit. The pork cheeks are delicious. The Foccacia Bread is so good that it got its own blog post. I didn’t like the Carrot Juice so much but ahhh, that matters less. Grant Grill is alright in my book, try it for yourself and let me know what you think.


Table Setting at Grant Grill

When you are seated at your table it will look similar to this. I almost left Grant Grill because I felt that I under-dressed for the type of restaurant it is—very upscale. Once the Foccacia bread was placed on the table with the butter, I was sold and stayed. Aren’t I glad I did.


Seafood Shot at Grant Grill

A seafood shot. This is really good tuna.


Pork Belly Bread Pudding from Grant Grill

om nom nom nom nom! Om nom nom! In the Cue Who? section I confessed that I do not eat as much bacon as my friends think I do. Okay, maybe I do. I love Pork Belly. I love Bread Pudding. Grant Grill magically combines two of my favorite things into a dish. This is amazing. Simply Amazing.It is Pork Belly Breading Pudding w/ a piece of lettuce covered in tomato jam all baked down in buttersquash.The pork belly reminds me of pork belly you would get from a Korean BBQ restaurant. The are dates, as well. The way all these flavors combine in your mouth is amazing.



Carrot Juice at Grant Grill

I did not like The Flip at all. I don’t know why. Maybe it is an acquired taste that I just didn’t have. It sounded good though when the waiter told me about it. For whatever reason, I didn’t like it, possibly because of the egg whites.The Flip is Carrot Juice, Orange Blossom, Water and fresh Egg whites with a touch of cream. It sounds good, maybe not the egg white part; but I did not like it.


Grant Grill

Pork Belly Breading Pudding [upper left], Foccacia Bread [lower left], and the main course of NIman Ranch Pork Cheeks [right]

Dark Chocolate Brownies at Grant Grill

“Every meal should end with a piece of dark chocolate” said the waiter, at the end of my meal. He was right. The ending of a great experience and meal at Grant Grill. Like just about everything else I had at Grant Grill that day, these brownies are healthy, relatively speaking. They are 70% chocolate.


Grant Grill (located in the iconic US GRANT Hotel)
326 Broadway Ave
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 744-2077
Restaurant Hours:
Mon-Thurs: 6:30-11:00AM, 11:30-2:30PM, 5:30-10:00PM
Fri: 6:30-11:00AM, 11:30-2:30PM, 5:30-10:30PM
Sat: 6:30AM-2:30PM, 5:30-10:30PM
Sun: 6:30AM-2:30PM, 5:30-10:00PM
The Lounge: 4:00-11:00PM, 4:00PM-12:00AM
Grant Grill on Urbanspoon
Grant Grill on Foodio54

Niman Ranch Pork Cheeks at GRANT Grill

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About The Author
- I am Quincy, but you can call me Cue. I love food, and sharing my culinary experiences with you. Feel free to engaged with me over some good foodie conversation.