I have to admit that when I learned of the Wise Ox Butcher & Deli joining the Shake Shack as another meat-centric dining option in the new Beacon La Costa center, my preconceived notion of the area supporting primarily trendy new health-conscious eateries was utterly turned upside down.
Vegetables are scarce at both places, although there are options in the center for healthy eating.
The choice of the La Costa spot for Wise Ox, in addition to the North Park location that opened in 2020 in the former Heart & Trotter Butchery, was a bit of a surprise but a welcome one for sure, as it’s great to have a solid new sandwich shop in the area. As a bonus, it’s also a high-end butcher/meat market with plenty of fun condiments, sauces and the like.
The concept enables customers to bring home premium meats and other specialty ingredients regularly featured on the menus at Trust Restaurant Group establishments, all of which should be familiar to San Diego foodies. The Trust constellation of eateries includes Trust, Fort Oak, Cardellino and Rare Society, a Solana Beach steakhouse brought to you by founder and chef Brad Wise.
So, in the spirit of Moto Deli, these are genuinely chef-driven sandwiches of the highest order. The one that caught my eye first was the Smoked Bologna, which threw me immediately back to my ski bum days in Steamboat Springs, where I was a caretaker/cook for a wealthy woman from Memphis, Tennessee, who introduced me to fried bologna sandwiches. I whipped them up for her several times a week and developed quite an appreciation.
The Wise Ox version is heartier, stacked high with house-made bologna, melted cheese, mayo and mustard on a toasted bun. This would be a fabulous late-night sandwich, but this was mid-week lunch, so I ate half and saved the rest for an evening snack.
That could be said for most of the sandwiches at Wise Ox, as they are all substantial, so unless you have time for an after-lunch nap, I’d go with the “eating half and saving the other half for later” strategy.
I also had to try their version of a Philly Cheese Steak with shaved NY Steak, pickled peppers, onions, American cheese, and Duke’s mayo on an Amoroso roll.
Yeah, this one works on every level, but to have one available even up until 10 p.m. would have to fall into the top five nighttime munchie delights in coastal North County. I ate a quarter of it and enjoyed it cold just as much later on.
This was a three-sandwich lunch, and the next one up is not on their website menu, so I think it was unique and similar to a chopped Italian sandwich. Being a chopped Italian salad fan, I had to try this one and loved it like a nicely dressed chopped salad on a fantastic bun. I’m hoping this becomes a regular item if it’s not already.
The sandwich I will return for is smoked pepper turkey, Swiss cheese, lettuce, tomato, avocado, chipotle aioli and toasted sourdough. Besides sounding like a pleasurable flavor explosion, this one sounds manageable at lunch. The rest of the sandwich lineup includes a Breakfast Sandwich, Double Cheeseburger, Roast Beef, Dry Aged Burger, Beer Fat Fries and a Mac Salad and Potato Salad (both were solid).
The Wise Ox butcher shop offers house-butchered cuts of beef, pork, lamb and chicken, as well as house-made sausages, marinades, sauces and spice blends. It’s a beauty of a meat counter, and if you value that local butcher shop environment, it’s worth picking up meaty goodness on your trip there for lunch. They also offer a subscription to the Ox Box, a monthly meat program featuring 10 pounds of vacuum-sealed fresh meats.
With a large outdoor patio at the Beacon, the Wise Ox has the perfect location to indulge in a hearty lunch over a beer or wine and bring home some solid leftovers. As another bonus, Wise Ox also retails bottles of wine offered on the Trust Restaurant Group lists, which would be perfect to pick up to compliment the fantastic meal that awaits.
And while you are there, pick up some of the chef’s favorite pantry items you know will make a fine addition to your home kitchen.
I’ll be back soon to finish reviewing the menu and pick up some homemade sausages for the grill.
7750 El Camino Real Suite P, Carlsbad, www.wiseoxsd.com