San Diego's Restaurant Week by jrnbbyzbujktdafk


									feature feature

                  Classy cuisine                       San Diego’s Restaurant Week
                                ttractive guys are a   chefs are pitted against one                                               ant is asked to “pack up his          Oceanaire, I found renewed

                  A             dime a dozen. But      another in a series of culinary          BY MICHELLE FLETCHER              knives” and go home, and each         confidence in their unwavering
                                what about guys        “cook offs,” each vying for the                                            episode features a respected          support. My business partner
                                who not only look      ultimate title of “Top Chef.”        challenges for the chefs: The         figure in the culinary industry as    and general manager of The
                                good but can also         “I am proud to represent the      first is a quick-fire test of basic   a guest judge.                        Oceanaire, Michael Mitchell,
                  cook? Chef Brian Malarkey is all     entire Oceanaire family as I         abilities; the second is an elimi-       “Participating in the ‘Top         was especially helpful during
                  that and a bag of chips too.         cook my way through this sea-        nation challenge designed to          Chef’ show was stressful,             the stressful time and managed
                     Executive chef and operating      son of ‘Top Chef,’” Malarkey         test the chefs’ versatility and       exciting, and life-altering. All in   to keep the operations at The
                  partner of The Oceanaire             said, during the competition. “It    ingenuity, as they take on            all, it was a very good experi-       Oceanaire going strong. Lucky
                  Seafood Room in San Diego’s          is an honor to be chosen to          unique culinary trials, such as       ence, one I will never forget,”       for me, they had faith that I
                  historic Gaslamp District,           compete on the show and an           working with unusual and exot-        Malarkey said. “The Oceanaire         wouldn’t make a fool of myself
                  Malarkey was named, “Chef of         experience I will not soon for-      ic foods or catering to a range       was incredibly supportive             or embarrass the restaurant on
                  the Year” by the San Diego           get.”                                of demanding clients. The chal-       throughout the entire time I          national television.”
                  Chapter of the California               “Top Chef” offers a fascinat-     lenges not only test contest-         was involved with ‘Top Chef.’           Like most reality TV shows,
                  Restaurant Association and           ing window into the competi-         ants’ skill in the kitchen, but       From giving me the necessary          “Top Chef” had its own share
                  competed in Bravo’s hit reality      tive, pressure-filled environment    also reveal whether they pos-         time off, to keeping me               of drama. Malarkey never got
                  TV series, “Top Chef.”               of world-class cookery and the       sess the customer service,            informed, to staying focused          caught up in the cat fights and
                  Malarkey spent five weeks in         restaurant business at the high-     management and teamwork               and committed to the lofty            melodramatic interplay
                  Miami, Fla. filming the reality      est level. A delight for the sens-   abilities required of a “Top          goals and ambitions we had            between contestants. “I didn’t
                  series, in which 15 professional     es, each episode holds two           Chef.” Each week, a contest-          already established for the           want to make it about drama. I

                  30 | Jan 24 2008
                                                                             give back to the community,
                                                                             and it’s especially fun for me
                                                                             because everyone loves to
                                                                                                                  explore them. In my neighbor-
                                                                                                                  hood in particular, people
                                                                                                                  should check out JSix, Soleil @
                                                                             eat!” Malarkey said. “Well,          K, and Stingaree. People just          150 Grand Café
                                                                             everyone who wants to live           don’t know what they’re miss-          1500 Ocean at the Hotel del
                                                                             anyways. I love to cook, and I       ing. Stingaree, for instance, is            Coronado
                                                                             love the causes, so, as I like to    more often thought of as a club        A.R. Valentien

                                                                             put it, ‘I’m glad to ‘cook for the   environment, as opposed to             Acqua al 2
                                                                             cause.’ We are happy to con-         fine dining, but executive chef        Adobe el Ristorante at Estancia
                                                                             tribute our time, energy and         Antonio Friscia is doing some          La Jolla Hotel
                                                                             food to raise money for charita-     amazing things in that kitchen.”       Americana Restaurant
                                                                             ble causes. We participate and          San Diego adds its own fla-         Anthony's Fish Grotto - Chula
                                                                             donate to dozens and dozens          vor to the top culinary destina-       Vista
                                                                             of organizations in San Diego.       tions in the country. “San             Anthony's Fish Grotto - Harbor
                                                                             Up next in February, we will be      Diego’s dining scene has a ton         Anthony's Fish Grotto - La Mesa
                                                                             at the Juvenile Diabetes             of energy. Many young, talent-         Arrivederci
                                                                             Research Foundation event            ed, innovative chefs are joining       Arterra Restaurant
                                                                             called Recipe for a Cure.”           the scene from everywhere:             Atoll Restaurant at the Catama-
                                                                                While Malarkey’s cooking          Los Angeles, San Francisco,
                                                                                                                                                              ran Resort
                                                                             prowess has taken him across         New York, even Europe. We
                                                                                                                                                         Avenue 5 Restaurant
                                                                             the world on several occasions,      are also lucky to have quality
                                                                                                                                                         Azul La Jolla
                                                                             his home is always San Diego.        local produce and a variety of
                                                                                                                                                         Baleen at Paradise Point
                                                                             “I love San Diego. It is a great     the freshest seafood right at
                                                                                                                                                         Bali Hai
                                                                             place to live and raise a family,”   our fingertips,” Malarkey said.
                                                                             Malarkey said. “We have an           “I really think you can find just
                                                                             amazing dining scene that just       about anything you could possi-        Beaumont's Neighborhood
                                                                             hasn’t been given the right kind     bly want in San Diego. You just             Eatery
                                                                             of attention. Coming to enjoy        have to go out, explore, and           Bernard O's
                                                                             San Diego’s sun and surf, chefs      have a good time!”                     Bertrand at Mister A's
                                                                             have been filing in from New            “[San Diego Restaurant              Blanca Restaurant & Lounge
                                                                             York, San Francisco, and even        Week] encourages everyone to           Blue Fire Grill
                                                                             Europe to prepare cultural           go out and try different restau-       Blue Point Coastal Cuisine
                                                                             cuisines in our fine city.”                    rants. San Diego has an      Boathouse Restaurant
                                                                                With the backdrop of                             incredible evolving     Bondi - the Australian beer bar
                                                                             San Diego Restaurant                                    culinary culture    Brigantine Seafood Restaurant
was just there to cook,”                  Besides being a culinary TV        Week on the horizon,                                      and diverse       Brockton Villa Restaurant
Malarkey said. “I’ve always            star, Malarkey is a savvy busi-       Malarkey offered pro-                                     culinary          Café Chloe
been a fun-loving guy, and I just      nessperson and talented               fessional insights into                                   themes.           Café Coyote
wanted to be out there cooking         restaurateur. In 2004, finally giv-   our backyard culinary                                    There are just     Casa de Pico
and having a good time. That’s         ing his talent its due, he relocat-   scene. “I firmly believe                                 so many            Casa de Reyes
my motto in the kitchen, ‘Have         ed from the Pacific Northwest         San Diego’s dining scene                              restaurants to        Casa Guadalajara
a good time, and make great            to San Diego to open The              is underrated,” Malarkey                             experience. I          Cavaillon Restaurant
tasting food.’ What it really          Oceanaire.                            said. “With so many differ-                              know people        Charlie's by the Sea
comes down to is if you don’t             The Oceanaire Seafood              ent restaurants and                                             who go      Chart House - Cardiff
love what you do, then don’t be        Room is an invitingly retro sup-      cuisines, and located                                               out     Chive
doing it.”                             per club that serves the fresh-       so close to the bor-                                                        Coronado Boathouse
   Maintaining the same cool           est seafood, flown in daily, in a     der, San Diego has                                                          Corvette Diner
attitude, Malarkey discussed           setting that’s sophisticated but      become a melt-                                                              Crab Catcher Restaurant
what he learned from the “Top          relaxed, sleek yet warm.              ing pot of dining                                                           Croce's Restaurant & Jazz Bar
Chef” experience: “Not to take         Though most guests order              styles and cul-                                                             Currant Brasserie
reality TV too seriously; it’s real-   from the daily printed menu’s         tures. Influen-                                                             Current at the Coronado Island
ly just a big game show. A lot         “simply grilled or broiled” sec-      tial chefs from                                                                  Marriott Resort
of people have a lot of different      tion in order to best appreciate      around the                                                                  Dakota Grill & Spirits
opinions, and I didn’t have            the freshness of the day’s offer-     world create                                                                Delicias
much of a choice other than to         ings, The Oceanaire satisfies a       an unforget-                                                                Dussini Mediterranean Bistro
hear all of them. I didn’t think all   diverse customer base with            table dining                                                                El Agave Restaurant
their opinions were right, but I       specialties ranging from high-        experience                                                                  El Bizcocho
definitely learned from them.”         end preparations, such as pan-        with unique,                                                                Epazote Oceanview Steakhouse
   The most recent installation        seared Chilean sea bass to tav-       quality food. We’re                                                         EXY -Chic Greek- Restaurant &
of “Top Chef” was filmed in            ern-style fish and chips and          lucky to experience                                                         Lounge
Chicago. No air date has been          classics such as Shrimps de           the culinary arts of                                                        Fat City Steakhouse
set.                                   Jonghe and Oysters Rocke-             these chefs, such as                                                        Firefly at The Dana
                                       feller.                               Chef Jack of Jack’s                                                         Firefly Grill & Winebar
                                          The restaurant’s 1930s-era         in La Jolla, who

                                                                                                                                                         Firenze Trattoria
                                       dining room appeals to a varied       moved here from                                                             Fish Market
                                       clientele by marrying swank           New York, and Chef
                                                                                                                                                         Gaslamp Strip Club
                                       with Big Band standards and           Bernard Guillas at                                                          George's California Modern

                                       everyday accoutrements such           The Marine Room,                                                            Grant Grill at the US Grant Hotel
                                       as tabletop Ketchup and crack-        who continues to intro-                                        every        Gringo's Cantina

                                       ers. The Oceanaire’s design,          duce native European                                          night of      Harry's Bar & American Grill
                                       evocative of an ocean liner, rein-    cultures and flavors.”                                     the week         Hawthorn's Restaurant Lounge
                                       forces the restaurant’s devotion         Similarly, many of our                             to try new
                                                                                                                                                         Hornblower Cruises
   400 J Street                        to serving only top-of the catch      local restaurants don’t get                           places. Seeing
                                                                                                                                                         Humphrey's by the Bay
   San Diego, CA                       fish, while decorative features       enough credit in the culi-                           people have
                                                                                                                                                         Humphrey's La Jolla Grill
   92101                               such as maritime quotations           nary community he said. “I                          such a great
                                                                                                                                                         Indigo Grill
   619-858-2277                        painted on the walls temper the       think there are restaurants,                        time and be so
                                                                                                                                                         Innfusion at the Inn at Rancho
                                       formality of white tablecloths        and even hotels, in every                            satisfied with
                                                                                                                                                              Santa Fe
   Open 5 p.m. – 10 p.m.               and leather-upholstered booths.       city that just don’t get the                         their experience
                                                                                                                                                         Island Prime
   Sunday – Thursday;                     Malarkey finds time among          credit they deserve,”                               at The
                                                                             Malarkey said. “San Diego                           Oceanaire, we           Jack's La Jolla
   5 p.m. – 11 p.m.                    his responsibilities at Oceanaire
                                       to give back to the San Diego         has so many great restaurants,                      have decided to         Jade Theater
   Friday – Saturday
                                       Community. “It’s always nice to       people just need to get out and                      extend our San

                                                                                                                                 Jan 24 2008 | 31
          restaurants                        FROM PREVIOUS PAGE

                                             Diego Restaurant Week special
                                                                                 tic, gourmet meal. “When look-
                                                                                 ing to lay out the cash, my new
                                                                                 favorite is NOBU,” Malarkey
                                                                                                                         Many feel San Diego is also
                                                                                                                      the birthplace of the fish taco.
                                                                                                                      While it’s become a staple at
                                                                                                                                                          “And seeing as how I’ve
                                                                                                                                                          accomplished all my life goals, I
                                                                                                                                                          may pick up and head to Brazil
           Jake's Del Mar
                                             menu items an additional week       said. “As long as you don’t          franchises and taco stands,         with my wife, Chantelle, and
           JRDN Restaurant
                                             with the hopes that even more       mind paying for it, the food is      even gourmet chefs enjoy this       our dog. We’ll buy a nice little
           Kemo Sabe
                                             guests will be able to enjoy it.”   phenomenal!”                         local favorite. “The after-shift    cottage on a grassy knoll near
           Kensington Grill
                                                Where does a culinary artist        It’s no surprise to hear          meal at The Oceanaire definite-     the ocean, and I’ll make fresh
           La Bastide Bistro

                                             find a great meal under $10?        Malarkey’s favorite type of          ly has the best tacos I’ve ever     seafood dishes for us every
                                             “No doubt the Family Meal at        food: “Seafood! Not only do I        had,” Malarkey said. “I try to      day. Well, I don’t know, either
           Le Fontainebleau
                                             The Oceanaire is by far the best    cook it, but I love to eat it!       keep it a secret, but the boys      that or ‘Dancing with the
           Le Grande Café at the Westgate
                                             available under $10,” Malarkey      Whether I’m at a French              on the line definitely know how     Stars?’ Just kidding.”
                Hotel                        said. “Everyone in the kitchen      restaurant, an Italian restaurant,   to put together some amazing           “You’ll definitely be seeing
           Lei Lounge                        takes a turn making Family          a Sushi bar, I order seafood         tacos! I’m especially lucky         more of me. I have a lot of
           MARKET Restaurant + Bar           Meals, so it’s always a surprise.   wherever I go. I get to order        because I have great Mexican        things I still want to accomplish.
           McCormick & Schmick's             The ever-changing dish, created     the seafood for The Oceanaire,       cooks in the kitchen who teach      Right now, I’m back at the
           Mediterranean Room La Valencia    by people who like working          and it’s an adventure every          me new preparation tricks and       restaurant and enjoy overseeing
           Mille Fleurs                      together and cooking together,      time. It always blows my mind        introduce me to new, great fla-     the daily operations there. I have
           Mister Tiki Mai Tai Lounge        is always an outstanding blend      that we have so many options         vors every day!”                    a few things lined up in Los
           Mistral at Loews Coronado Bay     of a variety of cuisines.”          of the freshest seafood right at        So what’s next for this top      Angeles that I can’t get into too
                Resort                          Chefs also like to blow the      our fingertips, available the very   chef? “I’m thinking about a         much detail about yet, but I plan
           Molly's Restaurant & Bar at the   bank on occasion with a fantas-     next morning.”                       new hairdo,” laughs Malarkey.       to be around for a while.” 5
           Marriott Marina

                                             Christmas in January –
           Oceanaire Seafood Room
           Pacific Coast Grill
           Pacifica Del Mar

                                             San Diego’s culinary
           Pamplemousse Grille
           Paradise Grille
           Parallel 33

           Peohe's Waterfront Restaurant
           Quarter Kitchen
           Rainwater's on Kettner
           Rancho Valencia
           Red Circle
                                                      any in the restaurant         Now in its fourth year, San

           Red Pearl Kitchen
           RICE at the W Hotel                        business call San          Diego Restaurant Week, like a
           Rockin' Baja Lobster                       Diego Restaurant           fine pinot noir, is getting better
           Romesco                           Week “Christmas in January.”        as the years go by. “Four years
           Roppongi Restaurant & Sushi Bar   Unlike previous attempts to         ago, with the support of our
           Roy's                             spotlight San Diego’s regional      California Restaurant Associa-
           Ruth's Chris Steakhouse           eateries, this flavorful celebra-   tion, San Diego Chapter, and
           Ruth's Chris Steakhouse           tion is modeled on and offered      our partners ConVis and San
           SAGE At Barona Valley Ranch       in the same spirit as the Big       Diego Magazine, we made the
                Resort & Casino              Apple’s, a format that has also     dream a reality. And we’ve
           Sage Grill                        inspired other large cities, such   been successfully delivering
           Sally's Seafood on the Water      as Boston, Miami, Atlanta,          prix-fixe, three-course dinners
           Sante Ristorante                  Chicago, Denver and Philadel-       at San Diego’s finest restau-
           Savory Casual Fare                phia.                               rants every year since.”              Ingrid Croce, restaurateur,
           Sbicca Bistro Del Mar                Organized by the California         Founding San Diego Restau-         owner of Croce’s in the
           Sbicca Bistro Encinitas           Restaurant Association in part-     rant Week – along with devel-         Gaslamp District, and
           Shades Oceanfront Bistro          nership with the San Diego          oping Croce’s and writing a           founder of San Diego
                                             Convention and Visitors Bureau      bestselling cookbook – was an         Restaurant Week
           Sheerwater at the Hotel del
                                             and San Diego Magazine,             uphill battle for Croce. “Restau-
           Soleil @ K
                                             Restaurant Week gives local         rateurs are entrepreneurs who        diverse communities – all with      we have been told that diners
                                             food aficionados and visitors an    are skeptical about being            their own personalities,” Croce     discover ‘hidden treasures,’
                                             opportunity to enjoy special        homogenized. They like to do         said. “But during San Diego         during Restaurant Week –
           Tango Restaurant & Wine Bar
                                             three-course, prix fixe menus       things their own way. So, the        Restaurant Week, we all come        restaurants that they might
           Tapenade Restaurant
                                             from more than 125 participat-      idea of conforming and offering      together with a common goal –       never have known about were
           Terra Restaurant & Bar
                                             ing restaurants throughout San      three-course dinners for $30 or      to bring local diners an event      it not for this event.
           The Beach House
                                             Diego County for $30 – $40 per      $40 instead of their usual ticket    that offers three-course prix          “What has been most excit-
           The Field Irish Pub
                                             person. It features a vast array    average of $60 or more made it       fixe meals for $30 or $40. This     ing about San Diego Restau-
           The Fleetwood                     of options from established         difficult to convince restaurants    gives diners the opportunity to     rant Week is that it has intro-
           The French Gourmet                favorites, as well as many new      to join us the first time around.    visit not only their neighbor-      duced locals to their own
           The Grill                         restaurants that have opened           “But after the first year,        hood restaurants, but to dine       amazing dining scene. We
           The Marine Room                   their doors during the past year.   restaurateurs realized what a        outside their convenient bound-     have found that during Restau-
           The Palm                             “For many years, while San       great promotional tool Restau-       aries by offering fabulous sav-     rant Week, guests who dine
           The Prado at Balboa Park          Diego’s restaurant scene was        rant Week could be. They found       ings throughout the city.”          out infrequently, will often take
           The Shores Restaurant             growing up, I was also planning     that if they could “wow” their           While Restaurant Week cer-      the opportunity to indulge in
           Thee Bungalow                     to … promote our local dining       guests and bring in diners who       tainly offers the community         two or more evenings out at
           Tom Ham's Lighthouse              scene and help establish San        might ordinarily never visit their   delicious culinary treats at        participating restaurants. So I
           Top of the Market                 Diego as a true dining destina-     restaurant, that they could          affordable prices, the event is     suggest, please make reserva-
           Trattoria Acqua                   tion,” said Ingrid Croce, restau-   increase their market share.         also a huge boost to the local      tions early, and try a restaurant
           Venice Ristorante & Wine Bar      rateur, owner of Croce’s in the     Also, since the first year, when     restaurant scene. “The higher-      you’ve never been to before.”
           Via Italia Trattoria              Gaslamp District, and founder       only 70 restaurants participated,    end restaurants usually book           Tickets or passes are not
           Vigilucci Osteria                 of San Diego Restaurant Week.       we have been fortunate that the      first. But, this is a great asset   required for Restaurant Week.
           Vincent's                         “San Diego Restaurant Week          success of the event has now         to restaurants who are either       Food lovers may simply dine
           When In Rome                      has been a success story for        more than doubled the number         new or whose popularity is still    out at as many participating
           Wild Note Café                    us too. And now, in our fourth      of participating restaurants.”       unknown. What I mean is, that       restaurants as they like.
           Yard House                        year, San Diego diners can             Restaurant Week is much           once the most popular restau-       Advance reservations are
           Zocalo-Old Town                   anticipate two Restaurant           more expansive than the many         rants are full, other community     strongly recommended, how-
           Zocalo-Rancho Bernardo            Weeks, on Jan. 27 - Feb. 1 and      “Taste-Ofs” events in San            dining establishments start to      ever, and can be made by call-
                                             on June 22 – 27.”                   Diego. “San Diego has 12             fill up too,” Croce said. “Often,   ing restaurants directly. 5

          32 | Jan 24 2008
                                  local favorites                                                          local favorites
                                                                             Parallel 33
                                                                               741 W. Washington St.
                                                                               San Diego, CA 92103


                                                                                    arallel 33 is truly a unique gem in the San Diego culinary

                                                                             P      scene. Robert Butterfield and his partner and chef, Amiko
                                                                                    Gubbins, bring 20 years of San Diego restaurant experience
                                                                             to the restaurant, which is nestled on Washington Street in Mis-
                                                                             sion Hills.
                                                                                “While studying the origins of civilization, specifically how food
                                                                             contributed to mankind’s blossoming, we wondered what unique
                                                                             qualities provided the Tigris-Euphrates valley the honor as the birth-
                                                                             place of agriculture. Our discovery was that this noble valley

Hawthorn’s Restaurant and Lounge
                                                                             shared its geographic orientation with San Diego! Naturally, we fol-
                                                                             lowed the 33rd parallel around the globe to see what other inter-
                                                                             esting places might share our good fortune,” notes Parallel 33 on
  2895 University Ave.
                                                                             its Web site. “This zone, 33 degrees north of the equator, shares
  San Diego, CA 92104
                                                                             its good fortune with the culinary meccas of Japan, China, India,
                                                                             Lebanon and Morocco among others.”
                                                                                The restaurant’s diverse menu offers a range of culinary delights,
                                                                             including: Ahi Poke with Asian Pear and Mango, Spicy Wasabi
       he location in a theater is new for the city of San Diego –

T      Hawthorn’s Restaurant and Lounge is tucked inside Birch North
       Park Theatre. The front room houses the open kitchen and is
comfortable, friendly and informal, but the main dining room, housed
                                                                             Dressing; Fattoush Salad with Romaine, Cucumbers, Tomatoes,
                                                                             Carrots, Radish, Sumac and Crispy Naan Croutons; Pan Seared
                                                                             Scallops, Bacon Accented Lentils, Red Kuri Squash, and Maple
                                                                             Braised Pearl Onion and Chantrelle Compote; Pomegranate Glazed
in the building’s original lobby, is the place to sit back and relax in a
                                                                             Maple Leaf Farms Duck Breast on Sage Scented Kabocha Squash,
fun, not-quite-campy, theatrical setting. A solid wall of glass brings the
                                                                             Spinach, Red Onion and Roasted Anjou Pear; and even Date, Pear,
street scene into the room, and even if it’s just a stretch of University
                                                                             and Pecan-filled B’stilla with Honey Crème Anglaise, Lemons, Tof-
Avenue, it’s loads of fun just to watch the people pass by.
                                                                             fee Gelato. Can we say “yum?” 5
   “We have one of the best chefs in San Diego. Andres Banuelos
has been with the restaurant for over 15 years, and the camaraderie
he has with his staff allows him to produce amazing dishes,” says
David Cohen of Hawthorn’s. “The food is New-American, with an
emphasis on savory sauces and presentation. Everyone can find
something they are comfortable with, or they can be adventurous and
try something a little bolder.”
   In the spring of 2006, David Witt closed his long-running Fifth &
Hawthorn in Banker’s Hill and opened Hawthorn’s inside the Stephen
and Mary Birch North Park Theatre, the beautifully restored center-
piece of San Diego’s recently reborn neighborhood.
   Although, sadly, David passed on just a few months after opening
the new Hawthorn’s, his widow, Rose Witt, continues to keep
David’s dream alive.
   “We have one of the most diverse clienteles in all of San Diego.
Everyone from theater patrons to North Park hipsters come in and
enjoy themselves,” Cohen said. “I really think this mix of people is
one of the most interesting things about our restaurant. We have
nights where an 80-year-old opera-goer will be chatting up a 21-year-
old rock band drummer at the bar....The eclectic people really make it
fun for us.”
   Hawthorn’s menu includes: Blue Lump Crab and Salmon Cakes;
Chateaubriand Tamales: Wild Mushroom & Foie Gras Tamales, Grilled
Tenderloin Medallions; Red Wine Tarragon Cream; Hibachi Style King
Salmon; Jasmine Rice, Enoki Mushroom-Daikon Salad; Mandarin
Orange Butter; Gorgonzola Ravioli; Flat Iron Steak, grilled and served
with a dried cranberry, port wine reduction sauce; and, of course,
Creme Brûlée.
   San Diego Restaurant Week is an excellent way for Hawthorn’s to
reach new clientele. “We just took over Hawthorn’s on University
Avenue and wanted to let people know that we are serious about
making this the best restaurant in North Park,” said Cohen. “With the
help of great people like Mike Mitchell at the California Restaurant
Association, North Park has the potential to become a dining destina-
tion in Southern California. It adds visibility to our restaurant and lets
patrons know that we support the California Restaurant Association.
We pride ourselves on being part of the local community, and what
better way than to support our local chapter of the association.”
   But Cohen believes the culinary scene in San Diego still has room to
grow. ”San Diego is amazing, but the one thing we would like to see
more of is outdoor and rooftop dining venues....We need to take more
advantage of our most valuable asset, our beautiful weather.” 5

                                                                                                      Jan 24 2008 | 33
                                              local favorites                                                                local favorites
             Kensington Grill
               4055 Adams Ave.
               San Diego, CA 92116


                     hip neighborhood eatery, Kensington Grill is a mecca for the

             A       upscale casual diner. For more than 10 years, guests have
                     savored exceptionally executed, rustic comfort food with
             strong world influences.
                “We are unique in the fact that even though we have been in
             this community for over a decade, we keep evolving,” says Sara
             Stroud, manager of the Kensington Grill. “We are not sitting back
             and getting comfortable. We pay attention to what our guests are
             looking for, and we know that there is an opportunity every day for
             growth and improvement.
                “We are a neighborhood restaurant, but you don’t have to live in
             this particular neighborhood to feel that way. We want our first-
             time guests to feel as welcomed and comfortable as our longtime
             regulars. Our menu is a modern version of American comfort food
             with various global influences.”
                Dining options range from the recognizable to the surreal: Chefs
             combine a range of flavors, textures, and edible combinations to
             create numerous dining options. Try the Oven-Dried Tomato and
             Kalamata Flatbread; Sesame-Seared Ahi; Grilled Swordfish; Wild
             Game Meatloaf; Buffalo-Style Meatballs; and the Messy Brownie                    Kemo Sabe
             Sundae.                                                                            3958 Fifth Ave.
                “Kensington Grill is very fortunate to be in a community that con-              San Diego, CA 92103
             tinues to support us every year. We are definitely a neighborhood                  619-220-6802
             restaurant, and we don’t see a huge amount of tourist traffic com-       
             pared to Downtown. We cater mainly to locals and neighborhood
                                                                                                      hef Deborah Scott is making headlines at Kemo Sabe. She

             residents, some who have been coming here since we first
             opened,” said Stroud. “A large percentage of our Restaurant Week                         serves more than a delicious meal; she creates artistic dishes
             reservations are guests who have never dined with us before. This                        with a flair and personality.
             week is a great opportunity for us to introduce ourselves to them.”                 Attributing her diverse tastes and love of spicy, exotic foods to
                The Grill is well-integrated into San Diego’s overall culinary                her strong creative mind, Scott began experimenting with unexpect-
             scene. Where is San Diego heading? “The diversity of San Diego’s                 ed food combinations while a student at the Baltimore International
                                                 population is constantly providing           Culinary College. It was only a matter of time before she master-
                                                   us with new cuisine and dining             minded Kemo Sabe’s eclectic Pacific Rim menu in 1995.
                                                     options. At the same time,                  “Kemo Sabe is a fusion restaurant, created before we knew
                                                      California is at the forefront of       about fusion restaurants, which combines Asian and Southwestern
                                                      the Farm Fresh movement.                cuisines. Presentation is a huge part of our cuisine, as well as
                                                        San Diego chefs are really            blending textures, flavors, and spices to create dishes that we refer
                                                        starting to embrace this, and         to as ‘complete compositions,’” said Scott. “Kemo Sabe opened 13
                                                       it will only bring a better            years ago, when there were basically no adventurous restaurants in
                                                       product to the table.” 5               San Diego. Our restaurant helped pave the way for many new and
                                                                                              exciting restaurants, which have evolved through the years.”
                                                                                                 The menu includes: Smoked Duck Wonton Soup; Roasted Nut-
                                                                                              Crusted Fried Brie, with Lime Pepita Dressing; Tahini Chicken Salad;
                                                                                              Blackened Satay Chicken Breast Stack; Anasazi Ravioli; Thai Fish
                                                                                              Chowder; Kahlua-Peanut Glazed Smoked Ribs; and Indonesian Soy
                                                                                              Rack of Lamb.
                                                                                                 Scott and her crew are excited about San Diego Restaurant
                                                                                              Week. “This event definitely benefits our restaurant. Many people
                                                                                              take advantage of this promotion, as a means of trying new restau-
                                                                                              rants. Some guests have reservations at different restaurants for all
                                                                                              six evenings. We had one couple last year who came to Kemo
                                                                                              Sabe three nights in a row for this event,” said Scott. “San Diego
                                                                                              has come so far in the last decade; becoming a destination for din-
                                                                                              ing. I would say that we are in the position to rival other restaurant
                                                                                              destination cities in our current cuisine offerings. These new ven-
                                                                                              tures have helped to ‘raise the bar,’ in San Diego, and we are excit-
                                                                                              ed to be a part of this industry.” 5

                                                                           Meet the chef at
                                                                           Kensington Grill

          34 | Jan 24 2008
                              local favorites                                                         local favorites
Bertrand at Mr. A’s
  2550 Fifth Ave.
  Ste. 406

  San Diego, CA 92103

           ith the most spectacular views in San Diego, Bertrand at

W          Mr. A’s is just minutes from Downtown and an eternity
           from the ordinary dining experience. The extremely
attentive staff strives to pamper guests and entice them with the
finest cuisine while they gaze upon views of San Diego Bay, Bal-
boa Park, Coronado, Point Loma and even the world famous San
Diego Zoo. The outdoor, wrap-around balcony is a great place to
toast a San Diego sunset and watch the jets gently glide into
America’s finest city.
   “Bertrand at Mister A’s menu offers a Modern American Cuisine
with French and Mediterranean influences,” notes the restaurant’s
Web site.
   “The restaurant is already booked up for Restaurant Week,” said
Fro Bertrand, owner. “We have been deluged with reservations

                                                                       The Guild Restaurant + Lounge
requests since early December. Because of the incredible
response, we have extended the affair one extra week, and a few
reservations remain for that second week.”                               1805 Newton Ave.
   Guests will be able to tickle their taste buds with: Chino’s Farm     San Diego, CA 92113
Heirloom Tomato Salad; Ahi Tuna and Hamachi Carpaccio; Pan               619-564-7584
Seared Dover Sole Goujonnettes; Sautéed Provimi Farm Veal      
Medallions; and a delicate Pumpkin “Fondant.” 5
                                                                               he Guild Restaurant + Lounge’s modern design – with its

                                                                       T       mix of steel, glass, wood and concrete – by co-owner Paul
                                                                               Basile catches your eye as you enter the beautiful Barrio
                                                                       Logan eatery. The Guild’s industrial ambience is the result of the
                                                                       restaurant’s warm and gorgeous décor, which recently won an
                                                                       Orchid Award from the San Diego Architectural Foundation.
                                                                       “Almost everything you see in the building, inside and out, was
                                                                       built here in our building at Basile Studio’s metal fabrication shop,
                                                                       which you can view while you eat,” says Linda Karp, owner of The
                                                                          “The cuisine, from our award-winning Chef, Melissa Mayer, is
                                                                       carefully crafted from seasonal, organic ingredients. She strives to
                                                                       create contemporary plates that are different from any other
                                                                       restaurant. The dishes are served in custom designed tableware
                                                                       made in Basile Studio; they are as tasty as they are beautiful. And,
                                                                       finally, our location in Barrio Logan is off the beaten path, but we’ve
                                                                       become the vanguard of new development and design in this up-
                                                                       and-coming area,” Karp said.
                                                                          Enjoy: Chevre Brûlée; Sesame Seared Yellow Fin; Toyo Ito-Tuna
                                                                       Sashimi Terrine; Jumbo Lump Crab Cake; Creekstone Organic
                                                                       Black Angus Flat Iron and Frites; Campfire S’mores; and, for a liba-
                                                                       tion, a Jade Kiss Martini. 5

                                                                       Chef Melissa Mayer

                                                                                                 Jan 24 2008 | 35

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