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HIRE LEARNING: Kitchen 1540 Taps New Chef

Brandon Fortune takes over K1540; Beach House closes in Cardiff, Lucky Liu's open

Kitchen 1540's new chef, Brandon Fortune

Kitchen 1540's new chef, Brandon Fortune

One of the bigger holes in San Diego’s restaurant scene was Kitchen 1540 at L’Auberge Del Mar, which has been without an executive chef since Scott Thomas Dolbee left last year. Now that hole is filled. Brandon Fortune will take over on Feb. 17 and begin the long process of overhauling the menu to his vision. Fortune’s a wildcard—a chef with Southern roots who started as a cook for Four Seasons Atlanta before spending three-plus years on the opening team for Amaya at the Grand Del Mar. He left to open his own restaurant in La Jolla, Aquamoree—a Southern tapas joint. Never ate there, but heard good things. That spot didn’t make it (tough location, admittedly), then Fortune spent the last year helping get the Green Dragon project in Carlsbad off the ground. His 11-course tasting with the L’Auberge staff supposedly knocked their socks off, with him cold-smoking scallops tableside and dishes like duck fat-injected filet and mushroom cappuccino.

BEACH IS CLOSED: Knowledgeable friends are telling us The Beach House in Cardiff has closed. Not a terrible surprise. Despite the godly location—on the edge of the water by pro surfer Rob Machado’s home break, Cardiff Reef—the peach-stucco box needed help, especially being flanked by Chart House (an institution that people go to as a sort of Pavlov-food thing) and the shiny, new, well-architected Pacific Coast Grill. Would be nice to get a big investor who would gut the current Miami retirement home-chic restaurant and make that little stretch a true dining destination. Seems right for a higher-end, chef-driven concept.  

LUCKY YOU: San Diego’s dim sum scene is dim. In fact, the city just can't seem to catch a break with good Chinese food. Best options are Spicy City and Dede’s Teajuice City over on Convoy. Now local restaurateur Alex Thao (Rama), has opened Lucky Liu’s in Downtown in an effort to remedy that. We broke the news on this spot early last year, and it just opened. Go take a look.

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