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Girl Next Door

Brooklyn Girl opens with a bang


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Brooklyn Girl in Mission Hills

Every 1,000 years, a mythical bird builds a fire pit and flame-broils itself, only to be reborn shiny and new. Showy bird. And a real neat trick—dying to live.

Michael and Victoria McGeath just phoenixed. After 1,000 years of service, their Trattoria Acqua in La Jolla was scorched by the holy economic hell. Two years after its closure, the husband-and-wife duo is reborn with Brooklyn Girl in Mission Hills.

Lord, what a difference.

The McGeaths are SD resto lifers, icons. Michael managed the Old Spaghetti Factory in 1976. He hired Victoria as a server, and fell in love. They spearheaded the famous Fio’s in the Gaslamp, back when the area was mostly good for muggings and satisfying sailors’ illicit needs. Then came Acqua in 1994, an upscale Italian cavern.

Acqua was cozy, quaint, stocked with romantic trinkets of bodega life. It possessed a certain Old World theme-parkness, white linen included. By 2010 it seemed a touch out of step, weary as the ’80s-style wooden shingles.

I wondered. I know others did. With Brooklyn Girl, could the vets grasp the scene’s current blacksmith modernism and stand up next to Bankers Hill, Craft & Commerce, and Bencotto?

Try It  
4033 Goldfinch Street
619-296-4600
brooklyngirleatery.com

Seems so. Brooklyn Girl is nostalgia meets now—a clean, unpretentious vision of the boho burg. Lights dangle from century-old iron pulleys; walls are subway material (concrete and tiny white tile); two massive chandeliers are enclosed in black iron birdcages, to stunning effect. Twenty-two-foot ceilings in the 4,800-square-foot space provide breathing room. It’s needed, because it’s jammed with stylish urban architects and the people who try to look like them.  

In name and décor, Brooklyn Girl is McGeath’s love letter to his wife and the city that formed her. Jeesh. I named my Facebook password after my wife (that’s a lie; my daughter got the nod). How do you criticize an icon who lost his restaurant after 17 years, only to rise again and dedicate it to the woman he loves?

Here’s how.

Kidding. So far, Brooklyn Girl is a success. At 5 p.m., a swarm of locals joust for first-come seating at the bar and wooden communal tables. I approach two open seats. A woman interjects, points to her iPhone, says something about friends. I move on. Within 30 seconds, an older gentleman all but picks her up and deposits her two seats down.

Chivalry’s dead, lady. Tell your friends.  

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