ONE MORE RESTAURANT ROW: Exactly one block north of Soleil @ K, a 174-seat restaurant named J Six is scheduled to open at the Sixth and J corner of Hotel Solamar, which is primarily owned by John Moores (he owns the Omni, too, as well as the Padres and other minor entities). April Fools’ Day might be judged an unwise occasion to commence slinging hash, but hope springs eternal in hoteliers’ hearts, especially since Solamar projects buckets of bucks to be earned by the J Street Bar. An insider says the open-air saloon, four floors above street level, has been designed to heist “The Spandex-wearing crowd that hangs at the W” . .. J Street Bar will overlook the not-yet-open The Palm, a branch of the regal New York steakery that, when it comes to portions, out-Morton’s Morton’s . . . Nearby at Sixth and F, Palm Desert–based LG’s Prime Steakhouse commenced serving shortly after New Year’s Day, and an early experience did not sear the sky with fireworks . . . Cater-corner to LG’s, the 818 Restaurant & Nightclub is under construction in the oldlooking but new Pepitone Building, while one door up Sixth Avenue, Café 828 closed after Jay Greenfield’s valiant, two-year effort to succeed as an off-Fifth pioneer.
THE WAY THE SUGAR COOKIE CRUMBLES: Pastry chef Jack Fisher, who was a non-equity “partner” in the team that opened Region, hung up his apron at the Hillcrest restaurant on New Year’s Eve. The Imperial Beach native understudied chef James Boyce at Azzura Point; since Boyce now directs the wow-inspiring Studio at Montage in Laguna Beach, it is no surprise that Fisher currently bakes at The Loft, another of the luxury resort’s retreats. “It was time for him to leave Region,” observes a confidential kitchener, although chef/partner Michael Stebner says, “We parted well. Jack needed bigger and better things; here, he was a big fish in a small pond. We miss him.” .. . Sweet dreams awaken the imagination of James Foran, whose tooth-dazzling dessert menu at Arterra in the San Diego Marriott Del Mar (John Moores owns this one, too) riotously runs to fantasies like a warm chocolate souffle tart that puffs like a cloud and is paired with peppermint-marshmallow ice cream and a crackling, cocoa-rich tuille cookie . . . The “dental health advantages” of diabetic-oriented pastries are touted by Indulgence, a sugarfree bakery in University Heights (4207 Park Boulevard, 619- 299-3404). Indulgence also shuns white flour and similar ingredients, which local dentist Michael Miller says promotes oral health by depriving “mouth bacteria of their favorite food sources.” Okay. . .
BUBBA BOUGHT THE FARM. Which is to say Osetra the Fishhouse grew tired of Bubba the lobster, the marauding mascot who regularly dined on fellow shellfish tank inmates and thus cost the elegant Gaslamp seafood house a small fortune. A patron who’d offered $1,000 for the guest-who-wouldn’tleave ultimately paid Osetra a somewhat smaller figure, as well as the considerable expenses of having Bubba bronzed. He will be mounted on the restaurant’s wall.
IF YOU CAN’T TELL YOUR LEFT HAND from your right, you just might be a marketing professional. In San Diego, the sun rises in the north when that angle sheds a better light on a client. A recent press release shamelessly located a wellknown Hillcrest restaurant in downtown, and others have described geographically challenged eateries as “located in the heart of Gaslamp” when they are unhappily on the wrong side of Broadway, where the rent is cheaper, as are some patrons. An amusing invite to the debut of Soleil @ K (“Sun at K Street”), a pretty, wine country–oriented dining room, said, “Join us at 660 K Street at 6th Avenue (Adjacent to the new San Diego Marriott Gaslamp Quarter).”
Adjacent? Not! It’s in the hotel. The subterfuge serves the fear that Americans dislike hotel restaurants—and, while it denies the success of rooms like Vivace and Le Fontainebleau, is not new. Perennially popular Cafe Japengo was built away from the Hyatt Regency La Jolla so as to appear independent, as was Sally’s at the Hyatt downtown. But on a slow day, rows of empty tables at the cavernous McCormick & Schmick’s in the Omni Hotel (factually adjacent to the ballpark) argue the marketeers’ case.