New & Notable - May 2011
Restaurant debuts, menu changes and trend tracking
Hungry for More: Bored with Boards at BO-beau
The gravel-lined parking lot is unchanged, but there are a lot more cars lining up for a space since Ocean Beach’s Thee Bungalow, part of the Cohn Restaurant Group stable, reopened as BO-beau. The wait for a table can top an hour. Restaurateur Philippe Beltrand helped give the concept a leg up, and his own Kensington-area Blue Bohème bistro bears enough resemblance to BO-beau to confirm that he’s a fan of both farm cottage-chic décor and alliteration. The new menu is affordable and accessible, with an emphasis on shared plates and smaller dishes — from French classics to more pan-European entries. Escargots and moules marinieres with skinny shoestring fries are tasty, if a bit light on essentials like herbs and garlic that help to distinguish traditional versions. Crispy-edged Brussels sprouts with Parmesan and pancetta have become the restaurant’s most popular starter, likely because there’s a fairly equal vegetable – to – cheese and meat ratio. Trend alert: BO-beau’s menu has a section devoted to dishes served on wooden boards, which might make sense for a charcuterie sampler. But as a platform for more substantial and sharable food, the planks are unwieldy and heavy, difficult to lift and pass — as if you’re eating off a kitchen cutting board.
The long-awaited downtown location of the famous Ocean Beach burger joint opened on 10th Avenue just in time for the Padres’ home opener. hodadies.com.
Twenty/20 Grill & Wine bar
The Sheraton Carlsbad’s restaurant has two new specials for spring: tapas night on Thursdays, with bites starting at just $2, along with live Spanish guitar music; and “Brewsday Tuesdays,” featuring a different local craft beer all night and a brewmaster on hand to help with pairings. Samuel Smith, Oceanside Ale Works, Ballast Point and Stone Brewing Company are all signed up to participate. twenty20grill.com.
Karen Krasne and crew are extending the Happy Hour at Extraordinary Desserts from 4 to 11 p.m. on Monday and Tuesdays. Sip local craft brews from the bar (in addition to by-the-glass selections from the elegant wine list), and munch gourmet small plates like old-fashioned onion dip and chips - with caramelized organic white onions folded into sour cream and a heap of kettle-cooked chips - for just $5. extraordinarydesserts.com.
Ciro’s Pizzeria & Beerhouse
The popular downtown pizza joint is opening a second location in PB, with an expanded menu that includes cheesesteaks from the famous Old City Grille and 22 handles of beer on tap. cirossd.com.
The always-packed Old Town sushi spot celebrates its 10th anniversary this spring, with a party featuring “celebration stations” offering different courses provided by local star chefs Anthony Sinsay, Paul McCabe, Amy Diabase and Katsuya Fukushima. harneysushi.com.
Blue Point Coastal Cuisine
James Beard – nominated chef Daniel Barron recently launched an upscale dining experience at Blue Point in the Gaslamp. The 11-course tasting menu, called “The Experience,” showcases his post-modern cooking techniques and features high-quality ingredients flown in from around the world for a customized meal for up to 16 people. Reserve well in advance for large groups. bluepointsd.com.
The Counter Custom Built Burgers opened its second San Diego area location in the Del Mar Highlands Town Center last month. The build-your-own burger option allows for more than 300,000 combinations of burgers and toppings, including grilled pineapple, roasted corn, fried egg and dill pickle chips. thecounterburger.com.
The first-floor restaurant at Stingaree will reopen with a new concept as an ultra-lounge called Guest House later this month. Chef Antonio Friscia debuts a new menu featuring his signature slow-food style with local ingredients. The dining room has a new separate entrance, guest-list-only policy and limited hours on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. stingsandiego.com.
Restaurateur George Katakalidis (of the former EXY restaurant and Daphne’s Greek Café chain) plans to open a Greek gastropub in Carmel Valley later this month, featuring old-world recipes updated with a healthy twist and more local ingredients. (No Web site yet.)