Bulgogi Fries @ Bao Beach
Every once in a while when we were in high school, my buddy’s mom would do "Bulgogi Night." She’d make the traditional Korean beef (usually marinated in soy sauce, brown sugar, mirin, onion, garlic, ginger, pear, etc.), and we’d go nuts. It’s delicious. Bao Beach, by the Patio Group, makes this beef the star, placing it over fries with kimchi, sriracha ketchup, green onion, cilantro, and a fried egg. Ridiculous.
3735 Mission Blvd, Mission Beach
Opah @ Solare
Solare is just one of those restaurants that does it right. Owner Randy Smerik believes in buying his chef the best, most often local, ingredients. He supports all the places and food-makers who are doing it right. And chef Accursio Lota is simply very, very good—as Italian as they come. For a recent dinner, he served a Pacific opah (one of the most sustainable fish, sourced from Catalina Offshore), and made a simple, beautiful presentation with sliced stone fruit, good olive oil, and dill. This dish may not be on the menu when you go, but I can’t suggest strongly enough that you do go.
2820 Roosevelt Rd, Liberty Station
Profiteroles @ Trust
For this year’s Best Restaurants issue, I named Trust my Best New Restaurant. Partners Steven Schwob (GM) and chef Brad Wise surpass almost all expectations. The potatoes with the vinegar whipped cream are amazing, and Wise’s oxtail raviolini may be my favorite dish in San Diego. But recently we tried their profiteroles—a stack of ooey-gooey, crispy, fried, drippy puff pastries, spackled with caramel and stuffed with banana cream. Deadly good.
3752 Park Blvd, Hillcrest