Harney Sushi San Diego Update/Questions
Went to Harney Sushi in Old town last night.
I have always liked Harney Sushi because it always seemed to be the only restaurant in San Diego that could be considered to have a little "Energy" (although to keep it in perspective, one would never consider it to be a exciting restaurant in Barcelona, Las Vegas, New York etc.... even on its busiest night of the year).
And it always seemed to be the only place in town with a little action on a Monday or Tuesday night (Obviously, I am excluding some Pacific Beach sports bar with Chicken Tenders and Jalapeno Poppers for the purpose of this discussion).
Furthermore, Harney Sushi has always been a great place to take guest from out of town and prove to the naysayers that here in San Diego we Really do have some nightlife early in the week.
So, I went last night and I noticed a few things:
1. The whole waitstaff/ bartenders are completely different. The staff always seemed competent in the past. The whole new crew seemed really green.
2. The manager girl Ali, I think was her name, is no longer there. She always seemed to be the "glue" that held the place together.
3. Their head sushi chef is no longer there. The new chefs seemed like they couldn't sushi chef themselves out of a paper bag.
4. The only person who was recognizable is that grumpy owner/manager (?) guy with "Fall out Boy Hair".
5. In Harney's defense, the fish quality seemed about the same, which in my opinion is a strong B.
6. Typically on Wednesday nights, the place is 75% to 99% full. Last night it was about 45% at best.
Does anyone know if this is due to them opening the new restaurant in Oceanside, and they are letting the Old Town location slip?
Is this all Down Economy jitters?
Even during the "up economy" San Diego restaurants lacked "Energy".
I know San Diego is a "mellow Navy/Beach town with midwestern values" and not "the next Miami Beach" as people were claiming for a hot minute back in 2005 (remember that? Thank God that drivel is over with) but San Diego restaurants are so flat and lacking a vibe of Energy.
Even restaurant openings are real yawn fests.
Is it just the people?
San Diego restaurants are in bad need of a Cardiac Defibrillator.
Number one, where have you been? And number 2, why on earth would you go to a sushi restaurant with fish you would rate a "B"? I am really lost here.
Have you ever tried Starlite, Urban Solace, The Linkery, the Guild, Cafe Chloe, Jayne's Gastropub or Farmhouse Cafe? At least in my estimation, all of those have "energy" and not a jalapeno popper (or any bad raw fish) in sight.
re: Alice Q
"why on earth would you go to a sushi restaurant with fish you would rate a "B"?"
I really only rate a few restaurants as an "A". Flying to Masa in NYC everytime I feel like some sashimi just isn't practical.
"Have you ever tried Starlite, Urban Solace, The Linkery, the Guild, Cafe Chloe, Jayne's Gastropub or Farmhouse Cafe?"
Yes, I have tried those save Urban Solace, The Linkery, the Guild. All very good. And you are right, they do have some energy.
I guess same heightened level energy I have experienced in other cities.
But I do appreciate your insight and I really think those places are leading the way for San Diego Dining.
What do you mean by energy? If you mean noise, there is no shortage of options in this city. If you mean a post-modern, urban-sophisticate scene with lots of glaring, no irony, posturing and cognitive dissonance, the Gaslamp "District" is your best bet. If you mean a cultish following of some celebrity chef de cuisine in the kitchen, you're right- but the food at Starlight is certainly worthy of much I have experienced in New York, Barcelona, London, Paris, Dubai, Ibiza, Escondido, Karachi and Tokyo. Personally, even if I lived in New York, this is what I'd do in my search for authentic energy: you can't really beat inviting friends over to the house for too much beer, pony-rides and a piñata bludgeoning.
I guess what I am trying to say is that many restaurants in San Diego don't have a "fun" vibe: table hopping, good food, a festive atmosphere.
Prime 112 in Miami beach comes to mind immediately.
The Gaslamp would be the opposite of that:
locals - sweating bullets over the bill
transplants with insecure phony facades and whatever is the mall fashion dejour
This is a pretty funny interesting take, although maybe a little harsh.
I did go to Harney Sushi in Old Town recently and noticed some of the same things you did. I thought the chefs and staff seemed disorganized but still the sushi was good.
Also, it was a lot less crowded than I remember, which suited me fine.
(I have never been to the Oceanside location, although I have to imagine that place is hurting if they have the same prices as Harney Old Town. Anyone know?)
As far as the "energy", as you call it, thing goes, I think it is the people and the lack of urban environment in San Diego.
"mellow Navy/Beach town with midwestern values" - hilarious by the way.
All in all, I really like Harney sushi and think it is a unique place in San Diego.