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SD Malarkey leaves Oceanaire

So I just read that Brian Malarkey is leaving Oceanaire and so far doesn't seem to be giving up any information about his future plans. Does anyone know any other details?


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  1. Guy was decent if not overrated.

    I wonder if he knows something that we do not about Oceanaires future in town.

    I said before that I think that place shutters.

    1. It's temporary. He's taking the time off for paternity leave and will be back in 6 weeks.


      3 Replies
      1. re: DougOLis

        Thanks, saw that elsewhere a few minutes ago.

        I think this sentence in the article is misleading and lead to confusion: "He wouldn’t say what his next place of employment might be, or if he is planning on opening his own restaurant."

        Retraction: BRIAN MALARKEY is not leaving Oceanaire, only taking a 6 week paternity leave. Tried to take down my original post but site would not allow. Apologies.

        1. re: foodiechick

          Time will tell.

          It is not a stretch to think Oceanaire made him say that to help with damage control.

          Or offered him more cash to stick around.

          1. re: stevewag23

            it's also not a stretch to follow your initial instinct that the restaurant's future may be in question. Oceanaire filed for bankruptcy protection last month and closed several locations. Malarkey may very well have every intention of going back at the end of his paternity leave, but that doesn't necessarily mean there will still be a restaurant for him to go back to.

      2. Instead of "Searsucker", do you guys think he should call his new restaurant "Fedora"?

        10 Replies
          1. re: stevewag23

            "Jaunty Hat". Or just "Jaunty" I guess.

            1. re: stevewag23

              Fedora sounds a heck of a lot better!

              1. re: daantaat

                Ha. You know, when I first posted this I was completely joking.

                But now I actually think "Fedora" is a great name for a restaurant. And Perfect for him.

                It really grew on me (so to speak).

                If he uses it, he better kick me a finders fee.

                Or at least a few meals and bottles of red "on the arm".

                I will watch this one closely.

                  1. re: Tripeler

                    or..' Bunch of Malarkey'?

                    You can have the Fedora tilted on the 'B'..
                    ; )

                    1. re: Beach Chick

                      Or, get some seersucker fabric and make a fedora out of it.

              2. re: stevewag23

                Seersucker reference. If Garfield refers to it, it has to be mod:


              3. A year later, he's on the front page of CNN.com - a link to this article:


                Be nice!

                32 Replies
                1. re: FireFlyFiftyFive

                  OMG...the man likes Dungeness crab, blackberries and rice krispie treats, 3 of my favorite things too. I may have to revise my previous opinions. 4-F, thanks for the link

                  1. re: FireFlyFiftyFive

                    You know he is probably a really nice guy. It must be hard to be in the spot light and everything you do or say questioned. Is he a Chef on the level of other Top Chef contestants Like Michael or Brian Voltaggio ...probably not. That said he cam probably produce good food. Hey, he is trying to branch out and open his own place more power to him. His business partner choice may be his downfall.

                    1. re: chris2269

                      Since the Searsucker thread has been locked for nastiness... heading down to Comic Con and Searsucker now seems to be open...

                      1. re: Ewilensky

                        Opening is perfect with the Con going on and opening on Monday gives them a few days to work out any initial kinks just before the crowds arrive. You're going to report, right, E?

                        1. re: geekyfoodie

                          Only if I can report in Klingon. I thought the Gagh wasn't very fresh.

                          Joking aside, walked back by on way to car and a decent crowd was inside. Didn't stop to check out the menu. Had two bags full of books and a veggie burrito from El Comal waiting at home for me.

                          Will peek in tomorrow on my way back down.

                          El Comal
                          262 3rd Ave, Chula Vista, CA 91910

                          1. re: Ewilensky

                            HAHAHAHA. How dare they serve dead Gagh. Ain't worth eating unless it's writhing on the plate.

                            He posted a picture of the interior at opening. The decor looks pretty cool. From their meal testing, there was something he called a tomahawk steak. Big cut with a huge portion of the bone sticking out. Looked good.

                            Are you still cutting down on the beer? Apparently there's supposed to be craft beers, too.

                            1. re: geekyfoodie

                              There is ar article in todays NC times about the restaurant. A tomahawk steak was mentioned. It did seem to focus more on the food than the vibe, which is a good thing. Sorry I am really bad about giving links.

                                  1. re: SDGourmand

                                    did anyone else catch this line from the NC Times article about choosing the restaurant's name?

                                    "The only adaptation Malarkey made was a new spelling with "Sea" at the beginning to showcase his cooking expertise in seafood."

                                    i consider myself to be rather observant, and i can usually spot clever wordplay in business names pretty easily, but i always figured the spelling was a nod to the act of cooking, as in *searing* - i really can't imagine that most people will see a seafood reference there...?

                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                      I thougt the same don't see how anyone would think of the sea in searsucker.

                                      1. re: SDGourmand


                                        While the "sea" may provide a subtle hint, a nuance, a soupçon of ocean gifts, it is outweighed by the 500 lb gorilla of the term "sucker".

                                  2. re: littlestevie

                                    I checked out the menu today. Definitely no consisent theme to it but this isn't to say the dishes themselves didn't read well. There was a beef cheek dish I wouldn't mind trying out. Biggest thing I saw was that pricing was all over the map and tended to be on the high end. Salmon and beets were I think $28, which is pretty high. That Tomahawk Ribeye was priced at $75. I don't see too many of those chops getting sold, even on a busy night. I wouldn't be surprised to see a lot of this current menu change quickly, hopefully that will include better pricing.

                                    1. re: mjill

                                      I've heard from someone at one of the soft opening nights that the all-over-the-mapness of their menu was pretty apparent, and seemed not to work so well. They did say the small plates and cocktails were good, and they might go back for those.

                                        1. re: bizzwriter

                                          It didn't mention it was for 2 on the menu. I saw a picture of it on Gourmand's link above which makes me think it is for 1. It doesn't look that big in the picture (ie. worth $75 if you wanted to splurge). Putting it on a extra small plate isn't tricking me into thinking it is bigger than it actually is.

                                        2. re: mjill

                                          He posted a picture of the Tomahawk steak a little while ago on twitter. I don't think I have seen 32-ounces of steak look quite so unappetizing.


                                          1. re: foodiechick

                                            Somebody please take away that guy's camera and revoke his license to shoot. The only reason to publish an image is to ENHANCE business, not send us running away with a tight grip on our hard-earned dollars.

                                            And running all the way to the promised land of Berlin, where all food is superior.

                                            and that looks like 16 ounces of bone. But one could grab it in a greasy fist and wave it over one's head like a global tyrant. If you're into that sort of thing.

                                            1. re: Fake Name

                                              FN, you must have been speechless to the point where your words failed you. I should think a photo that unflattering - to the food, the plate and the photog - would have elicited much more eloquent reaction ;-).

                                              Wow, about the best thing I can say about that plate is that the crispy onions look good. White on white broken up by some dull brown. I hope the photo was taken during recipe testing and the final presentation doesn't really look like that. If I'm spending $75 on a steak, I think I need a little bit more bang for the buck!

                                              1. re: DiningDiva

                                                Ya know, good photography is tough, and good food photography is tougher. So I hold it against noone that tries to take a solid image. Just as I'd hope Malarkey wouldn't criticize my own cooking.

                                                But to choose to send an image like that out is yet another thing. That dish might be the single best steak dinner ever created, but it makes me want to head on up to my pal Sergio for a CAB. A drive thru CAB.

                                                Nah- I try not to crack on the photography of others. Except if they're shooting flash photography in a fine dining establishment (like the sample appearing here). At that point, the frites go flinging. Food bloggas, chill out with your flashes, please.

                                                1. re: Fake Name

                                                  Leaving aside the trainwreckedness of the photo for a moment, wtf is on the steak? It looks like a pile of spaghetti and ranch dressing.

                                                  1. re: Josh

                                                    looks like fried onions & cream sauce to me.

                                            2. re: foodiechick

                                              OK, seriously, i've *tried* to defend Malarkey over the years but that plate just looks vile.

                                              1. re: foodiechick

                                                OMG I was thinking here we go again, more bashing before the joint even opens, but then I looked at that picture. My eyes, my eyes!!! I've got to agree. That reminds me of a spatula crusted with ancient spaghetti left hanging around by a college roommate notorious for never doing her dishes, circa 1980. Thanks for the flashback. Maybe she's putting her talents to work at Seersucker.

                                                1. re: Island

                                                  When I see that picture, the theme from The Flintstones cues up in my head and starts playing...
                                                  I wonder if Mr. Fedora has a publicist. If he does, he needs a better one.

                                                  1. re: Tripeler

                                                    I have not sampled this dish (who knows - could possibly be a hound-worthy dish), nor any of the other food at this new establishment, but the fact that someone (whether it was Mr. Malarkey himself or some hired-gun, social media person tweeting on his behalf) posted that horribly designed, amateur and unappetizing photo to proudly represent their $75 dish to the public, demonstrates (IMO) poor judgment, some arrogance, and their lack of comprehension of what this market will bare. Why wouldn't they put more effort into images that support their marketing statements of Chef's great food...the website is not even live yet with menus to peruse.

                                                    1. re: foodiechick

                                                      Hmmm...I think we need to take a road trip to the Gaslamp and actually *try* this place so we can speak of Seersucker with some experience and authority rathet than relying on personal opinion (even if those opinions may be correct). If not...all we're doing is reprising the blindmen and elephant.

                                                      Anyone up for *actually* trying this place now that it's open?

                                                      1. re: DiningDiva

                                                        I plan on stopping by sometime this week once Comic Con blows out of town. Foodie, I think in Gourmand's link there were pictures of the menu if you want to check it out.

                                          2. re: geekyfoodie

                                            I am. But after 10 hours at the Convention yesterday I walked back to my car and had a Pliny the Elder at Johnny Browns. It was delicious. Like the Empire Strikes Back of beers.

                                            Johnny Brown's
                                            1220 3rd Ave, San Diego, CA 92101

                                            1. re: Ewilensky

                                              Vinnie is a sheer genius at creating interesting and very enduring beers. As inexpensive as beer really is, there is no reason not to continually seek beers like this out.

                                1. Here is a better pic of the steak. My questions is, why is a 32oz steak in a bowl?

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: SDGourmand

                                    Better question, why take the time to put grill marks on the steak when you're just covering it up with a bunch of crap?

                                    1. re: SDGourmand

                                      Good question. Does it make it easier to get the sauce onto every morsel and eat, or does it make it harder. While this photo is infinitely better than the one FC posted, it still doesn't make me want to run right down to the Gaslamp and order it.

                                      Maybe this is one of those menu items that's there for show but that the restaurant doesn't really want you to order?

                                      1. re: SDGourmand

                                        I'll agree that's a different shot of the steak. But while it might be a great steak, it appears to be a $7.50 great steak. I'm even less likely to buy it now.

                                        It's off to Super Sergios for me.

                                        I completely agree we cannot and should not make decisions about this place based on here-say and innuendo, whichever endo from which it comes. But certainly can comment on the images of the food thus far, and will maintain I'm qualified to do so.

                                        Super Sergio's
                                        4125 Convoy St, San Diego, CA 92111

                                      2. Was at Whisknladle a few weeks back and chatted with Ian and Lucien of Snake Oil Cocktails, it happened to be their last night there as they are now running the bar program at Searsucker. They are really talented and great guys to boot so regardless of the food at least the drinks will be excellent.

                                        1044 Wall Street, La Jolla, CA 92037

                                        1. Anyone been here yet?

                                          I think they opened last wed.

                                          1. Brian Malarkey was on San Diego 6 News with Ruben Galvan this morning..
                                            3 vid segments over the course of the morning news..
                                            Shows the dishes, cocktails and restaurant but the 6:40am vid when Brian says 'Thank you KUSI' ..oops, it's SD 6 news.


                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: Beach Chick

                                              ha! i wish i had seen that :) i'll be interested to hear Chow opinions when anyone finally makes it to Searsucker...now that i'm not in SD anymore i'm relying on you guys for the dirt!

                                            2. Really, there’s too much going on at the 7,000-square-foot Searsucker to describe. Just believe me when I say Malarkey and nightclub impresario James Brennan are like the lions who joined together to create Voltron, and Searsucker could be the new defender of San Diego's developing food scene. Local products and beers are celebrated (although the food isn't obsessively local). And Malarkey's emphatic about local San Diegans being the target demo. I found some SD scenesters there.


                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: stevewag23

                                                Voltron.... hahahaha, that was awesome.

                                                1. re: stevewag23

                                                  You forgot this:

                                                  "And I have, on tape, Chef Malarkey saying that guests who wear seersucker eat free."

                                                2. Ate at Searsucker last night. I won't write much since I AIN'T a food reviewer plus someone some day will have a dedicated topic about the restaurant. I like the casualness of the space. Wood floors, tables with a few half booths and full booths. Bar area.

                                                  We got there at six (early before a concert at Spreckels) and the place was just starting to get going. Much busier by the time we left with chef shouting out orders to the open kitchen. As far as I know they have been reserved full up the last couple of Saturdays.

                                                  Bread cheese puffs come out first. And had the tuna tartare and crab cake starters. The first once came out literally within 30 seconds of ordering. Of course you can't go wrong with a big crabcake with no filler! Entrees were the duck and the swordfish (with almonds and cherries) for my wife. Successful but I think in retrospect we thought we maybe should have just kept ordering more small plates. Red velvet cake and one of their speciality drinks for each.

                                                  We'd go back.

                                                  Sidenote, saw Brian on the street in front of Urban Bar and Grill (is that place anything?) as we walked to Searsucker. I said "what the hey" to my wife. :)

                                                  3 Replies
                                                    1. re: stevewag23

                                                      Quality? Value? I’m not a great judge of either. We ate at JSix the weekend before. I’d say comparable if that is a reasonable answer.

                                                      A couple of unrelated thoughts - seems like the swordfish was overcooked. I kinda remember a similar preparation at Oceanaire with a cherry sauce. The crabcake wasn’t QUITE the baseball that I remember at Oceanaire either. I’d lean towards skipping the entrees and “grazing” over the small plates menu. But for me that’s only to sample more food.

                                                      1. re: FireFlyFiftyFive

                                                        Walked past tonight (Tuesday) and the place was packed at 8:15 PM. Every seat taken in restaurant, lounge and at the bar. Things seemed under control. It's a big place, and to be full on a Tuesday when most other places were maybe half full was a surprise to me.

                                                    1. re: stevewag23

                                                      OK - which Chowhounder wrote the comment on that article as "SDFoodieDood"? I know that has to be somebody here. :)

                                                      1. re: RB Hound

                                                        Too funny RBH, I think you're right

                                                      2. from North County Times:

                                                        Malarkey hosts new show: Brian Malarkey, former "Top Chef" contestant and chef/partner at Searsucker restaurant in San Diego, will host a new show called "Kick Off Cook Off!" debuting at 10 p.m. Thursday on TLC. For the show, Malarkey and co-host Erin Andrews of ESPN travel to football stadiums to find tailgating recipes. On each episode, two tailgating pros will cook an appetizer and a main course; the winner receives a cash prize. In each of the six episodes, the tailgaters find out that they will also be cooking against football players, including San Diego Chargers Stephen Cooper and Shaun Phillips.


                                                        5 Replies
                                                        1. re: Encinitan

                                                          Just a side note - I don't see Brian Malarkey listed as one of the top ten San Diego chefs in this week's SD Reader (I'm guessing that Naomi Wise did the rankings herself).

                                                          1. re: RB Hound

                                                            He was not listed.. because he is not....
                                                            He was the Chef at Oceanaire... has not accomplished anything great there....
                                                            Went to Top Chef and did well. Kuddos to him for that.. it is great but as far as Chef in San Diego.. what has he done?
                                                            What bothers me with him is that he talks and acts like he's put San Diego on the map when in reality besides Top Chef, he has not done anything noticeable in this town. Is he a good Chef? I think so... But before he acts like he is a big deal in this town, he should run a successful restaurant and establish it for a while.
                                                            Top chefs in San Diego ( in no particular order )? Jason Knibbs, Trey Foshe, Carl Schroeder, Jean Michel Diot, Philipe Verpian, Paul mcCabe, Jeff Jackson, Ryan Johnson just to name a few that I will put on the list before Malarkey...

                                                            San DIego, CA, San DIego, CA

                                                          2. re: Encinitan

                                                            Sounds as exciting as watching a giant rice krispy treat being constructed. Does anyone even watch TLC?

                                                            1. re: SDGourmand

                                                              what me? ooops, misread.

                                                              We watch TLC but not for the food shows. I don't think there is much "learning" left on the channel however. I like to tailgate and Erin Andrews is nice to look at so maybe I will check out the show, but I think I would be more interested in tailgate chefs' ingenuity over a stupid competition.

                                                            2. re: Encinitan

                                                              I didn't care for the show. I deleted it after 5 minutes. A little too much of the much for me. Brian was fine as the "cheferee" though.

                                                            3. OMG meow, another round of this? Seriously? Many complaints that Malarkey get's too much press from the "San Diego Hype Machine", yet anytime he gets any press someone is sure to hype the hype on this board and here we go again. Has anyone even tried Searsucker or is it just about hating on the guy? I don't get it. This old thread just needs to die.

                                                              10 Replies
                                                              1. re: Island

                                                                I tried Searsucker. Sat at the bar , had to deal with arrogant attitude from the bartender that explained to us that the cocktail menu was " not for everyone ". My chicken wings were undercooked. The rest of the meal was very nice and I like the decor/ atmosphere...And yes the restaurant press in San Diego is biased, paid for and do not support of lot of the great restaurants we have in this town... when was the last time that you read anything about Oton or Okan?

                                                                1. re: jaysurf12

                                                                  I agree the restaurant press is biased, but based on how crowded and busy Okan has gotten over the last several months, leaving the dining experience on the weekends to be noticeably more rushed than before, I am somewhat selfishly relieved that the press hasn't gotten wind of them.

                                                                  1. re: jaysurf12

                                                                    "My chicken wings were undercooked."

                                                                    I guess the wings were "not for you either".

                                                                    There is really this trend happening in san diego with these bartenders who make drinks "not for everyone". Some kind of cocktail elitism going down.

                                                                    Pretty lame if you ask me.

                                                                    1. re: stevewag23

                                                                      I enjoyed the meal I had at Searsucker (four of us tried a great deal of the menu) but the drinks were a flop in my opinion. I prefer classic cocktails prepared well. I don't really care for experimental drinks like those on the Seersucker drink menu (jalepeno watermelon cocktails? not that good) One of our party ordered a Moscow Mule after confirming that the bar had ginger beer. He sent the drink back...twice...stating that he didn't know what he got, but it was not a Moscow Mule. He eventually settled on glass of pinot.

                                                                      1. re: Divamac

                                                                        Jalapeno watermelon cocktails sound quite interesting and remind me of some of the more popular cocktail bars in LA, e.g Library Bar, Riviera. I guess that it is a problem most cocktail bar have to face anywhere that some people like classic cocktails , some (like me) prefer more unusual variation.

                                                                        1. re: honkman

                                                                          Don't you know? If you add vegetables to your cocktails you can charge twice as much.

                                                                          1. re: MrKrispy

                                                                            If these vegetables are fresh from the farmers market and help to make an unusual, excellent cocktail I am more than willing to pay extra money. (And prefer it much more to the "standard" cocktail). Library Bar in LA is an great example how good market-driven cocktails can be. A lot of people are willing to pay extra money for restaurants who serve market- fresh food, e.g. Linkery, so why shouldn't it be also the case for outsanding cocktail bars. And similar to restaurants not all cocktail bars who claim to be market driven indeed deliver but that the reason why CH, blogs, yelp etc. exists.

                                                                            1. re: honkman

                                                                              If the bartender is wearing an organic hemp fedora, does that warrant extra money for the cocktail?

                                                                              1. re: stevewag23

                                                                                Only if the fedora becomes part of the cocktail

                                                                    2. re: jaysurf12

                                                                      Big, new ,splashy, unusual and trendy is what get the media's attention and to keep the spotlight those places put themselves out there with full page advertisment in gloss magazines and dining guides with beautiful photos of the restaurant space and food. Every place is old news after a couple years, even the media darlings and those rated best of whatever at one time. On to the next thing. That's nothing new and it's the same everywhere.
                                                                      I come here if I'm looking for something different or off the beaten path. Besides many of the CH favorites are tiny and once they get discovered people complain it's too crowded or quality suffers. So be glad the light shines elsewhere.

                                                                  2. If you 're interested in Searsucker, you can see my pictures and review here:


                                                                    1. Searsucker gets sister restaurant: Burlap


                                                                      You can't make this stuff up - why even try?

                                                                      6 Replies
                                                                      1. re: FireFlyFiftyFive

                                                                        wow. Searsucker was bad enough, but "Burlap" is truly awful.

                                                                        1. re: FireFlyFiftyFive

                                                                          Burlap was so 2010 runway. Malarkey misses the trend. ;D

                                                                          1. re: foodiechick

                                                                            Speaking of fabric-based restaurant names, I am waiting for a place called

                                                                            Muslin Terrace

                                                                            to open.

                                                                            1. re: Tripeler

                                                                              In the land of Carmel Valley where the longest wait in town is for breakfast at Ihop or dinner at Red Robin (both a couple doors down from the future Burlap) I cannot imagine that this concept is going to fly. The only "fancy" restaurant in the immediate vicinity, Arterra, seems to struggle to find its way even with the business from hotel patrons. Not only are the name and the concept ridiculous, the choice of location is curious. I suppose Market has done well one exit up the freeway and a bit off the beaten track, but it also is any easy hop skip and a jump from the racetrack and for the RSF crowd. Nonetheless, I hope he proves me wrong. I would be quite happy to have a great new restaurant a few blocks away.

                                                                              Arterra Restaurant
                                                                              11966 El Camino Real, San Diego, CA 92130

                                                                              1. re: pooch

                                                                                and dont forget the Asian cowboy theme.. What is wrong with him?

                                                                                1. re: pooch

                                                                                  One way they could easily differentiate themselves is serve food after 8pm. I was up there once and nothing was open at that hour. I know san diego is an "early town" but that even amazed me.

                                                                          2. Remember:

                                                                            They all laughed at Christopher Columbus
                                                                            When he said the world was round
                                                                            They all laughed when Edison recorded sound
                                                                            They all laughed at Wilbur and his brother
                                                                            When they said that man could fly

                                                                            and we all laughed at Searsucker, and I've not seen a single poor review. People like it. And if you live in Carmel Valley where the Red Robin Rules, I suspect folks are open to a new and interesting concept approach.

                                                                            I'll bet he does well- good for him!

                                                                            5 Replies
                                                                            1. re: Fake Name

                                                                              From laeater.com:

                                                                              "It’s been just six months since Brian Malarkey launched Searsucker, his Thomas Schoos inspired space in San Diego’s Gas Lamp district. Now comes word that the Top Chef alum (Season Two) has again teamed up with Schoos to create Burlap. Malarkey says that this will “not be a restaurant but, a social dining experience.” The project will stand-alone in the Del Mar Heights shopping center and take on an “Asian-cowboy” theme. On the design side look for a koi-pond and fire pits, in addition to a glassed in kitchen, a separate raw bar, and one burlap wall. As for eats, think carpaccio, uni, oysters, yellowtail collar, rotisserie duck, quail, prime ribs with different glazes and brines, and yuzu-steak with ginger butter. Malarkey stated he is “not going for authentic Asian but, it will be fun” and he “will open on or about the first day of the Del Mar races in July.” [EaterWire] — David Morris

                                                                              1. re: Gypsy Jan

                                                                                Yuzu steak with ginger butter? Not sure about the koi ponds and fire pit decor, buy I'd try that steak dish, for some reason it sounds interesting.

                                                                              2. re: Fake Name

                                                                                I take offense to the Carmel Valley comment because we have all the Del Mar restaurants less than a 5 minute drive away. And if you want to be technical, Amaya and Addison are in Carmel Valley so it isn't the culinary wasteland you make it out to be.

                                                                                1. re: Fake Name

                                                                                  Really? This again? Revive the old thread so the Chowhounds can throw more sour grapes at Malarkey? Bash the name, menu, location, decor for a restaurant that hasn't even opened just because his name is attached to it. So predictable.
                                                                                  I hope he or anyone else who opens a restaurant does well. Why not.

                                                                                  1. re: Fake Name

                                                                                    Comparing Malarkey to Christopher Columbus is a monumental stretch.

                                                                                    Keep in mind that he is competing in the gaslamp (not exactly tough competion) and time will tell if that place truly pencils out.

                                                                                  2. Strawman met with some out of town friends for a wine dinner a couple of weeks ago at Searsucker on a Friday night. Yes, the name is bad, but overall, the experience was fine. The small plates were the way to go. We shared the crab cakes, duck fat fries, farm bird lollipops, spicy baja shrimp with grits, and a dish of roasted peppers. The cheddar puffers were actually pretty good and kept coming to the table gratis.

                                                                                    Being the carnivores that we are, all four men ordered the beef cheeks. They were good, but did have a pretty heavy hand with the salt. The ladies both ordered a squash lasagna dish that the complimented.

                                                                                    For sides, we had the bacon grits and the fingerling fennel potatoes. The potatoes were great and the grits were good if not inspired. What do you want for grits? Would have tried some other sides but some weren't really wine friendly.

                                                                                    Service was good and attentive and the "talent" level at the bar was very good. Especially the blond with the hip high pirate cuff boots! The restaurant is a bit noisy, but we were seated pretty near the bar area that became crowded towards the late evening.

                                                                                    Brian came over to our table and we shared some wine with him, and yes, he did mention his upcoming venture "Burlap". Don't know if the concept will work, but he seemed genuinely excited about it.

                                                                                    They do charge a pretty hefty fee for corkage, but the did not limit the number of bottles you can bring (a big plus for our gang) and they did provide ample good stemware and decanters when requested (another plus).

                                                                                    Overall, I'd give the starters a 7-8 out of 10 and the entrees a 7. For the culinary wasteland that is San Diego, that's pretty good. I'd go back, and I'll give burlap a whirl when it opens.

                                                                                    611 5th Ave, San Diego, CA 92101

                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: Strawman

                                                                                      I bust gut everytime I see your avatar...Dude...where have you been?
                                                                                      Your posts always rock and Prison Orange is such a great color on you!

                                                                                      1. re: Beach Chick

                                                                                        Mostly working. Did get a chance to stop at Kaito last week. Incredibly good and authentic nigiri. F those "sushi" rolls....

                                                                                        1. re: Strawman

                                                                                          I share your pain at those rolls.
                                                                                          Like the Monster Truck rolls, the Dumb White Guy rolls,
                                                                                          and probably the Asian Chick Infatuation rolls.
                                                                                          Good grief!

                                                                                          1. re: Strawman

                                                                                            You didn't start with a California and Philly roll...lol