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Sep 8, 2010 02:56 PM

Searsucker: Full of Malarkey

There’s a lot that Searsucker is doing right.

However, for the premium prices it’s charging, it needs to be darn-near perfect, and there are still some kinks that need to be worked out. If half the amount of energy that’s put into quirky menu descriptions and places to put Malarkey’s silhouette is funneled into tightening up some of the menu, Searsucker should remain as big a star as its chef.

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  1. I'd agree (with that review quote) that not everything on the menu is consistently great, but not with the slightly grumpy tone of the review. There's a lot to like at Searsucker. It's a fun place with a really appealing menu.

    A big space that used to be the Z Gallerie store is still big and open, and comfortably decorated with a large bar and dining area both. Has some nice lounge furniture if you want cocktails but don't want to be at the bar itself or a hightop. We went last Tuesday and the place was hopping.

    Premium prices (per the review)?? I don't know, especially for a space like that in the Gaslamp. Sure the filet is $32 and the not-included side dishes are mostly $6. But the sides are big and shareable and most entrees are in the high-$teens and $20's. Long list of starters too.

    We had a lot of starters and small plates with a couple of entrees. The complimentary cheese puffs served as bread are crazy good (I kept looking deeper into the basket to sadly verify it was empty). We liked the "artichoke hearts and gruyere" (i.e., artichoke dip), spicy baja shrimp, and scallop crudo. I didn't like the jalapeno-chorizo corn side dish as much as I thought I would, but others disagreed; the fried brussel sprouts were good. Cocktails struck me as a bit polarizing (you'll like it or you won't) but were at least consistently interesting.

    Entree wise, my wife and I loved the pork butt with roasted peaches entree ($19). Our friends didn't taste a lot of lobster butter on their filet, but I thought the steak itself was a lot more flavorful than most filets (however, it was ordered medium by our friends and originally arrived on the rare side of medium rare).

    Desserts had some killers. The pear/huckleberry crumble was kind of meh. But the "King" sundae (containing per the menu: peanut butter cup ice cream, bacon and honey caramel, bananas, whipped cream and candied peanuts) rocked, and I don't even like peanut flavors or nuts in my desserts much. Red velvet cake was also really good.

    Sounds like we avoided some of the entrees the review complained about. And obviously you have to know what you're going for -- not haute cuisine, but crowd-pleasing comfort food in a happening restaurant. But I think the menu is as appealing to choose from as any, mostly tastes great, and the place is a fun spot especially to do some mix-match-and-sharing of dishes.

    1. The most recent reviews in the CityBeat read more like bad Yelp reviews in general. I personally prefered always the reviews from Naomi Wise but now I really miss Candice Woo. Everything food related in CityBeat is now forgetable

      1. I agree with the original post. Happened into Searsucker last night fresh off the plane without checking reviews first (my mistake) and it was definitely way overpriced and far from perfect.
        Salad and app arrived amazingly fast.
        Mozz arugula proscuitto - very tasty
        Shrimp and grits - also very delicious, although it came with the tiniest smear of grits (hardly a tablespoon) under a pool of butter.
        Corn halapeno chorizo - excellent - I used this to wash down the less than stellar main dishes
        scallops blackberry - nice idea but not quite a coming together of the flavors. 3 large scallops managed to be cooked is such a way as to not have any flavor. Better browning would be nice and medium rare was most definitely more on the rare side. Pricey for just 3 scallops and 5 blackberries.
        salmon beets goat cheese - same comment as for the scallops. Nice piece of fish but not prepared to be very flavorful and quite raw for medium rare. Pricey for no side dish.

        Service was so so and not nearly as professional as I would expect for such an expensive meal. San Diego is cold at night, the restaurant does not need to be even colder. AC was very chilly. Overall atmosphere was fine. Not $75 per person fine.

        Did not stick around for dessert, I mean "Milk Sugar - $9". wtf

        611 5th Ave, San Diego, CA 92101

          1. re: Beach Chick

            I went for lunch during Comic-Con and I was actually pretty happy with the results.

            We sat at the bar and were able to talk to other people there. One of the couples were local regulars and were recognized and they were really friendly talking up the restaurant (I guess cause I had my camera out).

            The food was well-cooked, well-seasoned and reasonably priced. Our order came with a free order of fries (for a Comic-Con special). There was some sort of mayo dipping sauce that came with it which was nasty but the bartender hooked me up with some spicy aoili dipping sauce that was much better.

            Also, apparently they have something called a Sucker Bar that is only available for lunch. It's the pastry chef's gourmet version of twix. We sampled some pieces from the locals and it was pretty good.

            1. re: karaethon

              How was Comic-Con?
              Brunch menu, they have a brie, mushrooms and truffles egg dish...sold!

                1. re: Island

                  Loved Searsucker!
                  We had a wonderful time..
                  Service, brunch and drinks were excellent..
                  I had the crab/avo benedict with a lemon buerre blanc on puff pastry..hubs had the ground filet burger with fries that he loved..we split a watermelon, goat cheese salad with microgreens nicely dressed of aged balsamic lemon frigging good.
                  House bloody was good too...looked for the brie, mushrooms and truffles on the menu but it wasn't listed.
                  Got to sit at a 4 top banquette at the back of the house and watched the parade..
                  Used a Groupon voucher and was a wise investment of $20 for $40 for food..

                  1. re: Beach Chick

                    Thanks for the scoop. Will check it out. That salad sounds wonderful and easy enough to whip up at home...if I wasn't so lazy!
                    No grief for using a Groupon? I recall you had some tipping nonsense elsewhere and I recently went to a bakery I frequent to cash in a Living Social deal and the owner was a total whiner about it. Makes me hestiant to purchase them.

                    1. re: Island

                      The salad would be super easy and having a pool party this weekend and this will be the one of the featured items..the microgreens were a nice added feature.
                      No grief at all for the Groupon coupon and lots of other people were using them.
                      I don't understand why owners get pissed if your using a coupon that they have ok'd.