The Marine Room has done what many places should consider:  They’ve dropped the $25 corkage fee to zero. That’s right,  zero.  There is a two-bottle maximum per table…and this isn’t just a holiday stunt.  For those who own wines they’d like to drink with dinner, not always at home, this no corkage policy is a plus for Marine Room diners.   

The La Jolla-based Burger Lounge opened its second location in Kensington with a third in the works downtown.  The Lounge features four burgers including turkey and natural beef, along with hand-cut fries.  Buzz thinks they do a damned good job with the burger concept–fresh and straightforward food.

If you want excess in a very grand manner, check out The Grand Del Mar Hotel, the nearly $3 million project from Doug Manchester. Everything at the resort is huge, gilded and lives up to its grand name.  Compared to other luxury hotels in the area, however, this one is over-the-top in amenities and service.  For example, there’s a 21,000 square foot spa, with treatment rooms that for some would be the size of a bedroom. Don’t take this as a complaint…just an observation.  Foodwise, Buzz loves that Jesse Rodriguez, the  sommelier at the property’s stand alone dinner restaurant Addison, now directs the wine program for the entire resort.  Charles Stuart, after many years at The Phoenician in Scottsdale, is the director of catering, Mark Steenge is the new general manager of Addison and Jason McLeod, most recently from the Four Seasons Resort in the Bahamas, is the executive chef of Amaya the hotel’s main restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Here diners may find the Mediterranean-inspired menu more accessible than the very upscale and formal Addison with its somewhat pretentious choices from Chef William Bradley.

Executive chef Timothy Au joins general manager and top sommelier Lisa Redwine at Molly’s Restaurant and Wine Bar at the San Diego Marriott Hotel & Marina.  Au arrived from a two year stint at the five-star Mayflower Inn and Spa in Washington, Connecticut.  He’s also cooked with many celebrated California chefs including Bradley Ogden and Jeremiah Tower.  Haven’t tried it yet.

Downtown’s Salad Style owners Mary Jo Testa and Scott Thomas have opened Enoteca Style in Little Italy.  At the moment it’s sandwiches, waiting for their contractor to get the wine bar finished….1445 India St., between Ash and Beech. 619-546-7138.

Nobu opened at the Hard Rock Hotel in the Gaslamp.  Haven’t checked it out.

2 thoughts on “Bits and Bites

  1. I don’t agree that restaurants should drop corkage fees. Restaurants are businesses and they are there to make money. They have expenses–like the cost of glassware, not to mention the rent, electricity, water and staffing that goes into housing that glass. If the true purpose of corkage (allowing a special bottle of wine from your personal cellar) was adhered to there would be no issues and corkage could be free. Unfortunatly more often than not corkage is used as a means for the diner to use the glassware, electricity, water and staff and not pay for it. Next they will want to bring in their own steaks to be cooked up. Will we then have a cowage fee?

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  2. Sorry RollerGirl…..you miss the point badly. The Marine Room is back to a $25 corkage fee….what does it really cost them to open my bottle of wine? $3 maybe? I wouldn’t have a problem buying wine off their list if they didn’t mark it up 200% from retail…but they want it both ways right now and I’d rather go somewhere else given that situation!

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