The newest place for Mexican food on Fifth Avenue at Nutmeg is an Isabel Cruz creation, Barrio Star, previously mentioned here. The tag line on the menu: “Mexican Soul Food” and Buzz would agree. Let’s be clear here, tacos are a dime a dozen all over the city. And some would whine that they shouldn’t be more than a few bucks apiece.
If, however, you want house made tortillas from corn freshly ground daily to become masa for tortillas and tamales, or chunks of oven cooked pork for greaseless yet flavorful carnitas, or tamales with moist masa and lots of chicken, or fresh made salsas or interesting black beans and rice and even greens, then this is your place.
The brightly decorated room with a bar is modern with light from the windows that face Fifth Avenue. The attention to and use of high quality ingredients such as Brandt beef and local suppliers make all the difference from the run of the mill taco joint. Two street size tacos piled with carnitas and a side of beans $9.50 at lunch $13 at dinner with three tacos, or the chicken tamale loaded with succulent chicken $10. Open for lunch weekdays from 11:30 to 2:30 and dinner daily from 5 to 10pm. Reservations accepted. 2706 5th Avenue San Diego, 619-501-7827
We hear the former Modus space on Fourth Avenue in Bankers Hill will soon transform to a restaurant under the direction of Carl Schroeder (owner/chef of the popular Market in Del Mar). Name and concept to be announced .
Over in the Roseville/Point Loma neighborhood, the very busy corner of Talbot and Rosecrans will have a new building to house a restaurant and a place for take-away food. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are planned for the bistro type menu with an emphasis on value and local ingredients. Cindi Hoang, owner of The Point ( great smoothies and coffee) on Canon at Scott, will oversee the venture that is months from completion.
Moving on: Chef Wade Hageman, has left Blanca in Solana Beach to pursue a location of his own. He hopes to stay in San Diego. Buzz will keep you posted.
Open for business: Burger Lounge (a Buzz fav) in Little Italy, across the street from Indigo Grill. It is their fourth location (La Jolla, Coronado and Kensington round out the list).
Cucina Urbana: Newly named, with a new menu and concept at Fifth and Laurel. Food pals who recently dined there said atmosphere is fun; food working out the kinks. Haven’t been, but do wonder why food and service kinks are not worked out before opening to the public, especially with a well-known restaurateur like Tracy Borkum (and others who seem to have the same issue).
Corvette Diner & Gamers Garage finally opened in Liberty Station. On a recent Monday night, the wait for a table was an hour and a half…gotta love those burgers. Tiny bar area. Lots of noise and very loud music; lots of games in a separate area (kids and adults in that area) and an oddly darker dining area that seems a bit more civilized for eating. Oodles of parking and bring your patience while you wait for a table. We didn’t choose to wait.
Had a chance to lunch with out of town friends at Enoteca Style on India Street between Ash and Beech. Well-priced paninis, and flavorful and inventive salads. Loved the soba salad with ahi and a Caesar with fresh corn and grilled chicken cut into bite-size pieces. Interesting wines and happily sold in 3 ounce pours if you so desire.
In Del Mar, the place that morphed from Scalini’s to Pasquales has done it again…now it’s Flight. Flight’s new chef is Aaron Martinez who just left Addison where he was sous chef under William Bradley.
A well-known Gaslamp hotel restaurant is hunting for a new executive chef…it’s all about personalities…
Syrah Wine Lounge opens downtown–a wine bar with more than just Syrah–and cheese and meat platters (no kitchen). Located below the Cohn owned Dakota Grill & Spirits, we’d bet they have a interest in the place.
The building that housed The Guild, has been sold and Buzz is watching to see what will happen with the restaurant space.
And those wondering what happened to the Parallel 33 space in Hillcrest will soon have another restaurant by the same owners as Cafe Bleu at University and Fifth. Renovations are underway.
For sale: Twelve year-old La Vache in Hillcrest and the La Jolla institution, Sante on Hershel Avenue.
Up in Bankers Hill, another well-known eatery could be undergoing yet another makeover…possibly to Italian?
In Bankers HIll, Hexagone French Cuisine now occupies the corner of Fifth and Laurel in the old Gemelli spot. Hexagone is the newest addition to French Market Grille up in Rancho Bernardo. The new place features everything from salad niçoise ($13.75) and onion soup grantinée ($6.50) to traditional coq au vin ($17.50) and sea bass with corn risotto and fennel-vanilla sauce ($22.50). I haven’t eaten at either spot yet. And if you’re wondering (as I did) what a hexagon has to do with French cuisine, it’s the term the French use when talking about the shape of their country. Hexagone French Cuisine, 495 Laurel Street, Bankers Hill, 619-236-0467. Open daily from 11am.
For fabulous and very French desserts and chocolates, Mille Feuille is your place at the corner of University and Fifth. Executive pastry chef Thomas Gèrard, comes from La Valencia in La Jolla, and being French knows his pastries. I’ve tasted a few: Opera (light coffee sponge cake, chocolate ganache and coffee butter cream, $6.50), apricot summer (coconut-pineapple and carrot sponge cake layered with orange-apricot cream cheese filling, $5.50) and lots more including a caramelized onion and cheese quiche ($5.50) and macaroons almost as ethereal as those found in Pierre Hermé’s Paris shop. For lunch there are sandwiches and from 2 pm to 4pm there’s high tea for $20. Mille Feuille, 3896 Fifth Ave., Hillcrest, 619-295-5232.
Barely two years old, Rannoosh the Middle Eastern restaurant next door to Mille Feuille, is closed.
There’s a shakeup in the kitchen at the Ivy Hotel. Executive chef Damon Gordon moves on at the end of the month for a likely gig back on the east coast at another upscale hotel. No word who will step into Gordon’s position.
In these tough economic times, we hope it isn’t true: Could it be that a supper club in Bankers HIll might be on the selling block? Readers to this blog wonder if another restaurant/club near Symphony Hall may not be faring so well. Up in Hillcrest, a reader wonders about a wine bar that may also be on the ropes. Stay tuned.
Looks like sushi is a big draw for Fifth Avenue. As noted here Azuki has opened at Juniper and Fifth. Up the street at Olive, Hane Sushi (the soon-to-be second location of the well-known Sushi Ota) will sandwich Avenue 5 Restaurant & Bar with Mukashi at the corner of Nutmeg. Ota signed a 10 year, $1 million plus lease. Can you believe it, two sushi joints in the same block? Buzz tried Mukashi when it opened and will soon try Azuki.
A nd over at the now defunct Gemelli’s at Fifth and Laurel, the liquor license is transferring to Restau, LLC. Stay tuned to see what happens in this prime corner space. Opposite corners are home to Laurel Restaurant & Bar and Bertrand at Mr. A’s (with one of the best rooftop views of the city),