CLARIFICATION:  Chef Sinsay sent this in an email that I received after I posted:  ” I was never let go from enlightened hospitality. I left on my own accord on good terms. I was offered the opportunity to stay on as exec chef of Searsucker but explored opportunities elsewhere.”  Also, Sinsay will be chef de cuisine under executive chef Brian Malarkey.

In the ever changing world of who’s cooking where, chef Anthony Sinsay will likely take his knives to Los Angeles.  Sinsay lost his job at Brian Malarkey’s Burlap just a few months ago when  Malarkey unceremoniously closed the restaurant and reopened it in July as Searsucker. (Staff had to reapply for their job with the new restaurant.) Within weeks Sinsay became chef a La Villa in Little Italy, replacing Chris O’Donnell.

Now Sinsay is back with the guy (and the company Enlightened Hospitality Group) who let him go, and we hear he will be executive chef at what could be Herringbone,  Malarkey’s next venture at the Mondrian Hotel in Los Angeles.  The Hollywood Reporter talked with Malarkey as noted by about the restaurant that will replace Asia de Cuba. If this is where Sinsay lands, it should be an interesting ride for him as the restaurant also serves breakfast and lunch along with dinner and room service.

Note that I reached out to Enlightened Hospitality Group’s public relations firm for comment and have not heard back from them.

 

 

In Kensington, a “uber  fun, cool and eclectic” new wine bar , Village Vino, opens  (softly) June 28 at the corner of Adams Avenue and Kensington Drive in the same block as the Ken Theater and Kensington Grill.  Owner  Rita Pirkl will feature wines from around the world from small producers, many family run.  There will be classes too.  Buzz has seen the space and it offers all of the fun and none of the pretense of so many other wine bars in this town (no sofas either!).  4095 Adams Ave., 619-546-8466, open Sunday to Thursday 11am to 10pm, Friday and Saturday until midnight, closed Monday.

If you’re looking for a restaurant to buy, here are two you might be interested in:  Avenue 5 Restaurant and Bar in Bankers Hill is on the block as is City Deli in Hillcrest.  For additional information, 858-792-5521.

More Malarkey for his minions:  The empire spreads   with a second Searsucker  for those hungry “zonies; waived c orkage Tuesdays and half off selected bottles at all five venues; and happy hour arrives at  from 4 to 6pm.  Growing pains at the three-month-old Gabardine where chef Chad White is out and Malarkey is in with a pared down menu (unfortunately not yet posted online) and appetizers that include mac n’ cheese, shishito peppers and fries (they were sides before).   Is  Malarkey trying too hard here with a new brunch hook at Gabardine? Disco? Kind of odd for this old Point Loma neighborhood.

Herringbone just opened in La Jolla, making it the fifth in the fabric named restaurants.  If you love noisy, be-there-be-seen places, you’ll be right at home here as you watch nimble wait staff juggle food and drinks around a packed bar and 100-year-old olive trees planted inside the huge ex-warehouse space.  Expect a pricey dinner meal with most mains in the high $20’s and starters in the high teens.

And a final thought on Malarkey:  Is the expansion too fast and furious given his turnover of chefs (Burlap and Gabardine)?  Gabardine certainly needed more thought when it opened (and still may) as the elements of decor, dark corners at the bar, noise and a mish mash of a menu were not cohesive for the four times I visited.  (The place is a mile from my home.)  Time will tell if he can get the locals hooked.

GABARDINE UPDATE:  As of June 14,  Brian Malarkey’s Point Loma restaurant:  Chef Chad White and Malarkey have parted ways.  Malarkey will be at in the kitchen–perhaps to stay closer to home when he moves here this summer?  (See post below and his email note to Gabardine patrons.)

Buzz took a  hiatus from writing to host a gaggle of overseas friends passing through San Diego. Now it’s time to get things revved up with my recent observations while dining in San Diego’s eclectic restaurants.

A few weeks ago at The Shores I dined with a Parisian couple that I had only met that day (friends of friends) and we ordered a “half bottle” of Domaine Carneros sparkling wine ($31, glass $15).  (Note the online menu still shows NV J. Brut Cuvee 20, Sonoma, CA). What a surprise when the Carneros arrived  in a carafe, poured into glasses at the table by our server. Yep, a carafe, not a special carafe, just a regular wine carafe. We were stunned–everyone too polite to say a word.

To be fair, you’ll find these words on the wine list*Our HALF BOTTLES are better than a half bottle!!  It is 2-1/2 glasses per carafe! Perfect if you want more than a glass and less than a bottle.”  But usually carafes are for red and white wines.  One doesn’t expect bubbles in a carafe, especially in a place where the sommelier is studying to become a master sommelier.

My curiosity got the best of me to learn more about serving bubbles in a carafe. I checked with Parisian friends who pour (and drink) Champagne nearly daily–they were not familiar with such service–and online I found a video showing Michel Drappier decanting his vintage Champagne into his specially made chilled decanter.  Charles Heidsieck also weighs in on the subject, noting that Riedel makes a uniquely designed decanter for vintage Champagne.

For The Shores “offering the best in neighborhood American cuisine” with unobstructed ocean views (including kayakers, surfers and marine life) carafe service for sparkling wine “half bottle” is an affectation that doesn’t do justice to the customer, the restaurant or the bubbles. How about selling real half bottles of good California NV sparkling wine (prices range from $20 to $35) rather than make the customer wonder how long a bottle had been open before it reached the carafe (and possibly lost its effervesce along the way).  I’d bet a lot of locals and travelers from distant lands would rave about the classy and comfortable dining experience.

Two more Malarkey venues opened (Gabardine and Herringbone), adding swatches to his growing love affair with fabric named restaurants (Searsucker, Burlap and Gingham).  One can only wonder when he gets to Nylon, Velcro, Polyester and Spandex.  He’s opening a new place in Uganda in the summer…yes, Uganda, as noted here.  When will Malarkey have time to move to Point Loma as he mentions in a Gabardine that also includes menu changes.  Buzz will delve more into Gabardine and Herringbone in a separate post…there’s lots to tell.

Full disclosure:  I know the executive chef, chef de cuisine and sommelier at The Shores.

As the New Year approaches, it’s time to remember a few of the stories that got Buzz’s attention in 2011:

1.  The unexpected death of Naomi Wise, San Diego’s only truly anonymous food critic.  She wrote for the San Diego Reader and was scrupulous to keep her identity hidden.  I was an occasional member of her eating posse as she sometimes referred to her dining companions.  Back in 2007 a post appeared here and Naomi wrote a perfect comment about what she did to be the critical and (sometimes unpopular) restaurant reviewer in the county.   While San Diego does have writers and bloggers extolling the latest dish about a place, none are completely anonymous–ask any of the PR agencies that host media dinners.   These days, everyone thinks they know food, just look at Twitter, Facebook, Yelp and other social media.  Naomi’s  honest, food knowledgeable voice will be missed.

2.   National TV beckoned Nine-Ten‘s chef Jason Knibb who took on Bobby Flay in an Iron Chef America challenge.  Knibb lost but had a good time with the “all business” Flay who barely bothered to speak to Knibb after the show.  Riviera Magazine lost food writer and editor Troy Johnson to San Diego Magazine.  Along the way he had time to create and star in  Crave, a new show for the Food Network.  Bernard Guillas, executive chef extraordinaire at The Marine Room appeared twice on the Today Showand also was inducted into the Maitre Cuisiniers de France, a very high honor.

3.  Brian Malarkey who brought us Searsucker continues on a material tear, opening places all over the county, all named for fabrics that include Burlap and for 2012, Herringbone, Gingham, and Gabardine.  Interesting concept and Buzz wonders if he didn’t get the idea from Washington DC chef/owner who, a few years ago, named his first restaurant Corduroy.  His second, Herringbone opens in 2012.  Malarkey picked up the shuttered La Playa Bistro and plans for it to become Gabardine. It will be worth watching how Malarkey unbuttons this small space located on a corner at the end of Point Loma’s business area.  For anyone other than area residents the restaurant’s location is nearly a dead-end destination.  And what about the food?  Will Malarkey’s name be enough to fill the spot?  Someone remarked the restaurant could have had a more nautical name such as Canvas, to reflect the neighborhood’s well-known tenant-–the San Diego Yacht Club is just two blocks away.

4.  Chefs making news:  Amy DiBiase now oversees The Shores in La Jolla, working with executive chef  Bernard Guillas; Paul McCabe left his executive chef duties at Del Mar’s Kitchen 1540 for a partnership with the owners of Rancho Santa Fe’s Delicias; Jason Maitland left Flavor del Mar and will open Red Light District in the old Sushi Itto in the Gaslamp while CIA schooled and highly credentialed Brian Redzikowski took Maitland’s spot.  Chad White jetted to Sea Rocket Bistro in North Park.  At the Hotel Del Coronado’s 1500 Ocean Brian Sinnott chose family over running the kitchen, Aaron Martinez is now in charge and wine director Joe Weaver just moved north.  Jason Shaeffer opened 1500 Ocean in 2006, then moved to Windsor, Colorado, bought a restaurant, named it  Chimney Park Restaurant and Bar and was just named one of OpenTable Diner’s Choice Overall Winners for 2011 (as was Addison at the Grand Del Mar).  Carl Schroeder made it to the semi-finals for a James Beard Foundation Award in the Best Chef Pacific region (as was William Bradley of Addison in 2010), neither made the finals…

5.  San Diegans like to drink.  According to a survey in , San Diego ranks 9th in drunkest cities…This may not be an honor the city needs.

Happy New Year…May 2012 bring San Diego’s chefs, restaurants and diners great food (and service, too).  And perhaps this year will bring a James Beard Foundation award to a deserving chef and restaurant.  It’s last minute, but you can put in your own nominees for the awards here–just do it before December 31, 2011 at midnight.