Monday, August 9, 2010

SOHO is So So

I am not talking about SOHO in NYC. I am talking about the new restaurant in North Park. If you have a big name like SOHO it better be fantastic & packed with people but I'm sorry to say it was not. SOHO Restaurant & Lounge has only been open for 4 months so I gave it the benefit of the doubt thinking no one knows about this place but these days if the food is good its packed regardless of how long a restaurant has been open for. I was hoping for another amazing restaurant to grace residents of North Park but to my disappointment this was not the case. Don't get me wrong. The food was okay and prices reasonable, but it didn't blow me away or anyone else I dined with. I think what this placed lacked is ambiance. I didn't really understand the whole concept and was confused when I walked in. It looked like a Sammy's Wood Fire Pizza with some cool art work on the walls. I tend to get lost in SOHO in NY but the SOHO of SD is a little lost itself. The food is Southern & Latin but not the best Southern or Latin food I have had. I think the food lacked flavor. The kind of flavor which both cuisines should be oozing. It was missing the kind of flavor that makes you say "Wow! What was that?" Instead I said. "I can make this at home". Not so good.
Small Plates
Chicken Mole Poblano - smashed plantains, chicken & mole sauce
Wood Fired Piquillo Peppers - stuffed with goat cheese, roasted garlic & toast points. This was not bad. Basically you spread the roasted garlic on the toast and top it with the pepper.
Wood fire Mussels - caramelized leeks, chorizo, flat bread - The flat bread dipped in the broth the mussels were in was very good.
Braised Meyers Beef Short Rib - smoked tomato, spinach, goat cheese tamale, Peruvian cherry salsa. - The meat was good and tender but the tamale was HUGE! It took over and so did the cornmeal surrounding the block of goat cheese. I was super excited about ordering it but not so excited eating it.
Fresh Atlantic Salmon - wood fire blackened shrimp, smoked tomato quinoa, braised leek jalapeno honey vinaigrette. This dish was good and if you are looking to eat healthy then this is the dish for you.
Cilantro Pesto Chicken Pizza - blend of mexican cheeses, tomato, onion, mozzarella

The staff was very nice and knowledgeable about the menu but unfortunately what gets me into a restaurant again is more then just that.
SOHO Restaurant and Lounge
3025 el cajon blvd. san diego ca. 92104

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Sensational Searsucker

Award winning celebrity TV Chef Brian Malarkey, host of TLC's "Mega Bites" and past Bravo Top Chef finalist and James Brennan opened up Searsucker last Saturday night and raises the bar for restaurants in San Diego. Finally we can be known for having good restaurants. Malarkey is accompanied by Executive Sous Chef Benjamin Lieberman from my high school alma mater (Go Big Green) and after a night of eating at Searsucker they made all of my foodie dreams come true.
Taking over what used to Z Gallery in downtown San Diego the restaurant space is huge (7000 square feet with an open kitchen) seating up to 240 people with outdoor seating on the patio. The decor is beautiful and has an urban, vintage western, whimsical feel to it. Searsucker was designed by Thomas Schoos whose projects include Tao at the Venetian in Las Vagas & Manhattan and Koi in LA among many others. From the moment I walked in I thought this looks like a restaurant you would see in New York or Las Vegas, but lucky me...It's in San Diego!
With signs that say "EAT" all through-out the restaurant, that is exactly what my table of 4 fabulous friends did and we enjoyed every minute of it!
Small Bites
Mushrooms, truffle's, & burrata - this dish was a favorite. The mushrooms are served hot and the burrata cheese (under developed mozzarella) melts on the top. Now this is a dish that tastes as good as it sounds.
The crab cake which is carb free was hands down the best crab cake I have ever had. Don't get to excited with the carb free because its not fat free but who cares! It is delightful and melts in your mouth. Carbs or no carbs, no other crab cake will ever compare.
Eggs & Bacon - a rendition of eggs benedict. Braised pork belly on a toasted brioche topped with a poached egg & brown butter holllandaise sauce. Yeah, this dish hit it out of the park for me and because of it Searsucker needs to start serving brunch. Immediately!
Alaskan Halibut with smoked bacon and corn broth. Now who doesn't love bacon? The fish was cooked to perfection and flavors were amazing.
RanchFlatiron "haystack" chimichuri bearnaise. Don't ask. To die for.
Hock with grits & kale - This braised veal shank was served with rich bacon grits. I loved every bite.
For sides we ordered the fried brussels and they are absolutely incredible fried. They were so crispy almost like you were eating brussel sprout chips. You have to order them. We also had the duck fat fries and the butter potato which were mashed, topped with chives and so smooth & creamy.
Make sure you save room for desserts because they are incredible. As it says on the dessert menu "don't just look", I guarantee you wont!
The "King" Sundae - peanut butter cup ice cream, bacon & honey caramel, bananas, whip cream and candied peanuts. Need I say anything else. It is amazing.
Doughnuts & Chocolate - malted dark chocolate cream & cinnamon sugar doughnuts. They were served hot and you dip them in the chocolate yourself. You can not go wrong.
What I also loved about Searsucker is you really can just go in for drinks and enjoy a fun night out with friends. The bar has locally brewed lagers & ales on tap and the signature drinks were created by Snake Oil Cocktail Co.
Check out Searsucker and "EAT" like you have never have eaten before.
Searsucker 611 fifth ave. san diego ca. 92101