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Hot Eats: Summer Restaurant Openings

Prepare yourself for a hot season of restaurant-hopping all over town.

New restaurants to try this summer include celebri-chef Brian Malarkey’s latest coastal creation Herringbone in La Jolla, Michael McGeath’s urban neighborhood eatery Brooklyn Girl in Mission Hills, Barleymash by the Verant Group in the Gaslamp Quarter, the Marriott’s new waterfront dining concept Marina Kitchen, and Vintana -- the Cohn Restaurant Group’s take on luxury car dealership cuisine.

Feast on these new San Diego restaurants.

Herringbone in La Jolla

Brian Malarkey and James Brennan are back at it again, introducing their fifth San Diego restaurant on May 23. Herringbone is described as an Ocean Bazaar dining concept, and will complete Enlightened Hospitality Group’s “big three” trio of signature restaurants in town, along with Searsucker and Burlap. Fellow “Top Chef” alum Amanda Baumgarten of Bravo’s season 7 will be the leading lady in the Herringbone kitchen. The menu seeks to reinvent traditional seafood and surf ‘n’ turf dishes. Get ready for clam and bone marrow pizza, whole fish ceviche, Chatham day boat cod fish and chips with lemon and tartar sauce, and Maryland soft shell blue crabs with creamed corn and tomato bacon vinaigrette. Read the Herringbone story.

barleymash in Downtown San Diego

The latest restaurant and bar from the Verant Group, barleymash is now open on the buzzing corner of Fifth & Market in the Gaslamp Quarter. The former Whiskey Girl space now boasts a sleek, modern warehouse vibe, complete with garage door-style windows, communal tables and TVs all around. As for the name? barleymash refers to the grain mixture used to brew and distill beer and bourbon. And this theme rolls out through the menu of beer and barley-infused Americana food. Stand-out small plates include stout roasted mussels, spiced shrimp flatbread pie, and bacon blue cheese iron fries. Save room for supper, with Pile O Honey-porter pulled pork and michelada braised chicken served hot. Behind the bar, craft cocktails are shaken and stirred, and 30 local craft brews are waiting on tap.

Brooklyn Girlin Mission Hills

Last fall, Michael and Victoria McGeath, owners of the former Trattoria Acqua in La Jolla, announced plans for their new restaurant concept, Brooklyn Girl. The urban eatery was slated to open mid-winter, but it wasn’t until recently that we met the newest culinary lady of Mission Hills. Far from the fine dining vibe of their longstanding classic Italian restaurant, Brooklyn Girl is a casual, welcoming neighborhood eatery designed for community interaction, and built on the all-important principle of approachable cuisine made with fresh, local ingredients. Executive Chef Tyler Thrasher, most recently of Oceanaire Seafood Room, is the man to know in the Brooklyn kitchen, serving New American fare, from oyster sliders and wood-oven pizza pies, to short ribs, burgers and whole roast duck. Wash it down with a classic Kentucky Blue cocktail. (pictured above)

Craftsman New American Tavern in Encinitas

North County locals adore Blue Ribbon, the quaint artisan pizza-centric restaurant located within the Lumberyard Shopping Centre in Encinitas. Chef-owner Wade Hageman, formerly of Blanca in Solana Beach, struck culinary gold with his farm-to-table take on pizza, paired with fresh appetizers and addictive desserts at Blue Ribbon. And now, Hageman is expanding to open his second restaurant, also in Encinitas. Craftsman New American Tavern will soon take over the former Savory Casual Fare space on N. El Camino Real. At Craftsman, Hageman will emphasize hand-crafted comfort food, from home-made sausages and charcuterie, to free-range chicken, short ribs and mac ‘n cheese. Expect a warm, intimate atmosphere, craft beer and classic cocktails. Craftsman is slated to open mid-summer 2012.

Marina Kitchen in Downtown San Diego

The Marriott Marquis & Marina introduces a revamped dining concept this May. The 19,000 square foot space is now Marina Kitchen, a waterfront restaurant serving coastal-inspired modern comfort food from morning ‘til night. Soak in the harbor through panoramic windows in the dining room, or dine outdoors in a cabana-style booth. On the dinner menu, notable starters include short rib crostini’s, local Albacore caponata, and Mexican rock shrimp fritto misto. Every day offers a different specialty roast. On Thursday date night, order the roasted chicken for two with olive oil mashed potatoes and lemon thyme chicken jus. Cast Iron Jidori chicken, grilled beef tenderloin and daily grilled market fish are more dinner entrée options. Sip on one of the new summer cocktails, such as the Basil Gimlet and California Caipiroska.

Vintana in Escondido

It’s no shock that the Cohn Restaurant Group continues to reinvent the brand with new eateries across town. But the location of its latest project will come with some surprise. Celebrating a soft opening at the end of May, Vintana is a wine-centric restaurant located within The Centre at Lexus Escondido, a 300,000 square foot dealership recently renovated with plenty of luxury appeal. Our favorite part? A 20,000 square foot terrace complete with fire pits and a panoramic view of the hillside. Chef Deborah Scott channeled California Modern cuisine, and all menu items are priced under $25. Stand-out dinner dishes include blackberry glazed bison spareribs, cider & caramel pork porterhouse and the oh-so-decadent roasted shallot & blue cheese stuffed filet burger. The bar focus is on local and international boutique wines, but cocktail-lovers are welcome to hang in the Vodka Lounge, with over 100 global selections on display.

Imig’s Kitchen & Barin North Park

Imig’s Kitchen & Bar is the new restaurant at The Lafayette Hotel & Swim Club in North Park. Sporting a new aesthetic by the Bells & Whistles design trio, the restaurant boasts warm wood, recycled antiques and a central installation built entirely from glass panes and vintage doors found in a local estate sale. Imig’s now serves breakfast all day, as well as a separate brunch menu from 10am to 3pm. Wake up with Meyer lemon honey waffles, braised pork & Applewood smoked bacon hash, or roasted pork benedict. If you’re craving brunch, try the seared albacore tuna wrap, heirloom beet salad, or the classic grilled cheese & creamy tomato soup combo. Imig’s also offers a range of brunch cocktails, including three Bloody Mary variations. Sip on the One Beet Mary, made with gin, house mix, beet, kale and carrot juice.

Casa de Luz in North Park

Good news for health-focused foodies, there is a new refuge for 100% organic cuisine on University Ave. in North Park. Owner Wayo Longorio was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis 10 years ago, and has since dedicated his personal lifestyle and professional life to a vegan, plant-centered macrobiotic diet. At Casa de Luz, diners will experience a true macrobiotic meal, with proper portions of vegetables, legumes and whole grains. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served communal-style, and the menu changes with each meal. Recently served dishes include pesto grilled mushrooms with balsamic, purple onion and olive tapenade served in a cabbage bun; creamy cauliflower and sunburst squash with avocado drizzle; and a salad of sugar snap peas, sunflower sprouts and raspberries. Read the Casa de Luz story.

More Hot New Restaurants to Try:

Gabardine in Point Loma

Prepkitchen in Little Italy

Cusp Dining & Drinking in La Jolla - coming soon

Delicias 2.0 in Rancho Santa Fe – coming soon

Gang Kitchen in Downtown San Diego – coming soon

The Restaurant at Rancho Valencia – coming soon

Pinzimini at Westin Gaslamp Quarter – coming soon

El Vitral in Chula Vista – coming soon

Peri Peri in La Jolla – coming soon

Seasons 52 at UTC La Jolla – coming soon

Discover more local eateries & foodie events in our San Diego restaurants blog



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