611 5th Ave
San Diego, CA 92101
Dining date: 7/27/13
In three years, Brian Malarkey’s gotten a strong hold of the San Diego dining scene. His first restaurant was this one in the heart of the gaslamp quarter, opened in the summer of 2010. Three years later, he has five different concepts in the San Diego area and four Searsucker restaurants nationwide. His rapid expansion is expected to continue in Los Angeles at the end of this year with his seafood-centric Herringbone concept.
Staying at a hotel on the outskirts of the gaslamp quarter, Malarkey’s still-popular first restaurant seemed like a good choice. Good thing we made reservations; the place was packed on this Saturday evening (and it’s a huge space!) – the dim lighting, loud music, and trendy feel walked a fine line between restaurant and nightlife lounge. I could see this fitting the Hollywood scene.
7837 Herschel Ave
La Jolla, CA 92037
Dining date: 6/15/13
Brian Malarkey’s been a busy man in San Diego, having opened six restaurants in the area over the last two and a half years (with one closing recently). Aside from being a young chef/restaurateur, he’s probably best known for his appearance on Top Chef (season 3) and for being a judge on ABC’s The Taste alongside Anthony Bourdain, Ludo Lefebvre, and Nigella Lawson. Herringbone is his lone restaurant in La Jolla (which was convenient considering my family and I were there for UCSD’s graduation weekend), while fellow Top Chef alumnus (and former Water Grill executive chef) Amanda Baumgarten is the executive chef at this seafood-centric spot.
The restaurant is large and kind of beautiful, with huge windows providing a glimpse into the kitchen and whole trees playing a part of the interior decor.
The menu features a raw oyster bar, a handful of hot/cold small plates, pizzas from a wood-burning oven (sort of unexpectedly), and about a dozen large plates balanced between land and sea.