Fish Public’s executive chef Jordan Davis has been lured away to… Herringbone La Jolla. Davis is a talent who worked at L.A.’s famed tip-to-tail spot Animal as well as the James Beard winner Boulevard (San Francisco) before joining Tracy Borkum’s restaurant group. It’s a good hire for exec chef Brian Malarkey, who parted ways with his original chef Amanda Baumgarten last year (Baumgarten’s now cooking well at Waypoint Public).
In January, restaurant and nightclub giant Hakkasan Ltd. bought a controlling stake in Enlightened Hospitality Group, which includes restaurants Searsucker and Herringbone, plus Downtown nightclub Stingaree. Now, Stingaree chef Antonio Friscia has signed on with RMD Group (Fluxx, Side Bar) and Ken Lovi (Knotty Barrel) to be chef-partner of their new project up the street at the former Fred’s Mexican Café and Marble Room. The first phase of the project will be called Don Chido, a “sophisticated cantina-style Mexican food” joint slated for a tentative May open. “Chefs aren’t really known for Mexican food,” says Friscia, “but we cook it for our staffs and eat it all the time.” They’re going to have carne asada cooked on a Santa Maria-style grill over wood or charcoal. A taco bar will serve the late-night crowd with housemade tortillas. And Friscia says he’ll use local, sustainable ingredients as much as possible. The bar will also have a huge tequila list and craft cocktails. The designer on the project is Davis Ink Ltd., who handled Stingaree and Side Bar. Friscia’s regarded as one of the more talented chefs and quality human beings in San Diego, and “his day” always seems just around the corner. Let’s hope this is it. His own project, Gaijin Noodle + Sake House, shuttered last year, of which he says: “The issue there really was everyone came there to eat and they didn’t drink. I’d sell a ton of food and no alcohol. You’ve got to sell alcohol to survive as a restaurant. It was a heartbreaker. I put my heart and soul in that place.”
Rancho Bernardo Inn spared no cost renovating their signature dining room, turning the classic El Bizcocho into the modern Avant. They hired Charlie Trotter alum James Kozak as the chef de cuisine, working under executive chef Nicolas Bour. But Kozak ended up leaving a few months after the opening, and now Bour been hired away to become the executive chef of Loews Coronado. Looks like Loews will be doing a major revamp in the near future with Bour as the lead dog.
We’re also hearing that Leroy’s Kitchen & Lounge chef JC Colón has left the building. For now, Tim Kolanko—exec chef for parent company Blue Bridge Hospitality—will step in and take over the line. Kolanko can cook, even if he’s got bigger concerns (including Blue Bridge’s forthcoming Coronado steakhouse, Stake).
Herringbone in La Jolla.