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RMD Group taps chef Antonio Friscia for fanciful Mexican joint

By Troy Johnson | Photos by Jen & Bec

Antonio Friscia cooks like a college grad travels. An Italian chef by trade (he studied under Italian master Gualtiero Marchesi), his last project was Gaijin—a cheekily self-aware Japanese restaurant. Now he’s joined with RMD Group (Fluxx, Sidebar) to bring his classically trained chops to home-style Mexican cuisine at Don Chido.

If the cuisine ADD scares you, don’t let it. Friscia is one of the more respected chefs in San Diego.

Don Chido is going into 527 5th Ave. in the Gaslamp (formerly Fred’s Mexican Café). He’ll have a Santa Maria grill (barbecue culture heads go nuts for these things, and they’re rare in restaurants) that he’ll use with coastal live oak to make some Santa Maria-style barbecue. Expect wood-fired and smoked Mexican specialties like tacos al pastor with fire-roasted pineapple, and the mother of all dishes: Don Chido Especiale—a wood-fired rib eye with ancho chili garlic butter, chipotle lime wild Mexican shrimp, charred house-made chorizo, frijoles refritos, avocado, chile relleno, house-made corn tortillas and charred globe onions garnished with red guajillo sauce.

Davis Ink Ltd. handled the design of the 4,000 square-foot space (max occ. 120). The image of a cowgirl frolicking in her own libido nods to the old west via Betty Page. One wall is made of Mexican blankets. The center bar is equipped with a tacqueria stand that’ll make hot, fresh tortillas. There are custom-designed maraca wall sconces. The color palate is a playful kind of paint-can roulette.

They’re shooting for a June 30 open (that’s always a crapshoot). When they do, it’ll be 11am to close.

Enough with the un-pretty words. Please enjoy the first pretty photos in the known universe of Don Chido.

Don Chido. Don sexy.

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