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Three Dots And a Hunger

Enlightened closes Gabardine; action at Anthology; Paleo will take us all

By Troy Johnson

I’ve never seen a restaurant group that seems to be booming and bleeding quite so much at the same time. As Enlightened Hospitality Group (Searsucker, Herringbone) prepares to open its biggest gamble yet—a Herringbone in the Mondrian hotel on Sunset Strip, set for a Jan. 16 grand opening—it announced the closing of two under-performing projects. The first—cozy Point Loma outpost, Gabardine—had been expected. But folding Scottsdale Searsucker, opened in October 2012, is a pretty startling move considering the costly build-out. Partner James Brennan issued a brief business haiku to press about the need to “focus our efforts on the immense success of our current restaurant portfolio.” The center-stage L.A. outpost seems perfect for the skills of Brennan (a nightclub guy), chef Brian Malarkey (a TV chef) and designer Thomas Schoos. Hotel restaurants are not easy, to say the least. Godspeed, gentlemen…  Big nod for top chef William Bradley of Addison at the Grand Del Mar. Robb Report just named Bradley the winner of its annual Culinary Masters Competition (he was nominated by some chap named Thomas Keller of one “French Laundry”… sounds like a lot of berets in a bag). I had Bradley’s tasting menu a few months ago and my mouth is still terribly depressed that I don’t take it there every day for the rest of its life on my face… Keep your eye on Anthology, the jazz supper club in Little Italy. A man behind a couple restaurants in San Diego has taken over with an investment group with big plans. We’ve promised to be mum for a bit… A new sushi restaurant will come to North Park soon, and it will bring top-quality fish and Japanese whiskeys. Can’t say who-where-when yet… Since I’m annoying myself with the “can’t say who” business—inside sources say Inn at the Park has decided to shutter all dining at the end of the month. The roof will reportedly be turned into an office space, and the ground-floor restaurant will be leased out to a third-party operator…  It’s one thing to be a cheesemonger. It’s another to expect to make it as a cheese shop in this modern retail world for 10 years. So congrats, Venissimo Cheese. Check out their West vs. East Coast cheese battle at the Del Mar shop on Jan. 23 from 6-7:30PM…  Vivace at the Park Hyatt Aviara just announced a new chef in Jason Seibert, a vet of Eventi Hotel’s China Grill in New York, and former chef-owner of Café Cerise in San Diego…. The cave-people diet is out of control, with well-sculpted and possibly malnourished Paleo diet diehards role-playing saber-tooth tiger hunts with their loin-clothy friends. To satiate the trend, “Paleo-friendly” is becoming the new “gluten-free” on menus. Lobster West just launched its “Paleo Roll,” with Maine lobster minus the bread, wrapped in romaine leaf with a side of drawn butter… Two restaurants of note just kicked off lunch service. The first is iconic Rancho Santa Fe restaurant Mille Fleurs, which will now serve lunch Tuesday through Friday. The next is the impressive new arrival in University Heights, American Voodoo, serving southern ditties like housemade buttermilk biscuits, chicken and waffles and cast-iron blueberry pie. Post-lunch nap required…  OG microbrew Karl Strauss is celebrating 25 years in February with a barrel-aged 25th Anniversary Doppelbock, with a “Changing of the Barrels” event on Feb. 8… Creative cacao-and-grub outpost Eclipse Chocolate has expanded its patio in South Park, adding 16 dog-friendly chairs in the pets-are-better-than-children neighborhood of South Park. Check out their next Chocolate Threeway—three chocolate truffles paired with three designer cheeses paired with three craft beers—on Jan. 30.

Three Dots And a Hunger

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