At Herringbone, located on Herschel Avenue, you come for the food (OK, and maybe the celebrity) and stay for the atmosphere.
Herringbone made its public debut May 31 with a special grand opening reception complete with music, cocktails and passed appetizers. A few hundred people packed into the warehouse-turned-elegant-establishment to catch a glimpse of Malarkey and executive chef Amanda Baumgarten, both alumni of Top Chef.
Guests were able to gawk at the large displays of art on the wall, sit out on the inside-but-outside patio that looked straight from the Mediterranean coast and order from two separate bars inside the restaurant.
Specialty cocktails like the playful Peter Rabbit (Pimms #1, bruised basil, pressed lemon with a pickled carrot garnish) or the sweet Tokyo Love Hotel (house made sweet tea vodka, agave and pressed lemon) were showcased and complimented beet and burrata crostinis, crab cakes, risotto balls, oysters and various flatbreads.
The restaurant invokes an outdoor feel, with brick walls (mostly from the original building), live trees planted in the middle of tables and an open-air lounge. The only sure sign of a restaurant is the kitchen in perfect view for all dining customers against the back wall of Herringbone.
Foodies will find menu items like Blackened Tahitian Albacore with caramelized cauliflower, grapes, capers and vadouvan butter intriguing while the purists will be satisfied with the 8 oz. filet or dry aged New York strip. Sides available for the 12 main entrees include fried brussels, mashed potatoes, fries and rapini, also known as broccoli rabe.
At the grand opening, guests could bid on reserved tables for a cause. At the gathering, 100 percent of the money spent on dinner and drinks at the reserved tables would benefit Aidchild, an organization that offers free antiretroviral therapy to children in Uganda.
Herringbone is Malarkey's fifth restaurant in San Diego County. Malarkey, a Top Chef alum, and Managing partner James Brennan run Searsucker (downtown), Burlap (Del Mar Heights), Gingham (La Mesa) and Gabardine (Point Loma).
To make a reservation call 858-459-0221.