Herringbone - La Jolla, CA

While we were staying in the San Diego area last month for my little sister's wedding, our family, along with the new in-laws, went to dinner at Herringbone restaurant in La Jolla. Herringbone is the fifth restaurant in "Top Chef" Brian Malarkey's San Diego restaurant empire. Herringbone is housed in a "vintage warehouse" and is absolutely breathtaking on the inside. The high warehouse ceiling remains, but throughout the dining room are 100-year old real live olive trees. Extremely unique art and lighting installations line the walls, giving the restaurant an industrial, warehouse-meets-enchanted-forest feel that is really captivating. The exhibition kitchen is located at the back of the restaurant, behind a huge glass window so guests can watch the chefs prepare the food.

Vintage warehouse meets enchanted forest
 
Luckily, the food at Herringbone lives up to the awe-inspiring atmosphere. The menu theme is "Fish Meats Field," with a focus on line-caught seafood, farm-fresh vegetables and "quality meats." The staff is outstanding; our waiter was so passionate about the food and concept that you would think he owned the place. He chatted with us throughout the meal about everything from the architecture and decor to the sourcing of ingredients and preparation of the menu items.

Brian Malarkey of "Top Chef" fame - he is as pretty as his food

These are some of the dishes we sampled:

Fried Brussels & Candied Pecans: From the "Ands" section of the menu (sides), my brother-in-law ordered these for the table as an appetizer. Unlike many people, I love brussels sprouts and these did not disappoint. They were cooked perfectly, with just enough crunch, and they were nicely charred with a hint of a balsamic flavor. The candied pecans were a fitting accent as well. This fall side dish would be perfect in any Thanksgiving spread.


Fried Brussels & Candied Pecans
Shrimp 'n White Cheddar Grits

















Shrimp 'n White Cheddar Grits: White cheddar grits with oyster mushrooms and bacon lardon topped with sauteed shrimp. This was a beautiful appetizer that I really enjoyed. The grits were creamy, salty and cheesy and studded with bacon, how could that be bad? And they were topped with perfectly cooked sweet shrimp. I highly recommend this dish as an appetizer or small entree.

Local Mussels with Pesto & Tomato
Local Mussels "Pesto & Tomato": Sauteed local mussels in a pesto and tomato broth topped with grilled bread. The mussels were tender and the broth was lightly flavored with pesto; not too overpowering. Another great appetizer to share.

Fig, Prosciutto, Burrata & Onion Jam "Crust": The pizza section of the menu is aptly named "Crusts" and this crust was not only really pretty but delicious. I absolutely love figs and onion jam so this was a must-order. The sweetness of the onion jam and fresh figs went perfectly with the salty burrata (a fresh cheese similar to mozzarella but made with cream) and prosciutto.



Fresh figs, prosciutto, burrata and onion jam "crust"
Pancetta, Egg, Baby Kale & Fontina "Crust": Everyone in my family is a sucker for a good pizza and we love eggs so we couldn't resist ordering this one as well. It was like a really good breakfast pizza, with the salty pancetta (uncured bacon) and the yolk-y egg right on top, and the creamy fontina cheese with some baby kale to make you feel good about eating pizza with an egg on top.

Pancetta, egg, baby kale & fontina "crust"















Boston Diver Scallops: Seared diver scallops, braised pork belly, Israeli couscous, saffron, tomato & arugula. The scallops were cooked perfectly - a good sear on the outside and moist on the inside. I loved the Israeli couscous that came with it, they are much bigger balls than regular couscous so there is more of a mouthfeel. We couldn't find the pork belly in the dish, but we could definitely taste it (it was slightly salty), so we suspect that the scallops were seared in the rendered pork belly fat.  

Boston Diver Scallops

Colorado Lamb Sirloin & Lobster: Seared lamb sirloin in a wild mushroom and lobster pan sauce topped with crispy parsnip. My dad and my brother-in-law's brother both ordered this dish and loved it. Dad's lamb was cooked to a perfect medium rare, and the meat was very tender and flavorful without being too gamey or fatty.  

Colorado Lamb Sirloin with Lobster Pan Sauce
Other notable items:

The Spinach, Feta & Bacon Balsamic salad was named "one of the best salads ever" by my sister's mother-in-law

Three in our group raved about the Old Fashion cocktail, which is made with house-made cinnamon bourbon, orange, raisins and bitters. 




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