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We rooted for Chef Amanda Baumgarten as she competed for the Top Chef title on the 7th Season of Bravo's popular culinary competition, so when the news broke that she would be running the kitchen at fellow Top Chef Brian Malarkey's 5th installment of his famed fabric-named franchise of eateries, we were extremely exuberant and expectatious. No longer in its 'newby' phase, Herringbone is now a La Jolla hotspot, and rightfully so as the restaurant is exceptionally designed to appeal to those seeking upscale, casual, or anywhere in between, and with the young and energetic Chef Amanda in charge of the output, Herringbone delivers in bringing the 'hip' to La Jolla.
The interior design of Herringbone is beyond what words can explicate. Taking full advantage of the vintage warehouse structure it occupies, internationally acclaimed designer Thomas Schoos created a surreal atmosphere that surely pays homage to the ocean and makes patrons feel as if they're in the bustling underbelly of an old wooden ship. Upon entry, a chilled out lounge area is decorated like a waterside patio, featuring a fireplace, an eve covered bar, and several unique seating areas. In the main dining room, the galley is on full display, as a wall of windows lets hungry 'Herringboners' view the inner workings of the kitchen. Watch Chef Amanda's ponytail sway like a metronome as she coordinates her cooks and assures that each dish goes out to specification. Century old olive trees stretch from the floor and accentuate the out-of-this-world environment that is Herringbone. Add to the ambiance antique row boat light fixtures, an illuminated blowfish chandelier, and a whale skeleton suspended above the dining room's bar, and you really cannot compare Herringbone's decor to anywhere else.
The food menu is separated into sections of Cold Fare, Hot Fare, Greens, Crusts, Plates, and Ands (sides), and the wine and beer lists are ample. Olives and almonds are presented at the beginning of the meal, compliments of the chef.
We love side dishes, frequently more than the main course, so we went H.A.M. with Ands. The beets (7) came red and yellow and were emphasized by a spicy marinated feta cheese - perfect if you can handle the heat. The fried brussels were crispy and addicting, presented cornucopia-style and seemingly never ending. The asparagus (7) came super al dente thus retaining texture when mixed with the bursting sunny side up egg, all topped with airy fried potato skins and drizzles of bacon balsamic, making for a very sexy side. The creamed corn (6) may have been my favorite taste of the night, especially when muddled together with the buttery-rich mashed potatoes (6). It made me feel like a little kid! I suggest you get those sides as a pair.
dessert (11) looked absolutely amazing, we were way too stuffed for that, so our server (who was one of the best waiters ever) suggested a refreshing, palate-cleansing scoop of cherry balsamic ice cream doused in Champagne. It was delicious, and a perfect end to an amazing meal.
Being a multi-million dollar restaurant, of course dishes don't come cheap, but service was impeccable, everything was beautiful, and we genuinely enjoyed our meal. The restaurant was bustling with a vast array of clientele, from the hipster to the senior, and was surprisingly chic, elegant, and relaxed, yet wild and unassuming - unlike any other eatery in San Diego. Herringbone is more than the food or drinks it provides, it is an experience in itself.
7837 Herschel Avenue, La Jolla
Late Night Party Times
Sunday 10:00am – 3:00pm
The below pictures are from the portfolio of Thomas Schoos: