Searsucker is the flagship of Enlightened Hospitality Group's (EHG) fabric-themed restaurants. Having opened in the summer of 2010, the Gaslamp hotspot solidified Top Chef finalist Brian Malarkey's local stardom, making him one of the most recognized faces in town. In less than three years, the duo of Malarkey and nightlife guru, James Brennan, has opened 5 more restaurants in San Diego (with Gingham recently closing), and two more Searsucker's abroad (Scottsdale and soon-to-open Austin). Through a judge/mentor position on ABC's primetime cooking competition The Taste (which his team won), Malarkey's celebrity has continued to rapidly escalate over the past year. Although we've been to Searsucker several times and profiled its lunch offerings, we have refrained from writing about dinner...until now.
Searsucker has a lengthy wine list, with a more elite "Cellar Offerings" menu available upon request. If you want to bring in your favorite bottle, feel free to do so, but be mindful that a $25 corkage fee will be assessed. Craft cocktails and infused liquors from in house cocktail firm Picks & Rocks are available from behind the bar. Local craft beers come in draft and bottle, including a special Karl Strauss production named after Malarkey's son, the "Malarkey Hunter." We began with two icy cold Stone Brewing Co. Cali-Belgique IPAs. Big surprise, huh?
From the mains, my beautiful partner chose the loin "filet" with lobster butter and a cognac sauce ($35). The steak appeared almost gray, lacked seasoning, and wasn't seared on all sides like it should be. I ordered the local yellowtail with crispy onions and chipotle and bleu cheese butter, and while the outer char was flavorful and delicious, I craved more of that flavor throughout as the rest of the protein was somewhat bland. From the sides, we ordered the jalapeno-chorizo corn off the cob, which was spicy, creamy and absolutely delicious. We also ordered the sugar snap peas and carrots, which were fresh and colorful, but lacked any memorable flavor.
I know we always preface our re-caps of dessert with the statement "we're not dessert people," but having come to know Pastry Chef Rachel King's expertise in the subject, we indulged. The "King" Sundae is a sweet, decadent and totally shareable monstrosity of peanut butter ice cream, bacon honey caramel, bananas and whipped cream. We also enjoyed the buttermilk tres leches with strawberry puree, vanilla rhubarb and a sweet strawberry sorbet. Though the notoriously tough texture of the rhubarb threw me off, the cakes were insanely moist and delicious like shortcake, and reigned me right back in.
Herringbone, Burlap), understand that the food is only part of the overall experience. You're paying for the chance to be one of the 'it' crowd for an evening. You're paying for perfect service and professionally designed ambiance. Yes, the food is part of the sensory stimulation you'll receive during your meal, but there is much more to take in. Our opinion, if you're thinking of trying a local EHG restaurant and are having trouble deciding, go to Searsucker for the vibe, Herringbone for the decor, and Burlap for the food.
P.S. We've never been to Gabardine.
611 5th Avenue, Gaslamp
Lunch: Monday - Friday 11:30AM - 2:00PM
Dinner: Sunday - Thursday 5:30PM - 10:00PM, Friday - Saturday 5:30PM - 11:00PM
Bar: Daily 5:00PM - Close
Brunch: Sunday 10:00AM - 2:00PM, Bar Open 2:30PM-Close
Happy Hour: Monday - Friday 5PM-6:30PM