|Brian Malarkey & Chris Puffer|
March 2, 2016
Slated for an April debut in San Diego's Little Italy, Herb & Wood is the exciting new concept from celebrity chef Brian Malarkey and his business partner Chris Puffer. The dual concept restaurant, marketplace and fast casual eatery will feature a menu that captures the flavor of a custom wood-fired oven and simple, rustic preparations that rely on the quality, seasonality and of the vegetables, proteins and local provisions it features.
Executing in the kitchen alongside Chef Malarkey is co-chef and partner, Shane McIntyre - a kitchen visionary who has worked for Chef Malarkey for over five years at several of his most prominent restaurants. McIntyre began his culinary path with Malarkey as the Chef de Cuisine at the original Searsucker and then became corporate chef a year later, opening various locations across the country. In the summer of 2015 he started overseeing the kitchens of both Green Acre properties as well as the newly opened Farmer and the Seahorse.
“Shane has shared my passion for all things culinary since we met—he has cooked with me, taught me and inspired me, as he does with everyone in the kitchens he has worked," said Malarkey. "We are thrilled to push each other out of our comfort zones of styles and flavors and move in a new challenging direction with simply prepared dishes that focus on subtleties.”
A signature dish of Chef McIntyre’s at Herb & Wood will be stuffed branzino with Meyer lemon, parsley, chives, and chervil, wrapped in prosciutto and roasted, with chili tapenade made with Castelvatrano olives, Calabrian chilis, shallot and garlic. Other menu items will include local tuna & uni crudo with apple, shallot, herb relish and cucumber citrus broth; wood fire King Trumpet mushrooms with lemon verbena and house churned butter; pastas made in-house like triagoli with smoked rabbit sausage, burrata, Meyer lemon and pistachios; and grilled swordfish with yogurt, farro, pea sprouts and charred carrots in a curry vinaigrette. The wood fire oven will also churn out pizzas that host an array of delectable toppings, from seasonal veggies, to house-made sausage and salumi. The pizza dough will be made in-house and be aged for 48 hours prior to cooking. Breads will be baked daily and simple desserts will complement the cuisine.
“It's a celebrated chef, an experienced GM and a collection of friends and family whose dream is to open a culinary institution in Little Italy,” says partner and General Manager Christopher Puffer.
Anchoring the ambitious pastry and baking program, which will include house-made pizza dough, a selection of breads, and desserts is Executive Pastry Chef Adrian Mendoza. Mendoza will create desserts that complement the cuisine, including blueberry soufflé with whipped buttermilk and blueberry compote. Mendoza worked alongside Chef Malarkey as Executive Pastry Chef at Herringbone and Searsucker and previously worked at Spago in Beverly Hills, the Michelin two-star restaurant.
A new comer to the Herb & Wood team will be bartender Willem Van Leuven. Van Leuven, the San Diego chapter president of the United States Bartenders’ Guild, most recently ran the bar programs at Puesto and Prohibition. Willem has a passion for agave spirits, seen by his frequent travels throughout Mexico, especially Jalisco and Tijuana.
Rounding out the talented team is Mark Yost, Assistant General Manager who honed his skills at the Herringbone in West Hollywood and Searsucker San Diego. Yost is also curating the wine list, which he describes as, “Old world with rustic charm…refreshingly bright and spicy, with a soft undertone of femininity.” Alisha Stoun, a longtime confidant and resource for Puffer and Malarkey, will help guide logistics. Stoun has opened nine restaurants with Puffer and Malarkey over the last six years. Her contributions include creative culture and bringing the team together under one common mission: “to create a positive and resonant experience for our customers, our co-workers, and our community.”
Herb & Wood will be open for dinner nightly and then add brunch on the weekends. The restaurant will be open first followed by the more casual eatery with it’s grab-and-go area, called Herb and Eatery.
Herb & Wood is located at 2210 Kettner Boulevard in Little Italy. For more information, visit herbandwood.com.