“About a year and a half ago Amiko approached me and said she was going to move on — she’d been working night after night on the line all those years and wanted to retire — and would I be interested in coming down here and taking over? I jumped at the chance. It was a great honor to succeed her and to work with Robert again [owner Robert Butterfield] at a great restaurant that I’d worked at [previously] and put a lot of time into. I thought this would be a good situation to learn more — as a young chef, that’s what I’m interested in, to learn, learn, learn.”
Moore grew up in a large family that enjoyed eating together. He learned to cook alongside his mom, but his first restaurant job as a dishwasher was a total turnoff. “But then I got a job as a prep cook at the Chart House. And it’s hard to say — but just being in the kitchen every day is what brings me back.”
The only “parallel 33” countries that Moore has visited have been China, for a short time, and Thailand (not officially on the menu) for a longer and (of course) enchanting spell. (He’s eaten in Indian restaurants in L.A.) “The most pertinent thing about our food is the culture of the food — understanding why things are done a certain way… Seeing in Thailand how much they honor the food — that’s something that Amiko really instilled in me, to respect the food. That’s one of the main things I try to encompass in the cooking here.
“And again, making it be from San Diego as well. I try to stay away from the [genuinely] authentic — I use authentic ingredients, but I don’t want to make a dish verbatim. Above all, I try to have fun with it. The good thing about this restaurant is there’s endless regions to cook from, so…I can use ingredients that other chefs can’t use, because I can mix Moroccan with Chinese, and even New Orleans. It’s a huge challenge, a struggle, but it keeps me on my toes. I’ll be honest — a lot of stuff has not worked out, but it’s been fun trying.”
Owner Robert Butterfield has given him pretty much free rein to change the menu (but still maintain enough of the regulars’ favorites to keep them happy). “I’ve wanted to change things, I’ve wanted to make this my own food,” he says. “I wanted people to come in here and say there is somebody different back there, not somebody just trying to recreate what this place has been doing. And there’s nothing more rewarding about this job than cooking something that I love and having guests tell me, ‘This is great.’ ”
(Very Good to Excellent)
741 West Washington Street, Mission Hills, 619-260-0033, parallel33sd.com.
HOURS: Monday–Thursday 5:30–10:00 p.m., Friday–Saturday to 11:00 p.m.
PRICES: Starters, $8–$12.75; entrées, $20–$32; desserts about $8.
CUISINE AND BEVERAGES: Globally inspired cuisine touched by the flavors of the world’s warm-temperate zone, including north Africa, the Middle East, India, China, Southeast Asia, Southern California. Interesting international wine list, enough by the glass, with sharply escalating prices but a sufficient number of affordable bottles. Full bar with fun cocktails.
PICK HITS: Aloo ki tikki potato cakes; masoor dal soup; scallops with lentils; Goan shrimp; pomegranate duck breast; date b’stilla, date madeleines. Chef favorite: salmon “Thom Gai.”
NEED TO KNOW: Small restaurant, reservations nearly always necessary. A bit loud when full. Informal atmosphere. Four vegan appetizers, one vegan entrée. New happy hour appetizer menu 5:30–7:00 p.m. nightly. Next-door Blue Lotus Lounge bookable for parties.