Barnaby Monk 5 a.m., July 30
There's good news and bad news.
Bad: If your "three little piggies" dish at Tre Porcellini didn't taste quite as good as you'd remembered from last time, it may be because chef Gerbino has gone back to Il Fornaio. No word yet on who's the new executive chef.
Good: Jason McLeod earned two Michelin stars at Chicago's RIA restaurant last year. He's been consulting at the Sky Room of La Valencia in La Jolla. Now, he may take over the Sky Room entirely. Seems like a very good idea. For what you have to pay at the Sky Room, however gorgeous it is, you should get food equal to the views.
Better:: Rene Herbeck, one of the hottest chefs in town twelve years ago (at the long-closed Marius on Coronado Island) is now wearing top toque at the new Au Revoir in Hillcrest at the former site of La Vache, owned by the Arriverderci people. Herbeck has had a long, difficult journey after Marius -- first, a brilliant short-lived restaurant in Encinitas Lumberyard under an owner who was thoroughly disliked in that foodie town, Then he and Amiko Gubbins hooked up romantically and professionally and he worked at her Parallel 33 in Mission Hills. She eventually ran off to cook for a rock star, and Herbeck landed at Bleu Boheme, cooking French bourgeois dishes (Julia Child, volume I) for owner Philippe Beltran. Beltran recently sold that restaurant to Ken Irvine (former chef-owner of several Coronado restaurants,most notably Chez Loma), I'm hoping that the Arriverderci folks let Rene be Rene again. He made the best molten chocolate cake of all time in Encinitas.
Best: Sea Rocket Bistro in North Park has a new executive chef-partner in Chad White, formerly of Roseville. He was horrified by the crudeness of the existing menu. No more big hunks of protein and mashed potatoes. He's planning a French-Mediterranean menu, and plenty of sashimii of local fish (hooray!). Now, let's hope his awesome presence will lower the noise level there.