Chad Deal 5:05 p.m., May 23
Two whole months with no new resto debut? It's almost eerie not to see restaurateur partners Brian Malarkey and James Brennan throwing open doors and popping champagne, but very soon, they'll be back to christening new ventures. March 5 will mark the official opening of Gabardine, the latest in the duo's family of material-monikered dining spots. This one will call Point Loma home, focus on seafood, and present it in a myriad of fashions under the oversight of executive chef Chad White.
As reported last month, White made a name for himself in a big way after coming on board last year at North Park's Sea Rocket Bistro (where he's still a partner and oversees kitchen operations at an executive level). He's the county's foremost utilizer of uni (sea urchin roe) and an avid craftsman of seafood dishes ranging from classic to modern to, at times, downright weird. Gabardine, a place to "'GAB' at the 'BAR' and 'DINE'" (kinda clever, I have to admit), should provide this young, whimsical, and experimental chef a nice playground with a variety of tools and plenty of liberty to spread his fins.
The restaurant will serve "Portuguese-esque seafood bar cuisine" from a trio of bars - cold, hot and aged. The cold bar will be visible to guests, who'll be able to watch as chefs shuck oysters, dispatch live uni and prepare whole fish from behind a screened-in porch. A sampling of menu offerings includes live spot prawns with escabeche, scallion-celery salad, and ghost salt; swordfish bone marrow with piri piri (Portuguese hot sauce) and Himalayan sea salt; and black cod "foie gras" (liver) with Port wine and cherries. An aperitif-based cocktail program will be the product of Snake Oil Cocktail Company, who will also craft Gabardine a line of boutique sodas.
A design concept developed by Thomas Schoos, who was also responsible for the interiors at Malarkey and Brennan's Searsucker (downtown) and Burlap (Del Mar Highlands) will feature raw woods, a stone-topped bar, peppermint-striped seat cushions, and an old barn ceiling. There will also be round communal tables with holes cut in the middle to catch discarded shellfish debris, and lobster tanks serving as bases for benches. For more information, visit the restaurant-to-be's website. Gabardine will be located at 1005 Rosecrans Street.