Walter Mencken 11 a.m., May 24
The runaway restaurateur
Restaurateur Philippe Beltran, having run away from La Vache and Voyage and then Vagabond, has now run away from his greatest runaway success, Bleu Boheme. (Just before the recession struck, he had plans to expand with two more restaurants, but none of that happened, nor is likely to happen.) Future unknown, like a rollin' stone. A world traveller, he probably was just seized by wanderlust again.
Taking the reins at Bleu-B is Ken Irvine, formerly of Chez Loma in Point Loma, who ran away himself a few years ago, and now is back.. I wonder if I need to be as discreet in a blog as in a review, hmmm? First time I ate at Chez Loma, April 2000, I was shocked to find "stinky mussels" on my plate. (Live mussels continue to excrete, peeing on themselves and, depending on storage-style, on their buddies. When mussels are kept too long it really builds up to a powerful foul odor and unhealthy eating-- shocking that the cooks couldn't smell it as they cooked the beasts and dump them in the garbage as they deserved! But maybe Ken had warned them not to waste food, think of the starving children in Africa who would love to eat stinky mussels if they could have them.) And about five years later I ate there during one of the "Chef Celebration" dinners and was served rancid olive oil in the bagna. Asked for butter instead, and the snooty-pants waiter brought a hunk of some sort of frozen meat-grease (probably frozen for future disposal.)
So needless to say I don't have high hopes, but then I was disappointed with Bleu's food in the first place. But the bar scene will no doubt keep it alive.