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Subtle sweet smoke

Fireside by the Patio comes to Liberty Station

Almost everything on the menu contains at least one ingredient that’s spent time on the fire.
Almost everything on the menu contains at least one ingredient that’s spent time on the fire.
Place

Fireside by the Patio

2855 Perry Road, Building 8, San Diego

I lurked for months, surveying the perpetual construction and interminable delays that come with opening a new restaurant in San Diego. I watched in anticipation while huge wood burning grills were installed. I speculated endlessly about the menu when I heard that Chef Antonio Friscia (Stingaree Nightclub & Guest House, Gaijin Noodle & Sake House, Don Chido, Rustic Root) would be at the helm in the kitchen. As a big fan of both Chef Friscia and the Patio Group, was I setting my expectations for the newly opened Fireside by the Patio in Liberty Station too high?

Fireside by the Patio

I’ve been there twice now, and the answer is “no.” First off, it’s beautiful. The majority of the dining area is outside, cleverly combining areas of intimate banquettes with long, gorgeous wood tables suitable for large groups or communal dining. The indoor bar takes up one entire wall, the towering ceilings softened by big manzanita branches strung in tiny white lights. At the far end of the bar doors open to yet another outdoor area. This one has tons of bar space, cozy booths, comfy sofas, and wide weathered lawn chairs.

Marinated goat cheese

Those wood burning grills get put to good use — almost everything on the menu contains at least one ingredient that’s spent time on the fire. Take my cocktail, called Not Your Grand Pappy’s Gibson. Orange peels are flamed and then infused into London dry gin, providing a heady sweet orange aroma to balance the herbal bite of the gin. The house-pickled onion was a tangy, juicy finish. House-made goat cheese from locally sourced milk and marinated in olive oil and herbes de Provence was a perfect accompaniment.

Pork belly and kimchi yakitori

Chef Friscia’s long time right-hand woman, Fern Tran, presides over the yakitori bar, serving up skewers of plump chicken thigh, smoky king trumpet mushrooms, or miniature roulades of thinly sliced pork belly rolled around house made kimchi, basted and charred. Succulent pork belly also gets a turned up buffalo-style treatment. Crispy squares bathe in a swirl of blue cheese vinaigrette under a topping of pickled sliced celery and julienned carrot. Different and delicious.

Smoked bone marrow, sun-dried tomato chimichurri, malted brown bread

Check the blackboard for the daily specials, served after 4:30 p.m.: slow-cooked meats sold by the half pound. Using red oak instead of hickory or mesquite gives a subtly sweet smoky essence. “We aren’t after a heavy smoke like a Texas barbecue here. We wanted something lighter to highlight the meat’s flavor,” explains Friscia. The espresso rubbed brisket was moist and melt-in-your-mouth tender, not mushy. A daily special of smoked bone marrow drizzled with sun-dried tomato chimichurri was delectable on hearty malted brown toast.

Cornbread, chicken yakitori, Peruvian potato, charred green bean salad

Sides are thoughtfully done. Cheddar cornbread and orange-mascarpone butter is a natural alongside smoked meats. Peruvian potatoes pair with charred green beans for a sophisticated twist on plain old potato salad. Smoked tomatoes sweeten braised collard greens, and the leftovers make a fine frittata the next morning.

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Almost everything on the menu contains at least one ingredient that’s spent time on the fire.
Almost everything on the menu contains at least one ingredient that’s spent time on the fire.
Place

Fireside by the Patio

2855 Perry Road, Building 8, San Diego

I lurked for months, surveying the perpetual construction and interminable delays that come with opening a new restaurant in San Diego. I watched in anticipation while huge wood burning grills were installed. I speculated endlessly about the menu when I heard that Chef Antonio Friscia (Stingaree Nightclub & Guest House, Gaijin Noodle & Sake House, Don Chido, Rustic Root) would be at the helm in the kitchen. As a big fan of both Chef Friscia and the Patio Group, was I setting my expectations for the newly opened Fireside by the Patio in Liberty Station too high?

Fireside by the Patio

I’ve been there twice now, and the answer is “no.” First off, it’s beautiful. The majority of the dining area is outside, cleverly combining areas of intimate banquettes with long, gorgeous wood tables suitable for large groups or communal dining. The indoor bar takes up one entire wall, the towering ceilings softened by big manzanita branches strung in tiny white lights. At the far end of the bar doors open to yet another outdoor area. This one has tons of bar space, cozy booths, comfy sofas, and wide weathered lawn chairs.

Marinated goat cheese

Those wood burning grills get put to good use — almost everything on the menu contains at least one ingredient that’s spent time on the fire. Take my cocktail, called Not Your Grand Pappy’s Gibson. Orange peels are flamed and then infused into London dry gin, providing a heady sweet orange aroma to balance the herbal bite of the gin. The house-pickled onion was a tangy, juicy finish. House-made goat cheese from locally sourced milk and marinated in olive oil and herbes de Provence was a perfect accompaniment.

Pork belly and kimchi yakitori

Chef Friscia’s long time right-hand woman, Fern Tran, presides over the yakitori bar, serving up skewers of plump chicken thigh, smoky king trumpet mushrooms, or miniature roulades of thinly sliced pork belly rolled around house made kimchi, basted and charred. Succulent pork belly also gets a turned up buffalo-style treatment. Crispy squares bathe in a swirl of blue cheese vinaigrette under a topping of pickled sliced celery and julienned carrot. Different and delicious.

Smoked bone marrow, sun-dried tomato chimichurri, malted brown bread

Check the blackboard for the daily specials, served after 4:30 p.m.: slow-cooked meats sold by the half pound. Using red oak instead of hickory or mesquite gives a subtly sweet smoky essence. “We aren’t after a heavy smoke like a Texas barbecue here. We wanted something lighter to highlight the meat’s flavor,” explains Friscia. The espresso rubbed brisket was moist and melt-in-your-mouth tender, not mushy. A daily special of smoked bone marrow drizzled with sun-dried tomato chimichurri was delectable on hearty malted brown toast.

Cornbread, chicken yakitori, Peruvian potato, charred green bean salad

Sides are thoughtfully done. Cheddar cornbread and orange-mascarpone butter is a natural alongside smoked meats. Peruvian potatoes pair with charred green beans for a sophisticated twist on plain old potato salad. Smoked tomatoes sweeten braised collard greens, and the leftovers make a fine frittata the next morning.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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