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A top chef opened a lunch counter

Some have waited for an elevated tuna melt for a lifetime

Bánh Mì, sitting pretty
Bánh Mì, sitting pretty
Place

Herb & Wood

2210 Kettner Boulevard, San Diego

When Brian Malarkey opened Herb & Wood this summer, its wood-fired cuisine and killer ingredients instantly put it on the shortlist of restaurants I want to dine at on special occasions. But I can’t afford a lot of special occasions. What I can often afford is a reasonably good lunch.

That’s why Herb & Eatery hit my sweet spot. Part-deli counter, part grab-and-go market, this is the casual counterpart to Herb & Wood that faces Kettner Boulevard with — at least the day I visited — a unicorn statue out front.

No word on whether the unicorn is here to stay.

There are sausages and ice cream in the cold case, plus freshly squeezed orange juice, cold-brew coffee, beer, and other beverages. In time a lot of other items are to be added, including pâté. Still, there was chicken liver on the bánh mì I ordered for lunch, and it was good enough that I’d pick some up to take home. Same with the flattened chicken sausage topping the sandwich alongside julienned papaya and pickled carrots, adding refreshing acidity to the earthy spiced fowl parts.

A classy looking marketplace attached to an upscale restaurant

I split it with a friend for a listed price of $11.47. We decided to even things out by also splitting an olive poached tuna melt for $12.13. I don’t know what the odd number pricing is about, but I like the price for the quality being offered.

This may be the tuna melt you’ve been waiting for

Like the bánh mì, the tuna melt started with beautifully textured fresh bread, though here the baguette is traded for parmesan-olive focaccia. As I ate it I realized that part of me has been waiting my whole life for an elevated tuna melt to come along. I’ve eaten too many out of the can to expect the lightness of this fish, in a creamy sauce, punctuated by capers.

Herb & Eatery also offers custom salads featuring the likes of roasted grapes, cauliflower ceviche, and smoked trout. But either of these sandwiches is satisfying enough to win me over, and I haven’t even got to the pastrami, fried chicken, and breakfast sandwiches. Literally, a top chef opened a lunch counter that serves a thoughtful take of all my favorites. I won’t be waiting for anyone’s birthday to go back.

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Bánh Mì, sitting pretty
Bánh Mì, sitting pretty
Place

Herb & Wood

2210 Kettner Boulevard, San Diego

When Brian Malarkey opened Herb & Wood this summer, its wood-fired cuisine and killer ingredients instantly put it on the shortlist of restaurants I want to dine at on special occasions. But I can’t afford a lot of special occasions. What I can often afford is a reasonably good lunch.

That’s why Herb & Eatery hit my sweet spot. Part-deli counter, part grab-and-go market, this is the casual counterpart to Herb & Wood that faces Kettner Boulevard with — at least the day I visited — a unicorn statue out front.

No word on whether the unicorn is here to stay.

There are sausages and ice cream in the cold case, plus freshly squeezed orange juice, cold-brew coffee, beer, and other beverages. In time a lot of other items are to be added, including pâté. Still, there was chicken liver on the bánh mì I ordered for lunch, and it was good enough that I’d pick some up to take home. Same with the flattened chicken sausage topping the sandwich alongside julienned papaya and pickled carrots, adding refreshing acidity to the earthy spiced fowl parts.

A classy looking marketplace attached to an upscale restaurant

I split it with a friend for a listed price of $11.47. We decided to even things out by also splitting an olive poached tuna melt for $12.13. I don’t know what the odd number pricing is about, but I like the price for the quality being offered.

This may be the tuna melt you’ve been waiting for

Like the bánh mì, the tuna melt started with beautifully textured fresh bread, though here the baguette is traded for parmesan-olive focaccia. As I ate it I realized that part of me has been waiting my whole life for an elevated tuna melt to come along. I’ve eaten too many out of the can to expect the lightness of this fish, in a creamy sauce, punctuated by capers.

Herb & Eatery also offers custom salads featuring the likes of roasted grapes, cauliflower ceviche, and smoked trout. But either of these sandwiches is satisfying enough to win me over, and I haven’t even got to the pastrami, fried chicken, and breakfast sandwiches. Literally, a top chef opened a lunch counter that serves a thoughtful take of all my favorites. I won’t be waiting for anyone’s birthday to go back.

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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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