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It’s getting to the point where numerous chefs are becoming household names in San Diego. Seeing people care not only about their food, but who makes it, is a good thing. It illustrates a level of recognition that’s as important as understanding ingredients or where they come from, or respecting time-honored dishes along with the regions they hail from and cultures that birthed them.

With recognition of the craftspeople behind the scenes comes the need to keep track of them. From line cooks to head toques, cheffing, in general, is a transient vocation. As someone who keeps an eye on all the comings and goings, just when you think you might have it figured out, a promising sous gets axed or an exec who’s been with the same employer for over a decade gives notice. There’s no way to predict all that will transpire, making constant surveillance absolutely necessary.

I certainly didn’t foresee the latest ripple in the San Diego scene. Chef Lhasa Landry has left The Lion’s Share (629 Kettner Boulevard). It’s a simple sentence with a lot of meaning for those who have followed the short but eventful life of this Marina District eatery. Few new restaurants have garnered as much across-the-board praise from food writers and diners alike as The Lion’s Share, which debuted last December.

Landry sparked initial interest and locked up a regular clientele with her menu of hearty, game meat-inspired fare and thoughtfully composed bar snacks. Dishes like Bourbon-glazed wild boar ribs and buffalo Bolognese with bone marrow kept the place—a gastropub with a craft cocktail bent—packed with District denizens and visitors from parts far and near. It was the kind of early success any new restaurateur and their chef covets. But, in the end, even it wasn’t enough to keep the opening team together.

Landry—a youthful chef with a strong presence; steadfast set of principles; and resume sporting entries from Blanca, Café Chloe, and Starlite—was unable to find common ground with the powers that be behind The Lion’s Share. As a result, she is a free agent and her former right-hand man, Jacob Rodriguez, has taken over the kitchen. He’s no slouch. Another Café Chloe vet, he is more than capable of handling his new responsibilities, and will look to adjust the menu slowly while staying true to dishes and ideologies that made The Lion’s Share such an out-of-the-gates hit.

In addition to the changing of the guard, look for the entire cocktail program to be overhauled. From the get-go, mixed drinks were to be as important as the edibles at The Lion’s Share, but they failed to make anywhere near the splash the food did. Even so, this was my favorite restaurant to open in 2011. With any luck, this hiccup won’t lead to a sophomore slump as they approach the onset of year two.

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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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