By Frank Sabatini Jr.
The recent appointment of Tony Guan as executive chef at UnderBelly in North Park and Little Italy will herald the arrival of several new menu items due to roll out in mid-February.
They include Thai red curry ramen, kimchi gyu-don rice bowls and coconut mochi. Guan is a graduate of the Art Institute of California – San Diego, and previously worked at Cork & Craft as sous chef. 3000 Upas St., and 750 W. Fir St., godblessunderbelly.com.
A new dessert café in North Park featuring crème brulee, tiramisu, Boston cream cake, bread pudding and more has moved into the address that previously housed Heaven Sent Desserts.
Named Figaro, the venture was recently launched by first-time restaurateur Ivo Palazov and his parents. All of the desserts are made in an off-site kitchen. The offerings also include gelato in 18 flavors and coffee drinks using beans from nearby Caffe Calabria.
Palazov said crepes, beer and wine will be eventually added to the menu. 3011 University Ave., 619-241-2976.
Look for local chocolatier Will Gustwiller in an episode of “Guy’s Grocery Games” airing Feb. 12 on the Food Network as he vies for up to $20,000 in a cook-off of sweet and savory dishes using chocolate.
Gustwiller, who owns Eclipse Chocolate in South Park, competed with three other contestants in the segment, which was filmed late last year in Santa Rosa, California.
The outcome remains a secret until the episode airs. For its replay on Feb. 18, Gustwiller will present at Eclipse a multi-course tasting of the dishes he made on the show, at 5 and 8 p.m. The cost is $40 per person. 2145 Fern St., 619-578-2984, eclipsechocolate.com.
A fifth location of Breakfast Republic is hitting the San Diego landscape in April — this time in Ocean Beach and in partnership with Cohn Restaurant Group, which designated for the popular establishment a second-floor space within its recently shuttered OB Warehouse. (The ground level will make way for Coin Haus, a Cohn venture tailored after the one in La Mesa.)
Breakfast Republic’s original location in North Park has spawned others in Liberty Station, Encinitas, and most recently, in the East Village. 4839 Newport Ave., breakfastrepublic.com.
Delayed by construction issues until recently, the Latin-inspired Tamarindo in North Park is set to open in the week of Feb. 20, said Steve Blasingham, managing partner of Moose Restaurant Group, which also owns Fred’s Mexican Café.
Former home to the Claire de Lune Coffee Lounge, the 1929 building is still undergoing a full remodel as a menu of Mexican, Peruvian, Costa Rican and Cuban dishes is finalized.
Helming the kitchen is executive chef and partner Bill Sauer, who worked at Delicias in Rancho Santa Fe, and Elliott Townsend, previously with Juniper & Ivy, the Pearl Hotel and George’s at the Cove.
Sauer said all of the dishes will cost under $10. For updates, visit “Tamarindo North Park” on Facebook. 2906 University Ave.
After a lengthy closure, the original location of Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza & Grill in La Jolla has reopened after enduring extensive damage from a fire in 2015. The restaurant was launched in 1989 by founder Sam Ladeki. It kick-started more than a dozen other locations throughout California and Nevada.
The remodel pays homage to the restaurant’s original design with a color scheme of earth tones and bright coral accents. New menu items include roasted mushroom pizza and spicy chicken angel hair pasta. 702 Pearl St., 858-456-5222, sammyspizza.com.
Lauded for its gourmet donuts and fried chicken, Streetcar Merchants plans to open a third San Diego location in the Gaslamp Quarter by early summer.
Co-owner Ron Suel told Downtown News the menu will feature “soulful” wraps and burritos, some containing collard greens and red beans, and that he might also introduce seafood options that could include fried catfish.
In addition, the space (previously a short-lived Chinese bistro) will offer a full bar featuring New Orleans-inspired cocktails.
Streetcar’s original location is in North Park, and it recently ventured into La Jolla with a larger dining room and enhanced menu.
“It’s been part of our strategic goal to go into the Gaslamp. This will be our urban version, with counter service during the day and wait service in the evening,” he said, adding that the kitchen will stay open until 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. 751 Fourth Ave., streetcarmerchants.com.
—Frank Sabatini Jr. can be reached at email@example.com.