By Frank Sabatini Jr.
Say goodbye to Urban Solace’s long-established favorites such as chicken and dumplings, duckaroni, and braised beef cheeks. The 11-year-old restaurant, which brought comfort food to North Park before the concept was trendy, is redirecting its culinary approach.
Starting shortly after New Year’s Day, chef-owner Matt Gordon will thoroughly revise the menu with a variety of small plates and share dishes. They’ll complement an enhanced wine and cocktail program.
Gordon says the incarnation will be called Bar Solace to “reflect a more casual style of evening dining.” The menu will feature dishes that are more internationally inspired.
In the meantime, Gordon recently added breakfast and lunch, which runs from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., daily. Dishes include skillet pecan sticky buns, orange mascarpone French toast, various egg scrambles, warm spinach salad, and more. And for those who have come to savor the restaurant’s bluegrass brunch over the years (10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sundays), that will remain intact. 3823 30th St., 619-295-6464, urbansolace.net.
Faux clouds hovering over the central seating area and an apothecary stocked with exotic herbs and tonics are among the intriguing elements defining a speakeasy that’s due to launch in the Convoy district in early December.
Known as Realm of the 52 Remedies, its obscure entrance is located inside Common Theory Public House, a popular restaurant and craft beer bar that opened a couple years ago.
Cris Liang, who co-owns both businesses, brought in renowned, local designer Michael Soriano to create the 1920s-style speakeasy, which is punctuated by Asian elements such as flickering lanterns and a back-lit jade bar. Soriano has created eye-catching environments for a number of eating and drinking establishment that include Dunedin New Zealand Eats in North Park, Uptown Tavern in Hillcrest, and Vin de Syrah in the Gaslamp Quarter.
“The environment and menu selections will keep guests mystified with surprises and new discoveries no matter how many times they visit,” Liang said in a press release.
The offerings will include small plates and cocktails inspired by flavors and ingredients of the Far East. 4805 Convoy St., 619-535-0118, 52remedies.com.
Fast food alert: KFC is trying its hands on a dish that never falls out of vogue — chicken and waffles. The company launched the famous pairing on Nov. 12 at all locations nationally, but for only a limited time. According to an employee at the North Park location (2829 University Ave.), the promotion will stick around until Dec. 31, or possibly a little later.
The waffles are made with pearl sugar imported from Belgium. They’re paired with a choice of two crispy bone-in pieces of chicken (thigh and drum stick), or three chicken tenders or one bone-in breast piece. The cost for any option is $5.49, which includes a side of Mrs. Butterworth’s syrup. kfc.com.
A slice of The Big Easy is rolling into North Park with the early-2019 arrival of Louisiana Purchase by San Diego’s Grind & Prosper Hospitality restaurant group (Miss B’s Coconut Club and Park 101).
As part of a modern residential loft building called The Louisiana, the courtyard-style venue will offer NOLA-inspired dishes by Chef Quinnton Austin, a New Orleans transplant who will raise the momentum with dishes like alligator cheesecake in crawfish cream sauce, Southern barbecue shrimp, sweet potato cornbread, and more. 2035 University Ave., louisianapurchasesd.com.
—Frank Sabatini Jr. can be reached at email@example.com.