Pop up restaurants are here today and gone tomorrow. That’s because these eateries are designed for a limited run that allows chefs to flex their creative muscles and push the culinary envelope.
Did you see last week’s ‘restaurant wars’ episode of Top Chef All Stars? The cheftestants were challenged to create a pop-up restaurant and the guest judge was none other than Ludo Lefebvre. He’s the trendsetting chef behind LA’s famous Ludo Bites pop-up restaurants.
Now, San Diego is getting it’s first-ever pop up with Relate opening for dinner Tuesdays through Saturdays February 3-26 at Bistro St. Germain’s in Encinitas. When the popular breakfast/lunch spot closes each afternoon, Chef Dan Moody will take the reins and the restaurant will undergo a complete transformation – with new art on the walls, different table settings and music to set the mood – becoming a fine dining experience for dinner service.
Moody earned his pop-up stripes serving as sous chef for Lefebvre at Ludo Bites so he’s no stranger to the challenge. I caught up with the chef and asked him why he chose to launch this pop up in San Diego.
He said “My parents moved to San Diego my senior year of high school, and I graduated from Torrey Pines High School. While I didn’t grow up in San Diego, I’ve considered it home since my family moved 13 years ago. I felt more at home in San Diego than I ever did in the LA area, even though that is where I spent the majority of my childhood years. I love San Diego, it’s a great city with great people. Of course, the most important people to me are in San Diego: my immediate family. With a great support network in one of the country’s finest cities…why not San Diego?”
He went on to say “I think San Diego is due for something like this in the dining scene. Many of the comments from the online reservations are not comments about food preferences or dining needs, but words of encouragement and thanks for doing this in San Diego. Comments like that just help to confirm my suspicions that the San Diego market is ready for a pop-up concept.”
Think you are ready to check it out for yourself?
Moody is developing a menu for Relate that will weave contemporary French with down-home American cuisine in dishes like roasted baby beet salad with yam and Rainier cherry puree, shaved baby fennel, citrus, cinnamon and lavender; butter poached lobster, leeks, tarragon lobster oil, onion froth, beet chip and fennel jam; and spiced beef with spinach-avocado puree, crispy truffle spaetzle and Guinness gastrique.
Diners who pop in can enjoy a prix fixe menu that changes from day to day and is priced around $50 per person. Wine and craft beer pairings will be available as well.
Since Relate will only be open for 3 weeks, if you want to sample this culinary trend, you need to hustle and make reservations as they are sure to fill up quickly. To secure your seats at the table, visit www.relaterestaurant.com or call 858-367-3709.
For more San Diego dining dish, follow Kate on Twitter @katebuska.