Our third day in San Diego started with back-to-back conference sessions. Changing rooms each time, we were catching glimpses of the California sunshine, so by lunch time we were anxious to get outside for a bit. We ditched the conference lunch coupon ($15 of fast food, ugh) in favor of walking over to 5th Ave in the Gaslamp, and had our sights set on Searsucker. Though we’d already stopped in there on Sunday evening, it was only for an appetizer, and we’d heard good things about the food so we thought lunch here would be a great option.
Searsucker’s chef, Brian Malarkey (Top Chef, season 3), describes the food there as “New American Classic”, which I wouldn’t disagree with given what we tasted. I ordered the French dip sandwich, something I would almost never select but this had a twist that caught my eye: rather than roast beef, it was made with braised short rib. Add to that carmelized onions and aged cheddar, and I was in heaven. Each bite was decadent, messy and delicious. All sandwiches are served with a side of greens, very lightly dressed in olive oil with a drizzle of really good balsamic vinegar, and a spear of habanero pickle which was a tremendous foil for the very rich sandwich.
After finding out his first choice (lamb) was unavailable, Rob went with the “triple ‘c'”, a crabcake sandwich topped with avocado, bacon, crispy onions, arugula and lemon aioli. I’m not sure why it’s called “triple ‘c'”, but Rob reported that the crabcake was excellent, very meaty with crab and little filler. He loved the lemony aioli on it.
Despite this being a fairly high-end restaurant, Searsucker’s weekday lunch is a very casual affair, where you order and pre-pay at the hostess stand, grab a table wherever you like (we chose outside, of course) and your food and drinks are brought to you. Service was prompt and pleasant, and a carafe of water was brought without asking as well. Although this type of casual, order-and-sit service might seem odd, I think they’re aiming for the professional downtown lunch crowd that needs to get back to work within an hour. Prices are very reasonable as well, with our sandwiches only $12 each.
Of course, we didn’t have the same time constraint, so we were able to sit in the sun just a bit longer before heading back to the conference in the afternoon. Which is how we caught this unusual sight of a pot-bellied pig walking/being walked by a small dog…