notes from the road: searsucker

Boys and girls, I am in San Diego.

It’s not often I do, but when I get the opportunity, I enjoy coming out here, whether for a day or a week. A change in temperature and pace, and, of course, a different food scene. I don’t think I could live here, but it’s a great for the occasional visit.

My first visit to Searsucker (owned by celebrity Chef Brian Malarkey of Bravo TV’s Top Chef fame) came over a year ago during my first trip to San Diego. Actually, it was on Cinco de Mayo – I was here on my own and was deliberating venturing into the Gaslamp District. I was in a town 15 miles from the Mexican border, what do you think I did?

No, I did not go to Mexico.

I really liked the bar scene. It was my age, locals, tourists, visiting business people. I’ve gone back during follow-up trips to San Diego, and I’ve enjoyed it every time. This Sunday, I took an early morning flight to Cali. I wanted to check out the local brunch scene and, when my hotel room wasn’t ready for me, I ventured down 5th avenue to Searsucker, determined to finally try the food.

In comparison with several places I passed along the way, Searsucker was relatively empty. It is football season, children. I took a seat at the bar and started my show-for-one straightaway.

The Commerative MCA Beastie Bloody was not my speed, at all. I like my bloodys the perfect blend of tomato and spice. Given its menu description of 6 chili infusion, house made bloody, and cucumber, I should have known it would have been more cool beverage and less complex flavor profile. Lesson learned there.

By the way, everyone enjoys a cleverly written menu, myself included, but there comes a point in a person’s life when they feel ridiculous ordering drinks so titled, or the Man-mosa or “pardon me father”. Just a thought.

So what did I order for my San Diego Sunday brunch? I knew I wanted eggs, but I was feeling particularly hungry, so I snuck a look at the sides. How can you put something on the menu called one foot in the grave and expect me not to be curious? I was very curious. The bartender told me it is a potato hashbrown with cheese, sour cream, herbs and fried onions.

Sounds lovely, right? It would go very well with a nice egg dish. Only thing is, this –

is NOT a side. This is a meal for a small army or a dodgeball team. It was delicious and I would have loved to finish it, but it definitely would have put one of my feet in the grave.

Oh, I got that joke.

I also ordered the Searsucker speciality, green eggs and ham – a nestled egg, pork belly, brioche, and herbs.

This, I really enjoyed. The eggs were cooked perfectly, and holy pork belly, Batman. I always find pork belly to be unenjoyably fatty, but this was amazing and had a beautiful sear on it. I wanted more. I would have traded three quarters of my, ahem, one foot in the grave for more pork belly. My only gripe is with the accompanying sauce – I don’t know what it was and it was bit too sweet for my liking. But that pork belly. Oh baby.

I’m not prepared to give the food at Searsucker two thumbs up, gold stars or a glowing recommendation. There were some elements I enjoyed, but I’m still partial to the evening bar scene. Hopefully there will be more trips to San Diego to change my mind.

Searsucker is located at 611 Fifth Avenue in San Diego, on the corner of Market Street.

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