I was in San Diego semi-recently for a work conference and had to take time to give respect to the one of the most magical meals I’ve had to date. We found an amazing restaurant called Herb & Wood in Little Italy and I lost my mind for a few hours as we cruised through 11 courses - split between 4 which I LOVE because I have to try it all!
Upon walking in you’re immediately hit with Great Gatsby and Parisian vibes, plus the buzz of excitement filling the air. It’s LOUD and I LOVE it.
The place used to be an art warehouse before being given new life as a culinary paradise. We sat down and soon caught the attention of the owner of the restaurant who gladly picked out our courses for us! Not only did we enjoy the inside scoop on his favorite dishes, we heard all his inspiration for the details hidden throughout the restaurant.
The plates were all vintage from different stores in his travels, the bar counter was made from volcanic rock, the paintings imported from France… it was all divine in my book.
Here’s the lineup:
My #1: Tuna Tartare, Gochujang, Red Onion, Country Wheat, Rice Pearls
HUGE chunks of tuna with crisp toasted bread, the perfect soft and crunchy combo and very generous portions you rarely find when going out. Will come back for this one!
Roasted Beets, Burrata, Sherry, Walnut Pesto, Jamon Iberico
I love a good beet salad and this one was so juicy and perfectly paired with our tuna appetizer.
Drinks: Bourbon & Rosemary - Orange-Rosemary Infused Old Forester, Sugar, Lemon
Gin & Lavender - Lavender Infused Beefeater, Thyme-Honey Syrup, Lemon, Soda
Strong and complete with adorable straws & herbs for garnish. I always go for a drink with lavender when I see one and this one was the right amount of sweet before the meal. Also the love & care put into this restaurant was visible from the coasters:
Roasted Cauliflower, Garlic, Parsley Vinegar, Mama’s Lil Peppers
Delishious and well seasoned, not life changing but definitely a solid choice.
My #2: THE PARKER ROLLS
Off the menu secret dish the owner clued us into. A southern classic, it tasted like a Hawaiian roll on crack and shining with buttery goodness (I had only a couple bites as to not go too crazy).
My #3: Grilled Venison Loin, Roasted Dates, Sherry, Thyme, California Buttermilk Polenta
The venison topped my list surprisingly and I never order venison! The owner recommended it as a must and with the combo of polenta and dates I DIED. I may be pro-Venison now after this dish as anytime I venison it becomes a special night (or vise versa?).
Roasted Half Chicken, Smokey Braised Kale, Pickled Mustard Seeds, Caper Herb Salsa
Approved by the Italian mama in my group as having the desired balance of crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside. It was yummy and I love the kale as part of the dish.
Roasted Baby Carrots, Cashew Sesame Dukkah, Aleppo Yogurt, Carrot Top Pesto
Baked carrots aren’t done enough and this made me remember how much I love them! GET EM!
Seared Black Cod, Cracked Wheat, Persimmon, Calabrian Chile, Melted Onions
Really good but I honestly can’t remember details as I lost my mind over the other dishes.
Vanilla Crème Torte / House Made Ricotta, Farmer’s Strawberries & Pistachio Gelato
Layer after layer of crepe paired with pistachio gelato was so satisfying. If you get only one dessert, get this. I felt like I was crashing Marie Antointette’s tea party and foaming at the mouth from eating this. I wish more desserts were this precious!
Also when hungry in San Diego I have to mention…
Water Grill: When you’re expensing for work (or treating yourself) you must get a seafood tower and a spicy margarita! Their bread, wedge salad, and Sablefish were also tasty :P
The bathroom also has a perfect selfie ambiance so I had to snap a photo… plus I actually made a friend doing so.
If you know of any San Diego gems - especially in the Taco Department - let me know below! Xoxo