FOODfare: BO-beau kitchen + bar
SAN DIEGO (January 06, 2011) – Born and raised in France by an Italian mother and a Spanish father, Philippe Beltran is acutely in tune with the aesthetics of the Mediterranean as well as the solid heartbeat thumping away beneath its surface. He has successfully delivered tastes of his heritage via the design of popular local eateries including Bleu Bohème in Kensington and South Park’s Vagabond, both of which have been praised for their interior design and attention to detail and regional authenticity. Last year, when David Cohn, the head of San Diego’s Cohn Restaurant Group had a brainstorm to build a haven for all things Mediterranean as the latest addition to his eatery empire, he wasted no time getting in touch with the one craftsman he knew he could count on to turn his vision into a reality. The result of this dynamic duo’s collaboration is BO-beau kitchen + bar.
BO-beau kitchen + bar’s interior.
Built in the Ocean Beach space formerly occupied by the Thee Bungalow, BO-beau pays homage to that venerable eatery courtesy of French menu mainstays while simultaneously bidding adieu to its somewhat stuffy “special occasion” vibe. What was once a dimly lit bastion for old World French pretention (something that, frankly, always seemed a bit out of place in a space bordered by the parking lot of an athletic field) is now a Bohemian chic refuge offering several distinctly different dining experiences, from al fresca dining on a patio equipped with San Diego’s only outdoor pizza oven, to bites at the bar accompanied by a view of a bustling open kitchen, or traditional dinner service in the formal dining room, or a candlelit nook nestled in the restaurant’s northwest corner.
No matter where patrons choose to dine, the entire menu is available to them. It’s a bill of fare that includes French classics such as house-made pâtés and other forms of charcuterie, plus classics like butter-poached escargots, Croque Madame, Chicken Fricassé and Boeuf Bourguignon. Past that, the remainder of the menu, developed by chef Katherine Humphus (whose résumé includes time logged at The French Laundry in Napa Valley and NYC’s WD-50), mostly leans on French technique in the preparation of ingredients common to Spain and Italy. Such ingredients make sense for San Diego, which possesses a climate that’s perfect for fostering the development of fruits, vegetables and herbs found in countries situated along the Mediterranean Sea. Among Humphus’ offerings are several regionally inspired versions of mussels and fries (moules and frites), house-made pastas (including a seemingly mandatory mac ‘n’ cheese that’s made unique courtesy of leek “fondue”) and salmon with an arugula-pesto gremolata. And, of course, an assortment of flatbreads from the pizza oven, such as a five cheese variety with chorizo and Serrano ham and roasted beets with brie and curry onion marmalade.
BO-beau’s cuisine, with its firm Old World footing and pronouncedly modern American approach, match the mix of contemporary furniture and antiques (procured during Beltran’s travels) that define its interior aesthetic. From the moment one enters, it’s clear that a great deal of time and attention went into creating a warming environment that’s as well-suited for an evening of wine on the patio with friends or a romantic evening out with that special someone. And with a menu where all of the offerings chime in at under $20, either experience is sure to be an affordable one.