SAN DIEGO — At Currant American Brasserie, chef Geoffrey Yahn manages to please staid San Diegans who are more conservative in taste, but also want some excitement at the table.

“Diners in San Diego are still coming out of their shells when it comes to being adventurous in what they eat,” said Yahn. “They are willing to try new things, but it needs to be done in a way that doesn’t scare them off. At Currant, we start with familiar ingredients, then we push the envelope by adding a twist here and there.”

This story first appeared in the June 25, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

And Currant’s summer menu does just that with such offerings as crab-stuffed squash blossoms, corn custard with porcini cream and English peas, honey mustard Jidori chicken and house-made saffron pappardelle pasta.

When it comes to cocktails, however, the locals are more liberal. Currant’s drink menu includes concoctions such as the Fuggedaboudit, with vodka, basil and a prosciutto-wrapped blue cheese olive, and the Green Teani with jasmine tea, citrus vodka and Grand Marnier.

The restaurant is located in the former Pickwick Hotel, which was built in 1927 and revamped in 2006 and renamed the Sofia.

Currant makes use of its position on the ground floor of a local landmark, sprucing up the hotel’s original columns and checkered tiles with Louis XVI-style sofas, marble-topped tables and vintage chairs lit by chandeliers and mirrored coastal sunlight.

Currant American Brasserie at the Sofia Hotel, 140 West Broadway, San Diego; 619-702-6309.

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