Published on February 11th, 2013 | by James Miyazawa1
Lunch at Searsucker: The Little Sister You Should Meet
Searsucker Restaurant Review
You’ve eaten dinner at Searsucker, so you know what it’s like. In addition to undeniably delicious food, you get something else: Crowds. Noise. More crowds. More noise. Parking problems. (Did I mention the crowds? The noise?) I happen to love high-energy, packed-to-the-gills dinner joints, but I understand some people don’t. For those of you who just want a really good plate of food without a lot of hassle, allow me to introduce you to Searsucker’s wall-flower little sister: lunch.
After gazing at the menu board above the hosting stand (consult the paper version if your eyesight fails), you place and pay for your order with one of the friendly hosts, take your number and seat yourself. As you settle in, you’ll notice a couple of things: The large windows along Fifth Avenue bathe the place in sunlight, and you appreciate the gorgeousness of the interior in a way you can’t at dinner. The other thing you’ll notice is how quiet and relaxed the place is. No throngs of drinkers spilling from the bar into the dining area, no rope line – just hungry diners enjoying their food. At the risk of coining a trite phrase, it literally is the difference between night and day.
Fortunately, one thing that stays consistent from dinner to lunch is the quality of the food. The menu consists almost entirely of sandwiches and salads, but this ain’t no deli. The albacore sandwich on ciabatta is no mere tuna sandwich: perfectly seared tuna, lettuce, tomato, capers, olives and a tarragon aioli that’s really a sandwich version of a Salade Nicoise. It works beautifully. The chew of the ciabatta contrasts with the silkiness of the rare tuna and the capers and olives provide a sharp, briny counterpoint to the richness of the aioli. The Triple C sandwich, served on a soft brioche roll, is a crabcake sandwich with fried onions, avocado and thick bacon. It’s a study in both richness and contrast: the soft crab cake against crispy onions, the salty bacon against the sweetness of the avocado and the crab – this may be the most delicious, screw-the-diet indulgence you’ll have all year. All sandwiches are served with a small salad of fresh Mesclun greens, dressed minimally (but sufficiently) with a Champagne vinaigrette.
For an extra $3, you can – and should – add a side of brown butter fries, which are the less-ambitious-but-no-less-delicious version of the duck fat fries offered at dinner. They’re crisp on the outside, creamy on the inside, salted to perfection and served with a tomato relish that’s more marinara than ketchup. You won’t be able to stop eating them.
The Bottom Line
If you’ve been wanting to try Searsucker but don’t love crowds, or are otherwise wary of restaurants that are actually restaurant-nightclub hybrids, lunch at Searsucker is for you. Just don’t expect a productive afternoon at the office when you’re done.
611 Fifth Avenue (at G Street)
San Diego, CA 92101
Lunch: Mon-Fri, 11:30am – 2pm
Dinner: Sun-Thurs, 5:30 – 10pm, Fri & Sat, 5:30 – 11pm