By Brandon Hernandez
(Published in the June 2010 issue)
When local chefs are asked which San Diego chef they admire most, the majority of them respond with the same answer-Carl Schroeder.
A native La Jollan, Schroeder graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, before cutting his teeth under renowned chef Michael Mina in San Francisco. When the time was right, he returned to his home town where he quickly made a name for himself at Carmel Valley's Arterra before opening his award-winning flagship MARKET Restaurant + Bar in Del Mar.
Still, it takes a lot more than schooling and success to become so unilaterally respected by contemporaries who, in the über-competitive restaurant industry, are equal parts trueblue colleague and all-out rival. It's Schroeder's monk-like purism-staying true to the natural flavors of his farm-fresh ingredients and the classic cooking methods he employs when preparing them-that prompts fellow chefs to tip their toques.
In short, it's all about the food, and so is Schroeder's latest venture, BANKERS HILL Bar + Restaurant. Built to showcase Schroeder's food and talents via casual, affordable dishes that match his cozy new digs, Bankers Hill's new namesake eatery is the type of laidback neighborhood spot San Diegans can enjoy on a daily basis.
Despite the difference in mood and price point as compared to the upscale MARKET, the menu is completely in line with Schroeder's farm-to-table fanaticism. Everything from burgers and pasta to short ribs and even tacos are enhanced by the addition of garden fresh herbs and vegetables, bright splashes of citrus and an array of quality cheeses.
Salads are also standouts, which is in no way surprising considering Schroeder's long-standing love affair with gardens and local farms.
"It's very low-key, unpretentious and fun, a restaurant for everyone and anyone," says co-owner Terryl Gavre, who serves as Schroeder's front-of-house counterpart at MARKET and also owns downtown's Cafe 222.
"Carl put together the menu, picking the types of dishes that he likes to eat after work-well executed casual fare."
While the urban combo-restaurant/bar specializing in American comfort classics is the concept du jour, Schroeder is the first established and highly-acclaimed local chef to put his signature and unique twist on this trendy model.
Only a few weeks into BANKERS HILL's existence, locals are already packing the place. They must agree with what Gavre deems the most exciting aspect of the spot's hitting the scene-"Eating Carl's cooking on a daily basis."
Dishes You Can
BANKERS HILL menu items that have
fared well straight out of the gate
• Deviled Farmer's Market Eggs
with Bacon and Shoestring
• Lemon Potato Chips with
Herbed Buttermilk Dip
• Mussels and Andouille
Sausage with Peppers and
• Braised Chicken
Pappardelle with Caramelized
Carrots and Pinot Noir Sauce
• Duck Confit with Red
Potatoes, Grain Mustard
Vinaigrette and Mustarda
• BBQ Pork Tacos with Pepper Jack,
Avocado and Lime Sour Cream
BANKERS HILL Bar + Restaurant
2202 Fourth Ave. | Bankers Hill
619.231.0222 | bankershillsd.com