The Se Hotel is home to one of the most gorgeous restaurant spaces in the city; a two-story venue with downtown views, architectural diversity, and edgy, modern design. However, the hotel's first fine dining establishment, Suite & Tender, just couldn't make it work. Locals were looking for something more approachable, and affordable, when faced with Suite & Tender's fancy décor and pricy surf 'n' turf.
Turning a new page, Saltbox, a Kimpton restaurant, is set to transform the former Suite & Tender space this fall. Saltbox is a New American gastro-lounge under the culinary direction of Executive Chef Simon Dolinky that is slated to open doors on Friday, September 23.
The name Saltbox is said to draw inspiration from the Gaslamp Quarter's urban history; specifically, the pre-frame lumber "saltbox" houses that once occupied the Fifth Avenue space. The interior design will remain high-end, emphasizing sleek, sophisticated comfort, and will seat 175 guests within the spacious dining room, bar and lounge.
What will really bring this old venue new life is Executive Chef Simon Dolinky's New American gastro-lounge menu, featuring versatile shared plates that can be custom ordered larger or smaller, to fit the size of your party. The ingredients-driven "social plates" will be flavorful, simple, playful and fresh, and will all be priced under $25. On the menu, which isn't yet released in full, you can expect to see highlights such as Lobster Corn Dogs with ginger remoulade; Beef Cheek Tacos with snap pea kim chee; and Crispy Fried Asparagus with poached egg and paprika vinaigrette. Before opening Saltbox, Simon Dolinky was chef of BLVD 16 Restaurant at the Hotel Palomar in Los Angeles and sous chef at JSix at Hotel Solamar in San Diego under Christian Graves.
A big draw in the San Diego nightlife scene, Saltbox will also offer an advanced cocktail menu created by in-house Master Mixologist Erin Williams, who hails from the renowned Pegu Club in New York City. The gastro-lounge bar program aims to do for handcrafted cocktails and spirits what the gastro-pub has done for beer in San Diego, and beyond.
Insider Tip: The Se San Diego is soon to become an official Kimpton hotel property as well.