Side dish: San Diego welcomes STK

Buzz of The One Group-owned restaurant opening inside the Andaz hotel started surfacing in summer of 2016, and after much delay, the 8,300-square-foot space finally opened just in time to welcome last month’s Comic-Con crowd.

Stop in and you may recognize some familiar faces around the restaurant. General Manager Reggie Robinson previously worked with the RMD Group, most recently with Rustic Root, and is a downtown resident himself. In bringing in a team to launch STK in San Diego, Robinson said it was all about finding locals with high energy to help differentiate the modern steakhouse from others in the market.

“It’s the locals that really develop the buzz,” Robinson said.

And while the servers and bartenders are busy creating a buzzy atmosphere, it’s executive chef Dave Burke who’s putting out the noteworthy food. About 70% of the menu is standard across all STK locations, but Burke gets free rein on the rest.

During its opening weeks, notable local items included a grilled octopus with crushed fingerling potatoes, capers, heirloom tomatoes and a black garlic aioli, as well as a wagyu carpaccio (which is available on all STK menus, but customized by location) with truffle parmesan crisps, capers, purple watercress and Temecula cold-pressed oil.

As for the star dishes — steaks — there are small, medium and large cuts to choose from with some being aged for 35 days for an earthier, nuttier flavor. And, if there’s something you’re craving that’s not on the menu, be sure to ask what specialty items the chef has hiding in his pantry.

At the bar, Robinson has his hands in the cocktail menu, overseen by head bartender Luis Silva, and wine list. STK staples such as the popular Cucumber Stiletto and Strawberry Cobbler top the cocktail list, which mixes in some locally inspired drinks as well. Enjoy half-off drinks during Social Hour from 3:30-6:30 p.m. on weekdays.

While the overall space is adorned with striking STK staples, including accents of purple and a horned art piece displayed on the wall above the bar, the San Diego restaurant welcomes guests to a more casual space that fits with the laid-back local atmosphere. Guests enter the restaurant in the front bistro area, which has high-top tables, exposed brick, industrial accents and lots of natural light during the day.

For more high-end dining, the restaurant’s more softly lit back area is complete with luxurious booths and several private and semi-private spaces, including a luxurious open-ceiling atrium space which can seat up to 50 people or host 75-80 for cocktails.

STK is open 3:30-10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, 3:30-11 p.m. on Friday and 5-11 p.m. on Saturday. On Saturdays and Sundays STK will host a weekend brunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. complete with such cocktails as the Salsa Verde Bloody Mary and dishes like Captain Crunch French Toast or Lobster Shakshuka Eggs.

600 F St., downtown, 619.354.5988, togrp.com/venue/stk-san-diego

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