The Scoop: 7 bites of restaurant news in April

Chew on this month's top restaurant openings, including Curadero, Loading Dock, and Pokewan in North County. 

Curadero opened its doors on April 4. Housed in the space formerly occupied by Saltbox in downtown's Hotel Palomar, the coastal Mexican kitchen features a south-of-the-border vibe with bright murals, colorful tiles and mixed metal lighting. The restaurant offers dishes like Aguachile Verde, made with shrimp, cucumber, marinated red onions and lemon oil; Pozole, made with pork broth, hominy, lettuce, radish, oregano and salsa roja; and Grilled and Thinly Sliced Carne Asada Sirloin. The bar offers more than 80 premium tequilas and other Mexican spirits like mezcal, bacanora and sotol. Breakfast is also served with selections like Canasta de Pan with Mexican whipped spiced ricotta and house-made pastries. 1047 Fifth Ave., San Diego. 619.515.3003 or curadero.com

Bibigo Fresh Korean Kitchen is the latest addition to Westfield UTC University Town Center. Derived from the Korean phrase bi-bi-da (to mix) combined with "to-go"; its menu centers around bibimbap, a classic Korean rice bowl traditionally topped with vegetables, Korean barbecue beef and egg. Diners can customize their bowls from the many options available on the menu. 4545 La Jolla Village Drive, San Diego. 858.291.8311 or bibigousa.com

Pokewan opened its doors in North County. The build-your-own poke bowl restaurant offers guests a taste of Hawaii with flavors that appeal to both poke traditionalists and non-traditionalists alike. Signature poke bowls are also offered, as well as mini-Spam musubi, a popular Hawaiian lunch and snack food, made with a slice of grilled Spam on top of a block of rice, wrapped together with nori (edible seaweed). End your meal with the Jolly Cane, a puffed corn ice cream cone filled with vanilla ice cream in an array of colors. 2958 Madison St., No. 101, Carlsbad. 760.720.2300

Loading Dock is Little Italy's newest bar and grill. The casual, family-owned eatery offers craft beers, a varied wine list, soju cocktails and a menu with barbecue fare featuring an ever-changing list of special dishes. Upgrades include TVs for sports viewing, an open dining area, an event center for private parties, a photo booth and recreational games like ping pong and corn toss. 2400 Kettner Blvd., San Diego. 619.255.7885 or liloadingdock.com

Pappalecco is celebrating its new store with a grand opening party or aperitivo (happy hour) from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday. The evening includes wine and small margherita pizza tastes. Reservations are required at bit.ly/2okAyX6. 2101 San Elijo Ave., Cardiff by the Sea. pappalecco.com

Cohn Restaurant Group with debut a trio of projects Wednesday in Hillcrest. The Cal-French-inspired BO-beau kitchen, replacing 100 Wines, will bring signature favorites such as the iconic Brussels Sprouts and hearty Burger Royale, as well as new dishes from chefs Alex Weltz and Edgar Sierra; Libertad, San Diego's first for-charity gourmet taqueria, will feature tacos, served quesadilla-style, ranging from shrimp to skirt steak and pork belly to duck confit and octopus made in-house. One hundred percent of the profits will be donated to a different charity each month. caché, a 19th century-inspired speakeasy hidden behind Libertad, will feature international wines by the glass and bottle and handcrafted cocktails shaken up by seasoned bartender Cervantes Magana. 1023 and 1027 University Ave., San Diego. 619.236.1299.

In honor of the Padres baseball season, Larry's Deli is holding Larry's Ludicrous Lunker Challenge, a food challenge that dares customers to down - in one hour - a towering sandwich of 16 slices of rye bread layered with 48 ounces of pastrami, 16 slices of Gruyere cheese and house-made cornichon spread, along with a quartet of sides: potato salad, coleslaw, macaroni salad and deviled eggs pickled in beet juice. The challenge is $50, and diners who licks their plate clean are refunded the money and receive a commemorative T-shirt. 323 Seventh Ave., San Diego. 619.795.7100 or hungrylarrys.com
carolina.gusman@sduniontribune.com

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