RVSD July/August 2013 : Page 93

piLLow taLk Jason knibb never skips his daily pasta practice. Meat and Greet nobody’s questioning nic bour’s deft hand at reinventing French favorites. Encore! The anticipation was intense for avant , the new concept replacing Rancho resto reBoot Bernardo Inn’s hallowed El Bizcocho, which launched the impressive career of star chef Gavin Kaysen. Today, farmhouse wood swaps in for the white tablecloths, setting the stage for chef Nic Bour’s rustic cuisine. Charcuterie plates, quail deviled eggs and a mean steak tartare are standouts. The jury is out on the mustard on tap, but with Bour so downright affable, Avant is poised to be a crowd-pleaser (even among old-school fans missing Captain Bizcocho’s oil painting). ranchobernardoinn.com Going Public Ten years in the making and lending shape to of-the-moment Barrio Logan, the Public Market (sandiegopublicmarket.com) is S.D.’s answer to Pike Place, loCAl lore rich with local farmers’ stalls and permanent food vendors (including a Tijuana pavilion to Market! Micro greens on from the Baja-Med celebs, who a macro scale in barrio Logan turned out in force for this spring’s Street Food fundraiser). But as timelines have dragged, critics have asked whether founders Catt White and Dale Steele bit off more than they could chew, with 92,000 square feet of former factory space to make over. Naysayers, listen up: The first features — the communal kitchen, cottage court and an urban farm lab — are slated for a fall opening, and Market Hall hosts special events (Fig festival! Movie night!) until next summer’s launch. flour power Carb haters, turn the page now. A sure hand with housemade pasta— the definitive labor of love—is our benchmark of restaurant prowess. In La Jolla, Jason Knibb of Nine-Ten (nine-ten.com) creates a charred lemon agnolotti (“priests’ caps”) stuffed with octopus, as well as lamb sugo with gemelli (twisted “twin” strands). Little Italy’s Bencotto (lovebencotto.com) is known for its fresh, housemade pastas, and even has what owner Guido Nistri describes as a dedicated pasta laboratory that produces 500 pounds a week, thanks to chef Fabrizio Cavallini and two trained minions. You can mix and match fresh pastas like tagliatelle, pappardelle, fusilli and gnocchi, or artisanal dried pastas like gemelli and paccheri, with extravagantly rich sauces—from a tangy marinara to creamy alle noci with walnuts and Gorgonzola. And downtown, housemade ravioli at Saltbox Get CrAFty! (saltboxrestaurant. com) is always on chef Simon Dolinky’s menu, whether it’s filled with corn in the summer, pumpkin in winter, or mushroom and English peas in the spring— all made by the Dolinky-trained cook he now calls his “pasta mercenary.” Look on the menu this summer for Dolinky’s favorite pasta dish: a simple take on garlic pasta using a fettuccine-type noodle that embraces a black garlic puree, lightly roasted fennel and chanterelles. July/August 2013 | | 93

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