Comic-Con: Tired of Convention Food? 4 Restaurants Worth Trying
This story first appeared in the Aug. 1 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
Let's be honest: Downtown San Diego is now known as the city's culinary apex. But if you're in town for Comic-Con, that's where you'll be -- running from the Convention Center to your hotel to a party and back again … and again and again. While hard-core foodies might explore the adjacent suburb of Little Italy, if you've got a handful of actors, a couple of producers and their social media harem to feed, downtown and the Gaslamp Quarter are your ground zero. Chains like Nobu and Fogo de Chao you can find in any major city -- here are three good local options for a downtown meal, plus one new star (Juniper & Ivy) that's a short Uber ride away.
Owners Jon and Angie Weber have built their modern steakhouse with good interior design (upscale Hee Haw), a strong chef (Victor Jimenez) and wet, brown whiskey. CS offers the usual "cuts" menu ($52 for daily dry-aged beef), but it also serves fun alterna-proteins (roasted elk, sea bream). Plus, it has a bartender named Garth. 640 10th Ave., thecowboystar.com
For the mouth-adventurous who enjoy a good lamb kebab, Chopahn offers the wonderfully seasoned rice dish palau (Afghans have as many intricately spiced rice dishes as In-N-Out has secret burger combos) and steamed dumplings called mantu. It's a very nice, formal, basic-looking restaurant. The food is the star. 750 6th Ave., chopahnrestaurant.com
This used to be a gents-only place where power brokers could insider-trade over Gibsons until sophisticated booze man Jeff Josenhans -- who barrel-ages Manhattans and concocts his own vermouths -- helped bring it back to life. If you're an Archer fan, a flapper or currently date a flapper, this is a timeless place to eat and drink fancy. 326 Broadway, grantgrill.com
JUNIPER & IVY
Top Chef: All-Stars winner Richard Blais attracted the city's best when he opened J&I five months ago in Little Italy. The bartender is one of the world's few experts in mezcal, the grilled Mexican corn (mayo, cotija cheese, the collected joys of fat) will cure almost any ill, and his pork chop might resurrect your favorite Game of Thrones character. 2228 Kettner Blvd., juniperandivy.com