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Rustic Root Plants Two Levels of Dining & Drinking in the Gaslamp


Rustic-Root-RMD-Development-Eater Rooftop Bar San Diego 92101

It’s set to open in early May.

Behind this barrier, Rustic Root is putting the finishing touches on its new space in the Gaslamp, which occupies the former Marble Room site and could soft open as early as next week.

The 2,500-square-foot restaurant will share a kitchen with the adjacent Don Chido, which owners RMD Group and Ken Lovi of The Knotty Barrel opened last June. RMD Group, which runs several popular nightlife spots in town, including FLUXX and Sidebar, says they don’t plan to open more clubs in San Diego but intend to continue to expand their restaurant holdings, with two more eateries in the works for 2016.

Rustic Root’s menu, in the hands of its immensely capable executive chef Antonio Friscia, centers around “rustic American cuisine”, sourced locally, that spans the melting pot of cultures. There are deviled eggs, fried chicken and burgers, plus chicken liver mousse and firecracker shrimp with sriracha mayo. Friscia’s Italian heritage comes into play via housemade pasta, from ravioli with walnuts and butternut squash to lobster pappardelle.

The restaurant will open for dinner nightly, with brunch on weekends, and plans to have a bustling late night bar service; notable barman Garth Flood, Cowboy Star’s beverage director, consulted on a menu of classic drinks names after the year they were created. The traditional recipes range from the “1927” Boulevardier to the “1944” Mai Tai, with the most recent entry, the Cosmopolitan, from 1980. Flood also came up with seven craft cocktail shots with a custom garnishes; a Margarita shot has a mezcal-soaked lime wedge while the Martini shot comes with a blue cheese-stuffed olive. Matt Hunter (Bar Basic, URBN) will manage the bar program, which includes 16 taps of exclusively local beer.

Davis Ink Ltd. designed the space, which opens up to a 500-square-foot sidewalk patio. Inside, there’s a range of communal tables, banquette seating, booths and bar height tables; a large-scale crossword puzzle dominates one wall with mirrors throughout and a cluster of overturned colanders, doubling as lampshades, hang from the ceiling.

On the roof, another 2,500-square-feet of dining and drinking will be ready to launch in June. A retractable roof will enable the space, that includes fireplaces, lounge seating, light features and giant animal-shaped topiary bushes, to be used year-round. Another kitchen will cook up a menu of 14 appetizers and salads, though the entire menu can be ordered upstairs and delivered by dumbwaiter.

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The 30 Most Anticipated Restaurant Openings of Spring 2015

By Zagat Staff

Rustic-Root-Zagat-3.15 Rooftop Bar San Diego 92101

Zagat – 2015’s Most Anticipated San Diego Restaurants

Rustic Root
RMD Group and Ken Lovi of The Knotty Barrel are bringing local, farm-fresh brunches, dinners and late-night eats to a Gaslamp rooftop (pictured) this spring. Under the helm of executive chef Antonio Friscia, look for rustic American cuisine using local produce and housemade ingredients. There’s not much info about specific dishes from the restaurant’s website, only the promise of “timeless food and cocktails” as well as hints of San Francisco influences as seen by Frisca.
When: May
Where: 535 Fifth Ave.

The Dish: 3 new restaurants on tap

By Pam Kragen

Rustic Root

Rustic Root, a new rustic American restaurant concept, will open its doors in May at 535 Fifth Ave. in the Gaslamp.

The dinner-only rooftop restaurant will be the second Gaslamp eatery opened by partners RMD Group, Ken Lovi and executive chef/partner Antonio Friscia. Their first collaboration was Don Chido, a modern Mexican restaurant which opened last June.

“Rustic Root combines our reputation for service with Ken Lovi’s expertise and Chef Antonio Friscia’s culinary talent, and we’re confident it will elevate downtown San Diego’s dining scene with a unique menu and unparalleled guest experience,” said Michael Georgopoulos, RMD Group partner.

Rustic Root’s menu will feature locally sourced meats, produce and seafood and house-made ingredients. Signature items will include a double cut, bone-in pork chop with apple rhubarb chutney and parsnip purée, seared Hamachi, elk chops and a unique twist on the classic surf and turf dish, featuring steak tartar and Hamachi crudo.

“This is my food. It will draw from the coastal influences I grew up with in San Francisco, and combine them with the techniques and flavors that I have come to appreciate throughout my career,” Friscia said.

The restaurant will also have a craft cocktail menu designed by Garth Flood.

Rustic Root will serve dinner daily starting at 4 p.m. in the restaurant and rooftop, and a late-night menu on the rooftop. Visit: .