AS YOU MAKE your way into the cocktail lounge and eatery at Queensborough—located on F Street in downtown San Diego—you’ll immediately take in an abundance of sophisticated details. Lofty ceilings are illuminated by chandeliers and gilded pendant lamps. Mosaic tile floors ground wingback chairs and tufted leather banquettes. A cozy back corner draws the eye with ornate ceiling tiles, exposed brick walls and shelves lined with old books. All are just the beginning of the enchanting eats and drinks you’ll soon be noshing on and imbibing from chef Taylor Houseman and cocktail consultant Travis Carter. Throw in owners Mike Vizcarra and Shane Brennan of Brethren Collective and you’ve got S.D.’s newest dream team.
Begin your evening at Queensborough with a cocktail and a series of handcrafted snacks like curry spiced bar nuts, chili-dusted popcorn and peach cobbler fruit leather. Chef Houseman switches up these sweet and savory treats on the daily, bringing seasonal sophistication to the humble bar snack. They’re perfect with one of Queensborough’s inventive yet approachable cocktails. The New Yorker pairs bacon fat-washed bourbon with lemon, Demerara sugar and cabernet sauvignon. An egg white shaken into the mix rounds out flavors while lightening the texture. Topped with a mound of shaved ice, the Matcha Julep is presented similar to a classic mint julep with the addition of housemade matcha green tea syrup.
For a more substantial starter, opt for the surf and turf sliders. Charred slices of rare hangar steak are topped with Schnebelhorn Swiss and fresh scallops painted with a vibrant chimichurri sauce—an irresistible combination of savory smoke and crisp ocean stacked between a buttery brioche bun. Queensborough’s golden fried Brussels sprouts arrive at the table amidst a mound of tasty rubble—crunchy bits of in-house pancetta, melting prosciutto, smoked asiago cheese and a dusting of vegetable ash. Swirls of balsamic reduction on top offer contrasting moments of sweet and tart and take the dish to heavenly new levels.
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