Two culinary trends making the biggest buzz among foodies are gourmet food trucks and pop-up restaurants. Now, food trucks like Miho Gastrotruck and Tabe BBQ have made their presence felt around town for the last couple of years, garnering rabid followings via social media buzz. But pop-up restaurants, while making waves in Los Angeles and New York, has been slow to pop up until now. San Diego's very first pop-up restaurant, Relate, is making its debut this month for 23 days at Bistro St. Germain's in Encinitas.
The pop-up restaurant - made popular by French-born chef Ludo Lefebvre in L.A. two years ago - is a fly-by-night dining event where a fine-dining chef takes over a restaurant or vacant space for a brief window. The attitude is underground, the menu changes daily, the price is often fixed, and you usually need to make reservations. Pop-up restaurants might serve for only a single evening, or several days, or several weeks. But the menus and locations are never permanent.
Del Mar chef Dan Moody, who recently worked as a sous chef for Lefebvre, will offer high-end food without the high-end price tag. Diners will enjoy a frequently changing prix fixe menu in the relaxed, comfortable eating environment provided at Bistro St. Germain's. Relate will feature the finest quality fresh and seasonal ingredients, prepared to showcase, enhance, and compliment the natural flavors and perfection of the original ingredients. The food is best described as contemporary French with a down-home American flair.
Operating hours for Relate Restaurant is 6 to 10 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays (plus Valentine's Day), Feb. 3-26. Relate serves dinner at St. Germain's, 1010 S. Coast Highway, Encinitas. Cost is $55 prix-fixe, five-course menu (plus tax and gratuity); $15 wine pairing available.