Welcome to Industry Dish, a bi-weekly feature for Eater San Diego. In this space, our town's restaurant and bar pros will weigh in on their favorite eats and drinks, give their thoughts on local food trends and talk about what it's like to work in the San Diego community. Know an industry pro who wants to do some sharing? Let us know.
[Paul Arias, courtesy photo]
Meet Los Angeles-area native Chef Paul Arias, who worked at downtown's Royale Brasserie and helped to open A.R. Valentien and The Grill at The Lodge at Torrey Pines. After opening two seafood restaurants on the East Coast, Arias returned to San Diego to head up the kitchen at The Fishery in Pacific Beach, a seafood restaurant and market owned by local seafood wholesaler, Pacific Shellfish. His weekly Tuesday tasting menu features a locally-sourced, three course prix fixe dinner for $28.
What's your favorite thing on your menu right now and why?
I am stoked on the spaghetti with swordfish meat balls; I've always have enjoyed plays on simple comfort food.
Where do you like to eat when you're not working?
Table 926 is around the corner and I really enjoy winding down after a long night with a glass of wine and some of Matt Richman's duck tacos. His inventive takes on comfort food are always delish, but I have to admit this all fish guy is a sucker for his burger.
When I can get there, Jeff Jackson's chicken liver pate at A.R. Valentien is nothing short of amazing. I will never get tired of eating that. Anything else put out of that kitchen is always inspiring.
Anything that you're "over", in terms of played-out restaurant and food trends or ingredients?
The term "farm-to-table". The overuse of this term has taken away from its original meaning. For me it means using seasonal, local ingredients from small farms. When everyone claims farm-to-table, it takes away from the guys out there like Jeff Jackson and Trey Foshee, who have inspired a lot of us chefs by really making the effort to embrace local products.
Do you have a wish or request for the San Diego food scene or local diners?
Coming from a hotel background, I am the last chef to say no to substitutions and special requests, but my wish is that people would be to give a dish that a chef creates a chance before trying to change it, you might be pleasantly surprised.
What makes cooking in San Diego different from other cities that you've work in?
For a large city, San Diego has a very small town feel with our great weather and year round access to beautiful farms. There is great local seafood and a real sense of community. The chef scene here is awesome; it's a real tight group. Although competition for diners is inevitable, all the chefs I know are always approachable and willing to share thoughts, ideas, and of course, sometimes a beer.