The Cohn Restaurant Group (CRG) is looking to make a significant impact on the Hillcrest dining scene, replacing their 100 Wines on University Avenue with three just-launched venues — BO-beau kitchen + cache, which pairs the popular bistro with a stand-alone craft cocktail bar, and the progressive Libertad | Tacos a la Brasa, a taco shop run as a non-profit.
CRG co-founder Lesley Cohn told Eater that the hospitality group’s main aim with this trio of projects was to give back to the community. BO-beau kitchen + caché will both provide welcome new drinking and dining options to the neighborhood while Libertad will literally put money into the hands of local charities.
All three spaces were designed by managing partner Phillip Beltran, a longtime CRG collaborator. Bohemian bistro BO-beau, in its fourth iteration here, brings its signature menu items, including the famous Brussels sprouts and beef Bourguignon, along with new spring-inspired offerings from executive chef Alex Weltz ranging from renditions of mussels and flatbreads to new vegetarian options. Open for dinner nightly, the restaurant is featuring a “Green Light” happy hour menu served everyday from 4 to 6:30 p.m. in the bar area and on the front patio that features $6 cocktails and light bites.
The much talked-about Libertad | Tacos a la Brasa is at its core, a late-night taco shop which opens at 4 p.m. and serves food until 2:30 a.m. most nights. Its tempting menu, cooked on a custom wood fired grill, includes Caja China-cooked pork belly, duck confit, octopus and tempura avocado tucked into housemade corn and flour tortillas along with margaritas on tap and a range of Mexican beers. But the most buzz-worthy element is its designation as a not for profit eatery, which will direct a good amount of funds (at least $3,000) to a different charity each month. The opening’s recipient is the San Diego Food Bank.
Through a refrigerator door at the rear of Libertad lies the last component, a romantic French-inspired cocktail bar called caché. The 50-seat bar, which has an indoor/outdoor feel thanks to skylights and live olive trees, is hung with chandeliers and decorated in vintage vellum and a large-scale art mural. Its drinks creator Cervantes Magaña says that the menu combines odes to classics of the past with fanciful, Tim Burton-esque creations; there’s also a nod to the tiki trend, albeit with the addition of French liqueurs like absinthe and cognac. The beverages extend to French wines and a beer list that leans towards sour beers and wild ales.