Chef Steve Brown is officially turning Temp°, which debuted last month in Chula Vista with weekend “Boozy Brunch” featured Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m, into a full-time restaurant. Brunch will continue, now with a just-launched dinner service offered Tuesday through Saturday from 5 to 10 p.m.
The chef, who moved back to his native San Diego a year and a half ago, has several other irons in the fire including a bar in Barrio Logan and an eatery in Imperial Beach that are being developed with a newly-formed hospitality team. But Temp° is the first permanent spot where curious diners and industry folk can check out Brown’s culinary ambition via a bistro menu which combines French classics with modern technique while aiming to be approachable and comforting but still elegant.
There’s old school fondue, a French onion soup which takes five days to prep, mussels and clams steamed with wine and housemade sausage, and steak frites served with traditional peppercorn sauce and not-so-traditional “nitro” potatoes which are blanched and twice frozen with liquid nitrogen before frying. Classic bouillabaisse is made with local opah, which are brought in whole and used across several dishes from aguachile to fish en papillote and even a bolognese sauce served with scratch-made pasta. All dishes are $28 or less, although Brown’s work as a A-5 Satsuma Wagyu beef ambassador means there will always be a extravagant steak special on offer. For a more economical taste of the pricey meat, there’s a burger made with a blend of Wagyu and Angus beef.
Temp° will also serve as the home for Cosecha, Brown’s high-end dinner series; starting on September 24, the pop-up will reoccur every other Sunday. The chef has developed a close partnership with local Wild Willow Farm, using its produce exclusively on the Cosecha menu and as much as possible at Temp°, and is launching a chef stage program in which applicants will split time between working on the farm and in the restaurant kitchen.