Herb & Sea, the North County counterpart to Herb & Wood, Brian Malarkey’s warmly-received comeback in Little Italy, has arrived in downtown Encinitas. This time around, the Puffer Malarkey Collective, the chef’s partnership with co-owner Chris Puffer, is joined by investors that include Malarkey’s mother Lesley Day and San Diego skateboarding icon Tony Hawk.
2019 has been a big year for the group, which just celebrated the opening of Animae, their splashy Asian restaurant, in September. Animae’s design team, Bells & Whistles, also worked on Herb & Sea, helping Puffer to conserve and upgrade the 6,500-square-foot space. The exterior’s art deco elements were preserved but the building was rebuilt from the ground up, with an interior that reflects its owners’ affection for both coasts — Malarkey grew up in Oregon while Puffer spent part of his childhood in Maine. There’s a custom turquoise-colored Hestan cooking suit in the open kitchen and an oyster and raw bar in the dining room that signals this outpost’s focus on seafood.
Designated by Malarkey as Herb & Sea’s on-site executive chef/partner, Sara Harris spent last five years working at Searsucker Del Mar, Green Acre, Farmer & the Seahorse, and Herb & Wood. Their menu echos Herb & Wood’s, as both are based on wood fire cookery, but the fan-favorite dishes have been reconfigured for a new North County audience, from hamachi crudo to roasted carrots, bone marrow, and whole branzino to wood-fired pizza and handmade pasta. n amazing array of house made pastas, pizzas and desserts. Resident pastry chef extraordinaire Adrian Mendoza contributes his spin on classic desserts, including butterscotch budino, honey and rosemary creme brulee, and lava cake with a truffle center.
The restaurant and cocktail bar is open for nightly for dinner from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. A daily happy hour will debut in two weeks, offered from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Weekend brunch, served from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., should launch by December.