Chef Steve Brown has moved back to San Diego to open a restaurant, brazenly declaring to Eater that he’s gunning for a Michelin star, or stars. Last month, Michelin announced a new all-California guide that will include restaurants in San Diego as well as Los Angeles, Sacramento, and the Central Coast; the first edition will be released this summer with a rating system that awards one star to a ‘very good restaurant in its category’, two stars to restaurants ‘worthy of a detour’, and a coveted three stars to dining destinations worth a ‘special journey.’ Michelin also gives Bib Gourmand awards to ’good quality, good value restaurants.’
A native of Imperial Beach, Brown returns from San Francisco where he helped to open Niku Steakhouse, a haven for Japanese wagyu, earlier this year. While in San Diego from 2016 to 2018, he embarked on several restaurant-related projects, though his main focus was on finding a permanent home for his long-running fine dining pop-up Cosecha SD; this time around, the chef has a small team of backers and is working with Pasquale Ioele of Flocke & Avoyer’s Urban Strategies Group to hunt down a turnkey restaurant space in the downtown or Little Italy neighborhoods.
Specifically tailored to (hopefully) meet Michelin standards, Cosecha SD will be an intimate 12 to 20 seat restaurant, with diners sitting directly in front of Brown and his chefs while they cook. It will be open Wednesday through Sunday, offering two seatings a night that will be booked in advance via the Cosecha website; comprised of 16 courses, the menu will likely ring in at $100 to $120. Wine and beer pairings will also be available for an extra fee. Brown has had a longstanding relationship with Imperial Beach’s nonprofit Wild Willow Farm & Education Center; he says that all of the restaurant’s produce will be sourced from Wild Willow, Agua Dulce Farm in Chula Vista, or foraged. Courses will also feature local seafood as well as Japanese wagyu.
The brick-and-mortar Cosecha SD will have its first preview later this month, when Brown will be offering 16-course dinners at at temporary space in Coronado on April 26 and 27.