Reopening anew on Friday, March 4 after shuttering near the start of pandemic is the latest iteration of a beach area icon that first opened on Mission Boulevard in the early 1950s. Purchased in 2015 by the now-defunct Patio Group, Saska’s Steak & Seafood was won at auction in 2020 by Eric Leitstein, founder of local restaurant group OMG Hospitality.
Renamed Moe’s after Leitstein’s beloved grandfather, the 77-seat Mission Beach restaurant is now returning to its roots as a time-honored steakhouse, albeit with a freshened-up atmosphere and food.
Windows have been added to the dark and moody bar to let in more light, although the back dining room retains its cozy charm. The 70-year-old restaurant’s red naugahyde booths remain, as well as many of its original light fixtures.
OMG chief operating officer Taylor Boudreaux, who worked with Wolfgang Puck and Mastro’s Steakhouse, collaborated on Moe’s menu with executive chef, J. Scollon, a Le Cordon Bleu grad who trained in Europe and has cooked in fine dining restaurants in LA and Napa Valley. There are steakhouse classics, such as crab cakes with fennel-citrus salad and beef tartare, and a full range of hand cut steaks that can be crowned with optional toppings and sauces, from garlic brandy shrimp and bacon jam to port wine jus and salsa verde.
Leitstein started dining at Saska’s in the 90s after opening Canes Bar & Grill in Pacific Beach where he currently runs Waterbar, PB Alehouse, and Backyard Kitchen & Tap; OMG Hospitality’s corporate office is also just a few blocks from Moe’s. He tells Eater that he was particularly determined to be the one to take the legendary spot into its next chapter because it reminded him of the East Coast steakhouses and Italian restaurants he used to frequent with his grandfather. The new menu includes a number of Italian dishes, including squid ink-battered calamari in puttanesca sauce and pastas like classic cacio e pepe and handmade ricotta agnolotti with kabocha squash and brown butter.
The cocktail list from lead bartender Daniel Vargas (Juniper & Ivy) includes riffs on classic martinis, tropical drinks, and smoked cocktails like Campfire Dreams, made with whiskey, Amaro Nonino, Fernet, and orange liqueur. Vargas is also planning to introduce a rolling cocktail cart that will offer after dinner digestifs and dessert wine. Bottles of sought-after spirits, including Pappy Van Winkle, will also be available for sale, with guests able to keep their bottles under lock and key in individual liquor lockers.
Later this year, OMG Hospitality is opening a casual counterpart next door to Moe’s called Molly’s — named for Leitstein’s grandmother — in the former Surf Rider Pizza space. The building, which has a rooftop deck, will be remodeled into a daytime-oriented, brunch and breakfast spot with furnishings imported from and a menu inspired by Tulum, Mexico.
Moe’s, 3768 Mission Boulevard, 3 p.m. to close.