A lively dining experience is coming back to the corner spot on Fourth Avenue that was occupied by Bankers Hill Bar + Restaurant for more than a decade but is now under new proprietors. Common Stock Hospitality, which runs Common Stock in Hillcrest and Farmer & the Seahorse in the Torrey Pines area, is behind Books & Records, which opens in the 2,200-square-foot space on Thursday, August 31.
Co-owners Brian Douglass and Anderson Clark have kept the original framework of the restaurant — its exposed timber trusses and brick floors — while refreshing the main dining room, which now has walls warmed by a dark blue limewashed finish and green tufted leather booths. The existing glassed-in patio will be used for extra seating and a lounge area has been carved out of the bar level to host live jazz on Fridays and Saturdays and maybe more nights going forward.
Offering dinner initially and brunch later on, the restaurant’s menu from culinary director Sam Deckman (Ironside, Gary Danko) and executive sous chef Ryan Stickel progresses from starters such as fresh oysters with aguachile mignonette and wagyu tartare with Szechuan chili crunch and fry bread to cavtappi carbonara topped with prosciutto crumble and seafood linguine in a saffron-scented sauce inspired by cioppino. There are also larger shareable plates, including Coca-Cola-braised duck carnitas served with salsa macha, salsa verde, and shiso pancakes and a whole sea bass from Ensenada, roasted al pastor-style and accompanied by charred pineapple and herb salad. The kitchen will keep cooking later that most restaurants in the neighborhood, staying open until midnight on weekends.
Providing the soundtrack to a meal at Books & Records are cocktails from beverage director Chris D’Apice that range from classics like old fashioneds and margaritas to the Purple Rain made with Japanese whisky, house ube cordial, and lemon. Clark, who lives nearby, hopes that the bar will reestablish itself as a favorite hangout for the neighborhood and says that they’re planning to roll out a bar menu with more casual bites like a burger and deviled eggs.
Next on the docket for the Common Stock Hospitality is a new project coming to North Park, where the group is turning a craftsman-style home at 3376 30th Street into a yet-unnamed restaurant and cocktail bar that will have a wood-fired menu by Deckman. Clark tells Eater that construction is slated to begin next spring.
Books & Records, 2202 4th Avenue, Bankers Hill. 5:00 - 11:00 Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 5 p.m. to midnight.