UPDATE: This Coronado event has been sold out. There are other locations available through the link below.
A new dining experience will make its debut at Gustatory in Coronado on July 9, where Chef Steve Brown will prepare a seven course-meal with wine pairings by Filippo Cortivo, sommelier and owner of Osteria Mamma in West Hollywood. Tickets are $80 and are available at chefstevebrown.com. He calls the event Cosecha, and it will be a pop-up dinner.
Brown is still developing the menu, but it will feature farm fresh produce prepared with worldly techniques and flavors.
Because we’re so close to Mexico, many of Brown’s dishes are inspired by its cuisine. One of his best known is a pork belly “sushi” wrapped in hoja santa, a leaf that has a similar flavor as anise (pepper and black licorice) and is often used to wrap tamales in Oaxaca.
Steve Brown’s pork belly “sushi” wrapped in hoja santa leaves.
Photos courtesy of Steve Brown.
Mexico also inspired the name of his pop-up dinner series. Cosecha is Spanish for harvest. It reflects the center of every dish that comes out of Brown’s kitchen — produce first, protein second.
The dinner won’t just be about the menu. “It’s about the experience of food,” said the 35 year old, Imperial Beach native.
There will be plenty of interaction between the guests and Brown’s team, which will include not only kitchen staff and servers, but also people from Wild Willow Farms, who are providing the veggies.
“People should think of it as a progressive dining experience, not just fine dining.”
Servers will take time to explain the food and the wine, and converse with guests. Brown will be coming out of the kitchen between each course. Once dinner is served he’ll go table to table to visit.
Brown fell in love with food while working as dishwasher at a hotel in Garmisch, Germany. After working in kitchens around Europe for two and a half years, Brown returned to southern California to attend Le Cordon Bleu culinary school in Los Angeles. He then worked in fine dining restaurants and trained under a number of leading chefs, including Jake Rojas and Marcel Vigneron.
Brown opened a fine dining restaurant in West Hollywood; and after it closed he moved back to Imperial Beach to realize a long-held dream to open a restaurant there. He was born in Imperial Beach (but grew up Redlands) and the beach community, where his extended family still lived, remained a part of his life. “We came down to visit all the time,” Brown said.
“I know the locals and this place is going to be for the locals.” The new restaurant is scheduled to open next year at the coroner of Date Avenue and Seacoast Drive. It will be built with shipping containers and offer modern comfort food. “It’s not fine dining, but will be chef driven,” he said.
The idea of doing a series of pop-ups was Brown’s. After Coronado, the Cosecha continues in San Diego and LA. He’s also talking to folks about doing them in Detroit, Austin and Seattle.
Pop-up kitchens aren’t new. Chefs have used them for years to try out new concepts. Brown explained, “Restaurants have a low profit margin, so say if someone wanted to try a Korean Mexican fusion he would do it first as a pop-up before going to the expense of investing in a building and hiring a staff.”
“Coronado and San Diego will be my main court,” he said. He plans to hold many more here, maybe even on a monthly basis.
“Coronado is the first. I want it to be great. I want it to be amazing.”