Monday, August 16, 2010

End of an era

Even though I've only been there a handful of times, when I heard this restaurant was closing it got to me. Thee Bungalow opened in Ocean Beach San Diego in 1969, a classic French restaurant that was enjoyed by old-timers such as the couple celebrating their 57th wedding anniversary there Sunday, the last night it was open. The menu listed the "Best of..." and included duck (the favorite of the older regulars according to our waiter), the lamb shank (the favorite of one of my table mates), and chocolate souffle (the favorite of a large family celebrating their son's 18th birthday). This is the kind of French restaurant Julia Childs would approve of, serving escargot and a charcuterie plate of meats and cheeses.
It sounds like the interior is getting a major facelift - it is built in an old house that maintained a quaint look with landscape paintings on the wall and large bottles of wine on display (decor quite possibly unchanged since 1969). They told us the new design will have stone and metal and sounds much more edgy. The menu is changing to be more like a gastropub, with less expensive (less formal and more trendy I imagine) offerings geared toward a younger crowd. It will be more mediterranean than just French, and when it re-opens in a few months the name will be changing, too.
Thee Bungalow seemed just fine to me, but I'm intrigued to see what they turn it into after the makeover. As an extra treat, our waiter let us walk through the kitchen to get one final glance at the place. Toward the end of the night, they switched on the Journey album, and it was clear formality was going out the window and something more energetic is on the way.

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