Table 926 restaurant brings warm Latin flavors to cool San Diego nights
By Marti Gacioch
Chef Matt Richman loves blending Caribbean and South American flavors with his own fusion of California/Mediterranean cuisine at Table 926. Richman, who grew familiar with Latin flavor influences while working in restaurants in Coral Gables, Fla., sets his eatery apart by serving dishes seldom found in San Diego.
“In Florida, they do a completely different style of cooking with ingredients like plantains, boniato (sweet potatoes) and yucca, which you don’t see here,” Richman said. He likes to pair a rib-eye steak or fish with mashed boniato, or transform yucca into fries. For more flavor, Richman adds chimichurri sauce (Argentina’s top condiment). “It’s wonderful on steak and red meats,” he said.
Richman, who grew up in La Jolla, opened the restaurant with his father/partner, Douglas Richman, two years ago. He trained at San Francisco’s California Culinary Academy and honed his skills as sous chef at Del Mar’s Pacifica before moving to Coral Gables. While working at Otanique and the Nuevo Latino restaurant, Chispa, Richman learned the art of enhancing his dishes with Latin flavors.
Returning to San Diego, Richman worked as executive chef at My Place and Illume Bistro before opening Table 926.
“The focus of Table 926 is to capture the flavor of European-style restaurants, where we have four to six daily specials every night,” Richman said. “Our daily menu is based on the season — what’s freshest in the market that day — and what our meat and fish vendors say is good.”
Fall specials for cooler nights include coq au vin — braised chicken marinated in red wine with a medley of delicious vegetables cooked together.
“We’re serving a lot of braised red meats, ragus, lamb, beef, veal and sauces now, as well as winter squash (pumpkin, butternut) broccoli, kale and chard,” Richman said. Steamed Venus Clams and his signature Duck Taco Carnitas are also top choices.
For dessert, Table 926 offers its popular DIY banana splits made with Richman’s homemade ice cream served with ramekins filled with sauces and a variety of toppings.
Beer Dinners are proving popular at Table 926. “We pick local craft breweries like Stone, Ballast Point and Green Flash, and do a five-course meal with beer and food pairings for $59,” Richman said.
For New Year’s Eve, Richman plans a prix-fixe, three-course dinner for $75 with a free glass of Champagne.
Among its many honors, Table 926 was chosen as a 2012 San Diego Home/Garden Lifestyles magazine Silver Fork winner.
— Table 926, 926 Turquoise St., in Pacific Beach, is open 5-10 p.m. Tuesdays-Sundays. Closed Mondays. (858) 539-0926. table926.com
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