“Mister A’s is [one of the most] iconic restaurants in San Diego, so joining this kitchen was an opportunity [that] would enhance my career,” explains Sean McCart, the eatery’s new chef de cuisine. “The restaurant chose to create a chef de cuisine position rather than continuing with only sous and kitchen managers because [the team] was interested in incorporating someone with innovative ideas and a fresh approach,” he notes. “Bertrand Hug—the owner—[was also] looking for someone who he could entrust to create new recipes with and confidently run the kitchen when he’s [away].” Here, the gourmand lets us in on his new post, food trends and more. Downtown, 619.239.1377
How will you change things up at Mister A’s?
As a team, we plan to pare down the menu a bit and add more light and fish-forward dishes to complement the traditional proteins that people have come to love here. We also recently added a vegetarian tasting menu that can be made fully vegan upon request.
What do you believe makes the restaurant so special?
Location, location, location—the incredible view from the 12th floor overlooking sunsets on the bay; the airport; and the beautiful San Diego skyline that continues to evolve are unmatched. The nostalgia of the dining room is also unlike any other in the city—people have been coming to Mister A’s for an unparalled experience since the 1960s.
How would you describe your cooking style?
It’s very simple. I love using ingredients at the peak of their season and not over-manipulating the flavor. I’m constantly inspired by meals that my mother made growing up—very simple and comforting [dishes]. I also love that we get the best of Chino Farm in North County. The Specialty Produce truck pulls up to Mister A’s every Thursday so our team gets to choose from the freshest produce possible.
What dish are you most excited to add to the restaurant’s menu?
I’m not necessarily looking forward to one particular dish since we are always adding something a little different. I do look forward to coming to work every day and exploring new elements to enhance the menu. Plus, with fall, I am already brainstorming ideas for apples, pumpkins, squashes and more.
Let’s wrap it up. What food trends are you seeing in San Diego right now?
The restaurant scene is shifting in many ways. In casual restaurants, I am seeing more menus designed for sharing. In fine dining, the emphasis is still on finding the very best products with a beautiful presentation, which now means an added focus on tableware so that each dish is further enhanced by its vessel. No matter what the trend is, quality dishes, beautiful presentations and outstanding flavors remain paramount for those who dine out.