Here’s the Deal: Anthology

Wednesday, May 19, 2010 12:54

By Chad Deal | San Diego Reader

Anthology is a three-level restaurant and club just south of Little Italy on India. Inspired by CEO Howard ­Berkson’s roots in Chicago nightlife, the 13,000-square-foot establishment pairs New American fine dining with live music in a sophisticated environment of 30-foot high ceilings, a wall of drapes illuminated by soft blue lighting, natural wood finishes, and concrete interior walls. The club hosts jazz, blues, classic rock, R&B, world, and Latin music and has seen performances from Chick Corea, Earl Thomas, and the Count Basie Orchestra. Reservations are ­encouraged.

Haylie and I are seated a few tables back from the stage, where a Tina Turner video projects on the wall. Our server, Tabitha, brings us a wine list of 250+ selections and the Fresh Vibe Tuesday menu featuring appetizers and entrées for under $20. We order an appetizer of buttery Calamari al Ajillo ($7), which is garnished with Yukon gold potatoes and organic ­olives.

The house band opens with a jazz number sung by the sultry Rebecca Jade. Members of the well-versed group have performed with Stevie Wonder, Jason Mraz, and Stanley Turrentine. The digital sound quality is immaculate as the group covers a Grover Washington Jr. tune. Tabitha returns with an entrée of Red Snapper Veracruz ($17) and a plate of Roasted Spring Vegetable & Manchego Cheese Tamales ($14) served with sweet corn purée and a citrus-y tomatillo & avocado ­salsa.

The band goes on to play tunes from Louis Armstrong, Aretha Franklin, Christina Aguilera, and the Jobim classic “Corcovado” as patrons converse softly over the music. Jade sings an a cappella “Happy Birthday” to a woman in the audience, which, Haylie conjectures, secretly makes us all wish it were our ­birthdays.

The mezzanine, empty on this night, hosts dining and a chic bar/lounge with an aerial view of the stage. The second level offers informal dining with a view, a Taylor Guitars private dining room, a balcony over India Street, and a lounge with an 18-foot-long fireplace. The restrooms (the true measure, Haylie tells me) maintain the upscale ambiance with mouthwash, marble sinks, and automatic ­everything.

Attire: Upscale casual
Prices: $15-$45 (up to $100). Value and VIP tickets ­available.
Happy Hour: Tuesday-Friday, 5:30-7:00 p.m.
Capacity: 300 seats
Hours: Tuesday-Thursday: 5:30-9:00 p.m., Friday & Saturday: 5:30pm-12:30 a.m.
Best deal: Fresh Vibe Tuesdays. $5 entry. No food/drink minimum ($15 per person most nights).

Via San Diego Reader