North County Brings a Taste of San Diego to Lowry

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While the warm patio days of summer are just a distant memory this chilly December week, a new restaurant in the Hangar 2 development in Lowry wants to transport you to sunny and warm San Diego.North County, which opens today for dinner, has a menu that features Baja fish tacos in grilled and beer-battered varieties, street tacos, ceviches, tortas and other Southern California specialties. Joe Vostrejs, Pat McHenry and Rod Wagner of Larimer Associates have teamed with chef and partner Sterling Robinson of Billy's Inn to deliver a sleek and modern interpretation of a beach-style bar and grill with an emphasis on tequila and cocktails.

See also: Photos: Cafe Mercato Takes Off at Lowry

Vostrejs says his inspiration came from visits to San Diego, where patrons of even the most basic dive bars eat fresh seafood, grilled oysters and peel-and-eat shrimp -- and, of course, carne asada fries. Robinson keeps that indulgent bar snack simple, with marinated steak, a blend of Mexican cheeses, crema, pico de gallo and guacamole. A side of pork-rich green chile (the same masa-thickened recipe that's used at Billy's Inn) can be added as a side or purchased by the bowl. An insider tip from chef Robinson: Order the carne asada fries wrapped as a burrito to send them over the top.

Seafood for the fish tacos, ceviche, grilled oysters and aguachile (a kind of shrimp cocktail) is flown in daily; a specials board near the door lets customers know what's in on any given day. Street tacos include ancho-chile brisket, chicken tinga, chorizo and potato, and tacos al pastor sliced from a rotating spit of marinated pork shoulder and grilled pineapple. Both the flour tortillas for the fish tacos and the corn tortillas for everything else are made to order by hand. Burgers, tortas and po' boy sandwiches round out the menu.

The bar list features over 100 tequilas and mezcals, bottled boozy sodas like a grapefruit Paloma, and shaker margaritas -- with no cocktail over $10. Beers cover a range of Southern California craft brews and Mexican favorites, and there's also an extensive wine list.

Lunch and brunch are both planned for January; in the meantime, North County will be open for dinner daily, with happy hour all day Monday and 3 to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, with a second happy hour from 9 p.m. to close. There are also daily food and drink specials, including $14 for a pound of peel-and-eat shrimp on Fridays, a shot and a beer for $5 on Wednesdays, and $4 Bloody Marias and "manmosas" on Sundays.

Keep reading for more photos of North County in Lowry.

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