Helping to fill a void in Jewish-inspired culinary options in San Diego and drawing on her ancestral roots, Tracy Borkum, principal of Urban Kitchen Group (CUCINA urbana, CUCINA enoteca, Artifact) and Chef-Partner Tim Kolanko, opened the doors to Gold Finch, a modern delicatessen and full-service restaurant, on Wednesday, September 21st at 3040 Science Park Road in Torrey Pines.
“This has been a long-awaited passion project, and I’m excited to share our interpretation of what a modern delicatessen in a great city can be. San Diego doesn’t boast many Jewish delicatessens, you can count them on one hand,” says Borkum in a statement. “Historically, Jewish delis were the cornerstones of the neighborhood, and they represented a sense of identity for people, the feeling of being at home. With Gold Finch, I wanted to give that culture, that tradition, a little more relevance and share some of my favorite childhood memories with food.”
Rooted in Jewish immigrant culture and cuisine, Gold Finch focuses on recontextualizing staples of Ashkenazi and Sephardic-style cooking. Gold Finch is led by Chef-Partner Tim Kolanko alongside Chefs Jeff Armstrong and Frankie Becerra. The menu offers a glossary of Jewish terms and descriptions to assist guests in their selection, and standouts run the gamut from twists on the traditional to bakery staples and a selection of sandwiches—all while incorporating healthy, seasonal and in some cases Mexican ingredients as a nod to Baja’s regional influences. Shareable towers encourage build-your-own spreads with house-made bagels and bialys with lox, cured meats or smoked fish, and a quick-service deli counter offers more than a dozen a la carte nosh items including trout rillete, pickled herring, smoked white fish, chicken liver pâte, and pastrami.
Below are a few highlights and team favorites from the menu:
- RISE + SHINE: a collection of egg-centric dishes alongside updated Jewish favorites like shashuka with poached egg, tomatillo, spinach, and za’atar served with house-made nine-grain toast, a loaded giant latke with fried egg, mushroom, broccoli rabe, horseradish, and labneh, ora torn challah french toast with blueberry, blackberry, lemon curd cream, and maple syrup.
- BAKERY BOX: assortment of house-baked goods including bialys (red onion/poppy, brie/bacon, fig/goat cheese) knish (mushroom/goat cheese, pastrami rueben, spinach/feta/tomato) and baklava made with rose water and cardamon.
- IT’S A TRADITION: Borkum’s grandmother’s beloved recipe for matzo ball soup joins other staples like berbere spice fried artichoke with a sumac aioli, chicken schnitzel with artichoke, tomato, arugula, and lemon caper vinaigrette, in addition to a seasonal mushroom noodle kugel.
- IN-BETWEEN: nine piled high creations including pastrami, bbq pastrami, or hand carved corned beef on rye, but also Italian-inspired sandwiches like a mortadella/coppa/prosciutto cotto muffeletta with provolone, giardiniera relish, basil, and house aioli on focaccia or the roasted pork with broccoli rabe and smoked provolone on ciabatta.
- SHORT + SWEET: A nod to her bubbe’s specialty, the banana fritters with cinnamon sugar, halvah ice cream and toffee coffee syrup, the arborio rice pudding featuring mango, passionfruit, pistachio, and candied lemon, or the ricotta blintz with apple, huckleberry, and creme fraiche.
- BEVERAGES: serving retro soda fountain favorites including a chocolate phosphate and seasonal pumpkin egg cream in addition to a selection of wine and beer, Dark Horse coffee, Paru teas, and smoothies.
Taking a page out of Tracy’s hometown and London’s Jewish epicenters, Golders Green and Finchley neighborhoods, for which the restaurant was named, Gold Finch has opened as the culinary anchor, a new LEED and WELL certified Class A life science campus in Torrey Pines/La Jolla area—notably home to San Diego’s largest Jewish communities. Offering indoor and outdoor full-service seating, the 1,800 square-foot space was designed by Borkum to reflect a lighter, more modern delicatessen vibe. Traditional Jewish delis of yesteryear were decidedly masculine spaces, often named after Frankles, Bens, Levis—and, lest we forget, their sons and brothers. Tracy considered what it meant to her to own a modern Jewish delicatessen as a woman and how that may evolve the stereotype of a traditional deli environment. She designed the space with an intention of ‘lightness’, incorporating a neutral palate of white stone, natural white oak, organic wallpaper, and soft grey hued light fixtures and furnishings. A hybrid marketplace offers Jewish cookbooks, specialty food, and decorative elements, providing guests with a little retail therapy while dining on-site.
Gold Finch is located at 3040 Science Park Road and is currently open Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. for all-day breakfast and lunch. A weekend brunch will debut soon. Gold Finch also offers full-service catering and delivery.