Michael O'Dowd of Urban Vine: "I'm Trying to Be Normal, But It's Hard."
O'Dowd says he gets the ingredients himself every day at farmers markets and local stores so he can give diners truly fresh, seasonal food.
Lauren Saria Chicken sandwich from Urban Vine.
The set menu, which you can order from whenever the restaurant is open, is meant to be a series of small, fast plate so diners can enjoy them as a quick lunch or happy hour snack. It's tame, at least if you're familiar with what he was doing at Renegade by MOD, but the chef says that might not last long.
"I'm trying to be normal, but it's hard," O'Dowd says.
Lauren Saria Inside one of the rooms at Urban Vine.
He says he'll spend the summer getting a feel for what the neighborhood wants, so he's ready to unleash everything he's got in the fall.
For O'Dowd, cooking is a personal endeavor during which a chef has the chance to interpret a memory or experience through food. The idea at Urban Vine will be to create food that captures the culture of the Coronado neighborhood in a similar way he did with Native American cuisine at Kai. The ultimate goal will be to open several restaurants in different neighborhoods, each of which will reflect the culture of its own locale.
"I'm not trying to convince you. I'm just trying to show you my beliefs on a plate," he says.