Top French Cafe in San Diego: The WineSellar & Brasserie

A hidden French gem in Sorrento Mesa

New York Strip Steak at The WineSellar & Brasserie

Photographed by Maria Desiderata Montana

In a modest location on a corner in Sorrento Mesa, Gary Parker, owner of The WineSellar & Brasserie, encourages diners to loosen their ties in his cozy and comfortable restaurant, while Executive Chef Alfred Fierro gets busy creating artful plates boasting innovative California French cooking par excellence. Here's an in-depth review with one of the best French restaurants in San Diego. 


Not only is the service at The WineSellar & Brasserie impeccable and precise, Fierro has built the menu around homemade, seasonal, and locally grown ingredients, offering his own unique spin on American classics. A small kitchen is proof that ingredients can only be stored and used fresh daily. The only thing that is not made at the restaurant is the bread, which comes from St. Tropez Bakery. “We would make the bread if there was room,” Fierro explains.

The Lobster Tartine BLT, richly tastes of avocado butter paired with apple wood smoked bacon, melted leeks, roasted tomatoes and garlic aioli. On the advice of Parker, we savored Anderson’s Conn Valley Vineyards, Napa Valley Chardonnay, 2008 with this dish. “This is a good one,” says Parker. “It’s oaky, ripe, and meant for early consumption.”

The not-so-ordinary Dungeness Crab Bisque with pickled corn relish tasted utterly fresh and creamy; sprinkled with a bit of brown buttered and cumin-scented popcorn brought out the fun, texture and flavor. “The crab was literally swimming this morning,” says Fierro. “And we even churn our own butter from scratch.” Pair with Domaine Cheveau Macon Solutre-Pouilly ‘Sur le Mont’, 2009.

Grade A Foie Gras is pan seared and walks in step with a splendid sweet biscuit and caper berries. Lustrous Champagne grapes make their theatrical debut, bordered by a banyuls reduction. Pair with Barth Pinot Noir Rose Brut.

The pan-roasted salmon, with a piperade of red bell peppers and onions, reduced with roma tomatoes, allows for delectable concentrated flavor chemistry at the heart of this dish. Beneath all the layers, a Blue Mexican shrimp is a welcome surprise. Pair with Grey Stack Cellars Pinot Noir Bennett Valley Cuvée, 2009.

Fierro takes an amusing spin on the French Classic Beef Bourguignon with a Wild Scallop and Pork Belly Bourguignon that has become an extremely popular signature dish. This smokey and salty combination is finished with glazed cippolini onions, baby carrots, asparagus, sugar snap peas, muro greens, white turnips and chives.

“These family owned farmed scallops are from Massachusetts,” says Fierro. “Instead of beef bourguignon, we did seared pork belly deglazed with a white burgundy.” Pair with an old world wine that compliments the root vegetables with Grand Vin De Bourgogne, Domaine Du Meix-Foulot Mercurey ler cru, 2006.

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The high quality New York Strip Steak is, as you would get at any premier steakhouse.  The fluffy potato puree, haricot vert and balsamic vinegar demi glaze is utter perfection paired with Malbec Argentina, 2007, Karma Meditado Gran Reserva.

It is no secret I am an Italian girl, and am always in the mood for dessert, especially when I see profiteroles on the menu. These luscious cream puffs are as good as the ones that come out of my kitchen, paired with homemade ice cream in flavors of caramel, chocolate and vanilla. And for you chocolate lovers looking for a late night fix, do not miss the Belgian Chocolate Terrine with Crème anglaise and hazelnut praline sauce.

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WineSellar & Brasserie located on 9550 Waples St #115, San Diego, CA - 858.450.9557