Wormwood, one of North Park’s newest restaurants, combines French country charm with world cuisine and a bar menu that celebrates absinthe, an often misunderstood spirit that was popular with French bohemians in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
The anise-based liqueur became known as a mythical spirit with hallucinatory properties that was enjoyed by artists and writers like Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, Pablo Picasso, Vincent van Gogh, and Oscar Wilde, among others. In fact, absinthe was banned in the United States in 1912, but in 2007 variations of the spirit were allowed.
Today, the team behind Tahona Bar, the Old Town Mexican restaurant known for its use of mezcal, opened Wormwood in December 2021. It inhabits the space once occupied by Jaynes Gastropub, a beloved neighborhood eatery which closed in March 2020. Some of Jaynes’ charms remain, including the outdoor patio dining area that transports diners to a different world and makes them forget they’re still in North Park.
Pro tip: Dine at golden hour, just as they open for dinner service at 5:00 p.m. for fantastic lighting and ambiance.
The menu includes the burrata appetizer, which includes smoked broccolini, spiced nuts, caldillo and pickled onion petals. To fully enjoy the burrata, our server suggested an order of their “old fashioned bread,” or sourdough bread with a side of whipped seaweed butter. Other highlights include the “duck confit,” or smoked duck confit, made with Parisian gnocchi, beurre blanc with banana vinegar, parsnips, and peanuts, and whole-wheat agnolotti made with mashed potatoes. chestnuts, chanterelles, hazelnuts, sage and truffles.
Wash it all down with Le Frappe, a cocktail made with absinthe, anisette, elderflower, crème de menthe, lime and soda; the Le Volcan, based on RDV Tequila Blanco, absinthe, watermelon, pomegranate, lime, fennel and pink peppercorn lava salt or the A La 30th, based on rye whisky, Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva, LoFi Sweet Vermouth, Benedictine , absinthe, orange bitters and cherries sprinkled with fennel.
Wormwood is located at 4677 30th Street in North Park. Visit wormwoodsd.com for more information.