Saturday, December 03, 2005 | San Diego is notorious for a dearth of late-night dining venues where one can have a bite to eat and perhaps a drink. Sure there are scattered places, especially in the Gaslamp, with kitchens open beyond 9 or 10 p.m., but this isn’t a town that stays out late.

Things are changing, however.

In-the-know restaurant servers and chefs gather after their shift at Third Corner Wine Shop and Bistro in Ocean Beach where the kitchen stays open until midnight weeknights and 1 a.m. on the weekends. Ed Moore of Thee Bungalow fame redid his place across the street as a well-stocked wine shop and casual bistro with a small menu of salads, cheese and odds and ends that include short ribs, mussels, smoked salmon, duck confit and fish – nothing over $13.

It is a wine shop first, with separate rooms for various whites and reds in all price ranges. Wines are stocked in simple wood displays in the center of each room and overflow cases are neatly stacked in corners or along some of the walls. Seating in each room is on perimeter banquettes with a view of the wines. The original bar includes seating as well as cocktails and beer. Another room, with comfy leather couches and moveable poufs, flows into an outdoor patio area.

Three of us popped in for a quick lunch that included mussels from Prince Edward Island – Moore prefers the cold-water variety, as do I – perfectly flavored with a light broth of garlic, white wine and hint of Thai fish sauce.

Smoked duck breast and watercress salad was simple and flavorful, topped with a very mild crumbled blue cheese. Winter squash soup unfortunately was slightly over-thickened and glossy from cornstarch and tastes of salty stock. Peruse the wine shop for a bottle to drink with your meal and pay the retail price. What you don’t drink, cork and bring home (in the trunk of your car, of course). Third Corner Wine Shop and Bistro, 2265 Bacon St., Ocean Beach, (619) 223-2700. Retail open from 10 a.m., bistro from 11:30 a.m. Closed Monday.

Tidbits:

Lovers of the Old Spaghetti Factory in the Gaslamp will find Dussini’s Mediterranean Bistro in its place. Owners of the original restaurant, which closed in 2004, decided to redo the historic building (designed by Irving Gill) to incorporate yet another three-in-one venue. Inside is a three-story wine vault and loft bar with billiards and many televisions to watch sports and relax with a drink.

The dining menu under the direction of executive chef Earl Schryver features such Mediterranean dishes as olive tapendade appetizer, paella and osso buco alla Milanese. The restaurant opened just last week. I’ll be checking it out soon. Dussini’s Mediterranean Bistro, 275 Fifth Ave. (at K Street), (619) 233 4323,

Marcie Rothman loves good food – no matter where it’s cooked – at home, a hole in the wall or a white tablecloth restaurant. Known as The $5 Chef on radio, television and in her two cookbooks, Marcie travels far and near with an eye on what’s current in food. You can find her at

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