Mutton of a Bygone Era

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The mutton the cook Mrs. Patmore so proudly served on the Downton Abbey table is of a higher order rarely available to us, but it will be on the Oliveto menu tomorrow and Friday.

According to Mac Magruder, from whose ranch these animals have come, mutton (sheep over 1 year old) was once prized. But it suffered some unjust criticism during WWI and WWII, when sheep was raised primarily for wool, and some of what was sold as mutton was very old – several years, even. It was a time when all sheep was sold and eaten, due to the food shortages during that period.

After the wars, meat became the primary product again, and wool became secondary, so sheep began to be processed at a younger age. Mutton became rare, and its high regard was lost (a casualty of war).

So what we have here is an uncommon treat. The flavor will be deeper, the omega fatty acid content higher – the sort of meat that was once cherished over a century ago.

We’ve recently received four sheep from Magruder Ranch, one of which is particularly special and delicious. It’s a “wether”, a neutered male that’s been kept in the flock for a year and a half. Magruder’s sheep is generally processed at 6-8 months – a bit younger.

Here’s what we’re planning:

Chef Jonah will be smoking and curing the legs of the wether – like prosciutto – and they will be ready in five or six months. The rest of the wether – along with the three other Magruder yearlings we recently acquired – will be served in a trio upstairs. A portion of leg muscle from the younger yearlings will be cooked rare and served alongside tenderloin or loin and lamb chop.

Tortellini of lamb in lamb brodo will be featured on our menu too.

 

The Whole Peach: Tarts to Cocktails

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Learn to make the most of stone fruit season with Pastry Chef Yakira Batres and Cocktail Chef Daniel Clayton. Taste peaches, plums, and nectarines that have just come to ripeness, and learn which varieties make the most sense for your baking or boozy ambitions. We’ll assemble galettes, a quintessential use for peaches and plums; then, learn how to make liqueurs, syrups, shrubs and bitters with what’s left over. Includes a stone fruit galette and summer cocktail tasting.
July 12th, 12 pm to 3 pm

$40.

 

REGISTER
By |June 30th, 2015|Coming up..., Commons|0 Comments

In the Wake of Oceanic Dinners

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In the aftermath of our epic Oceanic Dinners, chef Jonah’s beginning to transition our menu to other savories. This week, look for farm egg in carrozza - eggs, gently poached in shell, but only just enough to be able to peel them. These are fried with a coating of Kennebec potato and served with house-cured bacon and watercress.

 

We’ll also start to have in some aged beef, as well as some very special lamb, from Magruder Ranch in the coming weeks.

 

For those of you craving something of the sea, we have a garganelli pasta with house-smoked trout and trout crema, as well as a pan-roasted sea bass with summer vegetables.
By |June 29th, 2015|2015, Coming up..., This Just In|0 Comments

Reveling in Oceanic Splendor

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We continue to savor our recollections from last night, our first night of Oceanic Dinners, with its myriad perfumes of the sea. The menu rocks, sparkling with many delicacies. We particularly liked this cioppino, laden with rock cod, mussels, and cuttlefish, and lovingly and generously splashed with saffron aioli.

 

Other notes: the geoduck we have in for our frutti di mare is some of the best chef Jonah’s ever seen. This is served cold with Kushi oyster, monkfish torchon, house-smoked trout, cuttlefish, and Spanish mackerel. Accompanying are three sauces: a mignonette, a salsa rosa (a tomato-based cocktail sauce), and sea urchin aioli.

 

Also, our Oceanic Dinner dates have changed. This menu extends to Saturday! We hope to see you here soon.

 

By |June 24th, 2015|Coming up..., This Just In|0 Comments

14th Annual Oceanic Dinner Final Menu

We still have some good times to dine with us, particularly on Thursday night.

 

Antipasti: smaller items, soup, salads

Cold

Panna cotta of Santa Barbara sea urchin with house-cured vanilla-scented trout roe and olive oil

Crudo of American mackerel with harissa, marinated cherry tomatoes, basil and Moroccan olives

Salad of Bibb lettuce with smoked swordfish bagna cauda, Sausalito Springs watercress, Easter Egg radish, fried shallots, and lemon

Frutti di mare of geoduck, Kushi oyster, monkfish torchon, house-smoked trout, cuttlefish, and Spanish mackerel; salsa rosa, sea urchin aïoli, and mignonette

Garden lettuces vinaigrette

 

Warm

Charcoal-grilled live scallop with scallop roe, dachi, dried scallop, Pioppini mushrooms, and seaweed

Charcoal-grilled mackerel with fregola, chili, and lemon agrumato

Potato-wrapped spot shrimp with saffron aïoli and peperonata

Pan-roasted pain de mie-crusted sand dab

Charcoal-grilled terrina of octopus with pimento aïoli, new potatoes, and wild arugula

Fritto misto of scallop, shrimp, and monkfish with Meyer lemons, aïoli, and fines herbes

Soup: vellutata of lobster and Dungeness crab with vanilla-orange crema

 

Primi

Acquerello Carnaroli risotto of Santa Barbara sea urchin, preserved Meyer lemon, and Espelette peppers

Tajarin with Dungeness crab, tarragon, and crab crema

Ravioli of baccalà with preserved lemon and mint

Spaghetti neri with Georgia white shrimp, tomato, and hot pepper

Fusilli bucata corti with East Coast razor clams, Brentwood corn, squash blossoms, and lemon verbena

Agnolotti dal plin

Tortelloni of house-made ricotta and Parmesan cheeses with basil pesto

 

Secondi

Pan-roasted skate wing with roasted fennel, capers, and brown butter

‘Osso buco’ of monkfish with saffron risotto, tomato brodo, and gremolata

Pan-roasted local king salmon with early summer ratatouille and basil oil

Pan-roasted sea bass with eggplant crema, padron peppers, Brentwood corn, and heirloom tomato salsa

Cioppino of local rock cod, shrimp, mussels, and cuttlefish with saffron aïoli, crostino, and parsley

Charcoal grilled pigeon with farroto AQ

 

Dolci

Yakira’s special Floating Island

Semolina shortcake with blackberries, mascarpone mousse, and lime sorbetto

Strawberry semifreddo with pistachio-almond cake, candied pistachios, strawberries, and old aceto balsamico

Cheesecake on crisp rye cake with chamomile caramel, apricot sauce, grilled apricots, and torched apricot meringue

 

It is an extraordinary challenge to offer such a menu, with this many species of fish, at their peak – which speaks to the skill and knowledge of Tom Worthington of Monterey Fish. To learn more, we’d like to share a film we made some years ago, of Tom Worthington at Monterey’s warehouse on Pier 33.

By |June 22nd, 2015|2015, Coming up..., Events|0 Comments

Oceanic Dinners: Full Speed Ahead

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It’s a wild sea out there right now — winds are coming up, everything is churning —and we’re in full prep mode for next week’s Oceanic Dinners. We’re smoking, drying, pickling, chilling – the kitchen is working like mad.

It’s a stellar menu. Here are some of the dishes that Chef Jonah is particularly high on:
  • Charcoal-grilled live scallop with scallop roe, dachi, dried scallop, Pioppini mushrooms, and seaweed. We’re getting in some live scallops in their shells. They’ll be scored on the grill, put back in their shell and poached over coals in adachi broth. We’re drying scallops now, which will be shaved over the dish.
  • Panna cotta of Japanese sea urchin (Santa Barbara may not be available) with house-cured vanilla-scented trout roe and olive oil. Per Jonah, “this will be a really sexy dish.”
  • Spot shrimp are coming in. We’ll wrap the tails in potato strings and fry them with the heads on (undesirable brain and cardiac stomach removed).
  • And an osso buco, but with monkfish.
Here’s the whole menu.
Oceanic Dinners, June 23rd-26th
By |June 19th, 2015|Coming up...|0 Comments

14th Annual Oceanic Dinner Preliminary Menu

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Antipasti: smaller items, soup, salads

Cold

Panna cotta of Santa Barbara sea urchin with house-cured vanilla-scented trout roe and olive oil

Crudo of bonito

Salad of Bibb lettuce with smoked swordfish bagna cauda, Sausalito Springs watercress, Easter Egg radish, fried shallots, and lemon

Frutti di mare of geoduck, Kushi oyster, house-smoked trout, cuttlefish, and mackerel; salsa rosa, sea urchin aïoli, and mignonette

Garden lettuces vinaigrette

 

Warm

Charcoal-grilled live scallop with scallop roe, dachi, dried scallop, Pioppini mushrooms, and seaweed

Charcoal-grilled mackerel (or other bluefish) with fregola, chili, and lemon agrumato

Potato-wrapped spot shrimp

Pan-roasted pain de mie-crusted sand dab

Charcoal-grilled terrina of octopus with pimento aïoli, new potatoes, and wild arugula

Fritto misto of scallop, shrimp, and other seafood (tbd)

Soup: vellutata of lobster and Dungeness crab with vanilla-orange crema

 

Primi

Acquerello Carnaroli risotto of Santa Barbara sea urchin, preserved Meyer lemon, and Espelette peppers

Tajarin with Dungeness crab, tarragon, and crab crema

Ravioli of bacalà with preserved lemon and mint

Spaghetti neri with Georgia white shrimp, tomato, and hot pepper

Fusilli bucata corti with East Coast razor clams

Agnolotti dal plin

Tortelloni of house-made ricotta and Parmesan cheeses with basil pesto

 

Secondi

Pan-roasted skate wing with roasted fennel, capers, and brown butter

‘Osso buco’ of monkfish with saffron risotto, tomato brodo, and gremolata

Pan-roasted local king salmon with early summer succotash

Pan-roasted black sea bass

Cioppino of local rock cod, shrimp, mussels, and cuttlefish with saffron aïoli, crostino, and parsley

Farroto AQ

 

Dolci

Yakira’s special Floating Island

Semolina shortcake with blackberries, mascarpone mousse, and lime sorbetto

Strawberry semifreddo with pistachio-almond cake, candied pistachios, strawberries, and old aceto balsamico

Cheesecake on crisp rye cake with chamomile caramel, apricot sauce, grilled apricots, and torched apricot meringue

 

By |June 15th, 2015|Coming up...|0 Comments

Visitors from Sicily

CiroandStef

Monday, June 15th

We’re huge fans of Ciro and Stef Biondi. They are smart, generous, and full of life. Their wines are too. While their vineyards have been producing wine for centuries on Mt. Etna, Ciro hit the restart button less than two decades ago, trying to make a great wine, taking full advantage of the extraordinary gifts of Mt. Etna — its young volcanic soil, its altitude high above the sea, and warm days.

We’re pleased to introduce you to them. Ciro and Stef will be in the Oliveto dining room, pouring their wines (some older vintages too) this coming Monday, and Chef Jonah will be offering some appropriate dishes to go with these wines:

  • Fritto of house made ricotta-stuffed squash blossoms
  • Crudo of swordfish with oregano, currants, pine nuts, and lemon
  • Rigatoni alla trapanese
  • Spaghetti with fresh anchovies, saffron, pine nuts, and raisins
  • Charcoal-grilled pork porterhouse with eggplant, artichoke, and salmoriglio

There are also a few places still available in the 6:15 to 7 PM tasting that Ciro will offering in our private dining room.

  • 2014 Biondi ‘Outis’ Etna Bianco
  • 2013 Biondi ‘Outis’ Etna Rosso
  • 2011 ‘Cisterna Fuori’
  • 2008 Biondi ‘Outis’ Etna Rosso
  • 2007 Biondi ‘Monte Ilice’ Etna Rosso

The tasting is $40. Register here.
After the tasting, stay for dinner.

By |June 11th, 2015|2015, Happened already..., Italy, Sicily, Wine Events|0 Comments

This Just In: Local King Salmon

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This year’s local king salmon season has just been getting better and better, and what’s just come in is the best yet – it’s rosy, tender, and incredibly luscious. We think that it’s completely in line with the quality we expect for our Oceanic Dinners come June 23-26.

On the menu now:

  • Pan-roasted local king salmon with Acquerello Carnaroli risotto of sea beans, haricots verts, lobster crema, and squash blossom spumante

 

By |June 9th, 2015|Coming up..., Events, This Just In|0 Comments

Oceanic Dinners Update: The Shape of Things to Come

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It’s always the sheer size of our Oceanic Dinner menu that blows people away – that and the quality of the food. The menu is shaping up under Jonah’s skillful eye; here are some of the highlights:

A twist on the regular showstopper, our vellutata of lobster will include some Dungeness crab.

Charcoal-grilled live scallops with scallop roe, dashi, dried scallop, piopinni mushrooms and seaweed will be served for an extra umami delight.

Our favored cioppino will abound with local rock cod, shrimp, mussels, and cuttlefish.
Charcoal-grilled terrina of octopus with pimento aioli.

Our 14th Annual Oceanic Dinners take place June 23th-26th.
By |June 7th, 2015|Coming up..., Uncategorized|0 Comments