Magruder Beef, Aged 10 Weeks

The holidays brought us lobster, antelope, and the most beautiful sturgeon, and gave us time to age a whole lot of exquisite, grass-fed Magruder beef.

We absolutely love Magruder Ranch. Fifth generation farmer Mac Magruder and his family sustainably raises its animals in Potter Valley, 130 miles north of San Francisco. Exclusively raised on pasture, theirs is some of the healthiest beef available, and aging it provides a depth of complexity to its flavor.

In the coming weeks, the menu will have choice middle cuts aplenty – ribeye, New York steak, flat iron steak, and sirloin – as well as cuts like shortribs, brisket, and chuckeye.

Reserve a table, and treat yourself to a little beef-induced euphoria!

January 20th, 2017|Coming up..., Magruder Ranch|0 Comments

Upstairs: Paine Farm Pigeon

 

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Popping up on our menu as often as we can get it, pigeon from Paine Farm in Sonoma is a continual source of inspiration for our kitchen.

Farmer Philip Paine spent years taking meticulous notes of his breeding stock in order to stabilize the production and quality of his remarkable fowl — and it shows! Highly prized amongst the best chefs in the Bay Area, there never seems to be enough pigeon from Paine Farm to go around. Scarcer in winter, more abundant when the weather warms, we ensure some portion of security by keeping a standing order with Philip, and we feel lucky to receive what we can.

If you haven’t had Paine Farm pigeon, it is something like duck, but leaner, less gamey, and most glorious. Harvested just as they begin to mature, they are not so young that the meat is overly mild, but not so old that it’s lost its tenderness.

This week, we ordered older birds so we could make a Piedmontese braise of them in the traditional manner for Thursday night’s special dinner with Produttori del Barbaresco winemaker Aldo Vacca. The more mature birds have a deeper flavor that comes through in braising. When we receive younger pigeons, we hang them dry for a few days so the skin is crisped when we grill or slow-roast them and accompany them with the sort of good things you might see with duck — such as bitter greens and creamy white beans, as above.

Paine Farm pigeon will be on our menu this weekend, and it is truly an experience not to be missed.

**Follow Chef Jonah’s Instagram account for more stunning photos of his recent work.**

This Just In: Steak

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As we progress through one of Magruder’s exquisite steers, we’re rewarded by some choice middle cuts. We happen to be just about there now — look for sirloin and tenderloin midweek, and rib-eye and New York strip steak Friday and Saturday.

Our New Rosticceria

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Porchetta with tomatoes, olive oil-whipped potatoes, and salsa verde, 19.

We’ve converted our downstairs cafe into an Italian rosticceria in the evenings.

Our rosticceria is focused on fire-roasted or slowly braised meats and simple vegetable dishes from farmers we know, at affordable prices. The menu is designed for quick service, but diners can still sit down and linger – perhaps over a cocktail from our new cocktail list.

With the rosticceria, our neighbors can stroll in for a quick platter of roasted beef, chicken, lamb, or pork (depending on what’s available) with a choice of sides. We’ll also be offering a compelling vegetarian option, a fish stew, and a vegetarian and meat-based lasagne. Our pizza and polenta service will stay the same.

We think spit-roasting on our rotisserie is just the bee’s knees. It’s the simplest way to make extremely well-raised meat taste even better. The meat bastes in its own juices, and the fat from roasts arranged higher on the rotisserie drips onto roasts arranged lower, or onto dishes of vegetables cooking at the bottom. The food takes on the subtle smoky flavors of the fire, which, in our case, consists of charcoal and almond wood.

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Brussels sprouts with pancetta, 14.

Most importantly, the rosticceria concept allows us to expand our whole animal program, which supports some of our favorite small farmers and ranchers, such as Magruder Ranch, Riverdog Farm, and Hoffman Farm. It will also make their fine, traditionally raised meat and poultry more affordable to our neighbors. A serving of meat plus two sides will cost a little under twenty dollars.

As we go through our animals, different cuts will become available, so our menu will slowly shift as the week progresses.

It’s going to be delicious!

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Roasted peppers stuffed with brown Basmati rice, fresh Borlotti beans, almonds, and goat cheese, 11.

How We Got to a Great Burger

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Mac Magruder’s animals have simply outstanding genetics and flavor. We showcase it as much as we can, and to this end we’ve been going through a whole steer from Magruder Ranch every three weeks. This is uncommon for restaurants to do, because it takes special planning and capabilities. Most places don’t have a meat locker, and it’s really difficult to use the whole beef efficiently.

We’re trying to use Mac’s meat throughout the restaurant and increasingly in the cafe (we have some big cafe plans we’ll tell you about soon), but utilization is so tough. This is when Chef Jonah’s hamburger zeal came to the fore – an American lad leapt out of a very fine Italian chef. What’s a great burger? Ask Jonah.

When it comes to burgers, Jonah has clear, strong convictions. He thinks that burgers should not be overly complex or frou-frou, with jalapenos or truffles or thingummies, and that ketchup, on its own, has no place on a burger for grown-ups. They should be what they are, and nothing more. And for that, certain things need to be in place.

Jonah’s Burger:
  • The beef itself has been seasoned throughout, with enough fat in it that it doesn’t need cheese.
  • The patty shouldn’t be flaccid or soggy, so we’re using cuts like brisket and short rib, which have gelatin in it and will give the patty good body.
  • We’re using a house-made Thousand Island-style dressing of ketchup, aioli, Dijon mustard, pickle, and red onion. It’s applied to the top half of the bun, so that the juice from the meat can drip into the bun.
  • The bun needs to be exceptional. We tried several bun recipes and found a challah we like that won’t fall apart easily. It’s fried in butter – not grilled, but fried so that the edges of the bun have a delicate crunch to it.
  • Jonah thinks burgers should always have a pickled component. We’re using pickled onions in a particular proportion to fresh onion.
  • A good, fresh butter lettuce finishes it off.

Our burger comes with either French fries fried in beef fat (that’s right, same animal) and laced with espelette and pimenton, or a fresh green salad spiky with vinegar.

Upstairs, we’re making this classic hamburger at lunchtime, Monday through Friday. Perhaps the best burger you will ever have, possibly life changing.

This Just In: Magruder Ranch Lamb

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It’s hard to find meat as good as Mac Magruder’s lamb, so we’re pretty excited when we can get it.  We received four yearlings last week. Jonah has let them hang for a few days and is planning to prepare them to you beginning Friday and throughout the weekend.
 
On the menu: 
Roast leg of Magruder lamb with turmeric yogurt, pickled red onion, yellow Finn potatoes, and watercress. Saturday and Sunday, we’ll be adding lamb cappellacci and very large lamb-stuffed ravioli as well.

Come celebrate the Warriors (with a little lamb juice running down your chin)!

This Just In: Exceptional House-cured Meats

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We’re in salumi production pretty much all year long, gearing up particularly for Whole Hog Dinners in February. But the meats don’t become perfect in a steady stream. Sometimes many are ready in a mild eruption — an embarrassment of riches between dry spells.

Cured meats are the very best way to taste the quality of the pig, and we have salumi from two very fine breeds. From Front Porch Farm, we have their Cinta: culatello, coppa, and pancetta, all from great whole muscles. Culatello is the small muscle at the rear of the leg and is considered the king of cured meats.

And, though Mac Magruder has stopped hog production, we have a variety of salumi from his amazing stock as well. They’ll be on the menu beginning Wednesday, and into the following week.

This Just In: Grass-fed Lamb, Beef, and Pork from Magruder Ranch

Reese the watchdog guards the flock. Photo courtesy of Magruder Ranch

Reese the watchdog guards the flock. Photo courtesy of Magruder Ranch

Four yearling lambs and a four hundred-pound sow have arrived from one of our favorite purveyors, Magruder Ranch in Potter Valley. Soon, a steer will also be coming our way.

Currently, Magruder Ranch is lush and green, and the young lambs have been feasting on clover and annual grasses that have awoken now that winter is over.

“Beginning in March, when the days get longer, the grass has more strength, and it’s easier for the lambs, which fed on mother’s milk over the winter, to gain weight. When spring comes around they really blossom,” says Mac, the ranch’s owner. As Patricia Unterman once said in her article for the San Francisco Examiner, they are “particularly succulent, whispering of pasture.”

The abundance of green grass his animals have access to means a high level of Omega-3s, the heart-healthy fat found in foods like olive oil and avocado.

We have big plans for our meat. This weekend we’ll be making salumi with the sow. We will work with our steer piece by piece over time. For now, look for cappellaci, a stuffed pasta filled with lamb, with asparagus and pecorino cheese.

This Just In: Aged Magruder Ranch Strip

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Back near the beginning of December, we took in a delivery of our last treasured Magruder animal of the season. We won’t get more until this summer. But we DO have a New York strip that’s been hanging out (literally) in the meat locker for about 50 days.

The long, slow aging process gives the meat great flavor and tender texture, and the genetics of Mac’s animals are superb. Chef Jonah will be cooking them on the grill for a stand-out entree on Saturday evening.

We only have a limited amount of beef, so we recommend coming in early on Saturday to ensure that you’ll get to try this fantastic cut of meat. We’ll also have our great Piedmont beef rib eye on the menu, so if you miss the NY strip, you won’t suffer.

Call 510-547-5356 or reserve online

This Just In: Magruder Lamb

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The kitchen just received more gorgeous lamb from Magruder Ranch.
Pasture born and pasture raised, the lamb at Magruder Ranch are on strict rotation schedule and spend their days grazing on a 100% pasture diet of white and red clover, rye grass, fescue, sour dock, plantain, harding grass, and orchard grass, with the occasional thistle thrown in.

Leg of lamb will hit the menu tonight and then the kitchen will move into loin, rack, and tender (possibly sausage) by the weekend.