CRUDO of bigeye tuna (Hawaii, troll), pickled Chanterelle mushrooms, Bing cherries, basil pesto, and fried egg yolk
CHITARRA pasta with sand dabs, squash blossoms, and lemon verbena
RISOTTO with crayfish, pine nuts, Perigord truffles, and chervil
Charcoal-grilled, pancetta-wrapped sardines with wilted radicchio and artichokecaponata
Brioche-crusted monkfish with Porcini mushroom crema, haricots verts, and lobster bordelaise
Charcoal-grilled squid stuffed with Tuscan sausage; sauce Livornese, parsnip crema, and black olives
Pan-fried abalone, guanciale-potato torta, and trout roe spumante
PREP OF HUNDREDS OF POUNDS OF FISH AND SHELLFISH IS NO JOKE:
Philadelphia Fish House Punch, recipe dating back to 1732, will be offered as an aperitif to our Oceanic Dinners.
Concocted with house-made oleo saccharum, assorted rums, brandy, crème de poire, lemon (i.e. mostly rums with sugar infused citrus oil and pear liqueur) – $6/glass
And, if the idea of a classic Provencale bouillabaisse on next week’s menu isn’t exciting enough for you, we’re bring out a 1990 Bandol, Domaine Tempier Cabassaou. We’ve had it stashed away and it will finally be available each night by the glass. This wine has always had a strong and earthy nose, certainly well matched for a flavorful bouillabaisse.
Below is the preliminary menu, offered á la carte:
Oceanic Dinners are a huge event for us: lots of planning, preordering, curing, smoking, prep and then next week a massive filleting. Chef Jonah and Sous Brian present us with an entirely new menu—stunning.
Below is the preliminary menu, there will be some additions. Have a good time, and make reservations now.
All items offered á la carte.
Step 1: Planning Meeting with Tom Worthington of Monterey Fish, Chef Jonah, Sous Chef Brian
We met with fish supplier Tom Worthington last week and were given his best estimate of what will be available for our June 19-22 dinners. These are the fish the chefs can begin to plan the menu around. All fish in these dinners are from healthy, sustainable fisheries. Here’s the list:
-good sand dabs
-local halibut—good availability, long-line
-Sierra and Boston mackerel
-scallops, possibly in their shells
-local anchovies “good to go”
-soft-shell and Dungeness crab
-Rhode Island eel
-Spanish cod tripe
-farm-raised abalone and trout
-monkfish (Marshall Islands)
Possible, Tom will work on it:
-bonita, but probably too early
-coon-striped shrimp possible
-geoduck clams possible
-limited king salmon
-shellfish aren’t at their most plentiful this time of year
-albacore and yellowfin tuna
A little of the conversation: Tom loves Chef Jonah’s braised Spanish cod tripe, but says Jonah, “Nobody orders it.” (Sometimes exotic items on the Oceanic Dinners menu bring out a certain faintheartedness in some diners.) Tom also loves sea robin in bouillabaisse. King salmon are limited, “after 200 years of our being bad to them,” says Tom. The season opens on the first day of our event, so we can prepare them on the third day should we choose. Jonah likes to prepare eel, which will be in season from Rhode Island. Sous Chef Brian was thinking along the lines of sea urchin tart with crème fraîche and caviar, potato-wrapped oysters Rockefeller, and chilled crab soup.
We’ll report on the menu’s progress, and which fish make the cut.
We’ve been doing these Oceanic Dinners for a while (17 years). They’ve always taken place in summertime, usually June. We try to be as seasonal as we can, and June is the time when the greatest variety of fish and sea creatures from around the world are at their peak. Fish, and particularly these dinners are exceptions to our long time focus on food from local farms and producers. The best, sustainably managed fisheries frequently don’t have local markets for their catches, and we’ve felt the kind of fishing they do needs to be supported and kept healthy. Tom Worthington of Monterey Fish Market goes into overdrive to find the best fish for Chef Jonah and Sous Brian to “play with.” These are many people’s favorite dinners and we’ve always been proud of them.
We’ll be reporting periodically on how the menu takes shape, but we do book up and it might be wise to reserve now to get the time and date that you want.
Our annual Oceanic Dinner series began last night, and the whole menu is just exceptional — a treasure chest of delicious things. Chef Jonah and the team have truly outdone themselves. Here is the completed menu.
CRUDO of bigeye tuna (Hawaii, troll) with hazelnut milk, harissa verde, and pickled apple
Lightly torched king salmon (Monterey Bay, troll) with white peaches, green almonds, and Jalapeño pepper
CARPACCIO of house-smoked swordfish (Southern California, long line) with Sicilian pine nut salsa, new potatoes, and mint
Cold Salad of Little Gem lettuces with bagna cauda, marinated
white anchovies (San Francisco Bay, purse seine), and Parmesan cheese
Salad of Dungeness crab (Half Moon Bay, trap) with braised kombu, yuzu-melon vinaigrette, and baby fennel
Savory CANNOLI of king salmon (Monterey Bay, troll) with mascarpone, salmon roe, and lemon verbena
Sardines (incidental catch from Monterey Bay, purse seine) in saor with Chanterelle mushrooms, marinated pole beans, and thyme
Salad of new potatoes, tuna (Hawaii, troll) ‘nduja, and mussels (Prince Edward Ilsand, farmed) with pickled ramp aïoli, green garlic, and mint
Soup: ajo blanco–white gazpacho of almonds and garlic with
pickled mackerel (Boston, trap) and spring onions
Warm Crochetta of baccalà (Spain, hook and line) and fried grass shrimp (San francisco Bay, skim net) with Calabrian chili aïoli, candied Meyer lemon, and basil
BRASATO of cod tripe (Spain, hook and line) and Cannellini beans with artichoke and hot pepper
PARISIAN GNOCCHI with smoked trout (Idaho, farmed) and its roe, kefir, dill, and arugula pesto
ACQUERELLO CARNAROLI RISOTTO with squid ink, razor clams (Cape Cod, hand dug), and ricotta salata
LINGUINE with Dungeness crab (Half Moon Bay, trap), Meyer lemon, and Genovese basil
TORTELLI of lobster (Maine, trap) with Brentwood corn, mascarpone, and fines herbes
SPAGHETTI with sea urchin (Alaska, diver) carbonara
ORECHIETTE with sand dabs (Half Moon Bay, Scottish seine), garlic, Sicilian chili, and fennel pollen
Fig leaf-grilled petrale sole (Ft. Bragg, trawl) with Costata Romanesco squash crema, Brent-wood corn, and squash blossom spumante
Olive-oil poached Alaskan sand halibut (long line) with Japanese eggplant purée, haricots verts, and cherry tomatoes
Charcoal-grilled octopus (Spain, trap) with black-eyed peas, peperonata, and salmoriglio
CIOPPINO of rock cod (Ft. Bragg, hook and line), clams (Washington, farmed), mussels (PEI, farmed), and squid (Monterey, purse seine) with saffron aïoli and grilled crostino
Charcoal-grilled California white sea bass (San Pedro, hook and line) alla livornese with roast fennel and Bianco di Maggio onions
Charcoal grilled lobster (Maine, trap) and chicken SAUSAGE with celeriac crema, golden Romano beans, and salsa verde
Geléefish: crème fraîche panna cotta with apricot-orange gelée, meringue sea creatures, and dried seaweed
The menu is offered à la carte.
We hope you’ll join us.
Atlantic bonito, Sarda sarda
The Menu is still in the planning stages, but here are a few items that will be among Chef Jonah’s offerings.
Crudo of charred bonito with Santa Rosa plums, malted wheat berries,
green coriander, and bottarga
Savory cannoli of king salmon with mascarpone, salmon roe, and
Carpaccio of house-smoked swordfish with Sicilian pine nut salsa, new
potatoes, and mint
Brasato of cod tripe and Cannellini beans with artichoke and hot pepper
Fungo with smoked shad, English peas, and mint crema
Spaghetti alla carbonara with sea urchin
Charcoal-grilled pancetta-wrapped sardines alla livornese with roast
fennel and Bianco di Maggio onions
For 136 Years Jack’s on Sacramento St. served sand dabs to San Franciscans who loved the delicate flavor of this little, local flatfish. Fifty years ago (gasp), my father took me there as a special treat, and that’s when I had my first taste of what is now my favorite fish.
Capt. Steve Fitz of the Mr. Morgan (below) out of Pillar Pt. Harbor promises sand dabs for our oceanic dinners. His catchment method, the Scottish seine, and the sand dab’s behavior of schooling as a single species, make by-catch minimal and leave the sandy ocean bottom relatively undisturbed.
As for the bones—the reason ichthyoanginaphobics* don’t cook this delicious fish at home—removing them from an 8 ounce fish is all about expertise in preparing the fish for cooking. We’ve got that covered.
*people who are afraid of choking on a fishbone
– Maggie Klein