Spring fever: Five new menus for a new season

Categories: The Dish, The List

veggie terrine.jpg
The vegetable terrine at the Squeaky Bean
You can tell summer is approaching not just because the air is warmer, but menus around town are heating up, introducing lighter dishes that feature seasonal produce.

Some of those board changes look particularly delicious. Here are five that caught our eye:

Second Home just added a Saturday brunch to go with its Sunday Pajama brunch, replete with items from the kid-centric Sunday meal in addition to some new savory items, like eggs Benedict. The lunch and dinner menus have also gotten an update for spring and summer; one dish pits fried green tomatoes against goat cheese fondue.

Ototo Food and Wine Bar has gotten rid of the highly confusing "touched," "untouched" and "lightly touched" sections of its menu, which is divided now between cold, warm and main (though mains are still meant to be shared among a table). New items include a housemade duck pate with pistachios, duck breast, duck foie gras and macerated blackberries, and a Maine lobster gnocchi with bacon, spring peas, pecorino and lobster foam -- but we're especially enamored of the spring pea risotto with wild mushrooms and crispy bone marrow.

Interstate Kitchen & Bar is rocking sweet potatoes, leeks and spring peas in myriad forms, offering up a sweet potato hot tamale with candied bacon and roasted tomato, a salad of arugula with tuna and pea shoots and pork tenderloin with creamed leeks and sweet potato pie. The roasted beet salad, with the obligatory blue cheese, has been given a shot of sex appeal, too, with griddled spring onion.

At the Squeaky Bean, the spring list includes a Wagyu tartare wrapped in paper thin slices of avocado and served with homemade sweet Hawaiian bread; crispy lamb sweetbreads with sauteed leeks, fava beans and frisee, green garlic pudding and a spicy bacon-jalapeño emulsion; a spring vegetable terrine that resembles a firm flan in texture and a deconstructed billi bi soup, with poached mussels, mussel broth, Spanish chorizo and saffron foam. That menu is about to be paired with an inventive new cocktail list by Sean Kenyon, too, which should roll out in the next couple of days.

And since it's May, twelve has rolled out its new monthly board. The sweetbreads with cornbread and lobster mushrooms and the pork tenderloin with coconut basmati rice and fava beans look delightful, but we're most intrigued by the vegetable entree, a blend of cumin-scented polenta, roasted asparagus, ramps, goat cheese and chive puree.

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