A new trend sees the classic dish taking many forms, ranging from the completely casual to the totally indulgent
Words by FLORA TSAPOVSKY
The festive, bubbly buildup to the end of the year always brings with it a touch of caviar. And thanks to excellent homegrown brands, caviar has had a huge year, popping up on menus all over California. The latest upgrade to its cult status? Caviar service — the chicest way to showcase the delicate product, elevating it from a garnish to the star of the show.
At Overproof, the intimate, recently re-opened bar above San Francisco’s beloved establishment ABV, four different caviars from California’s own Tsar Nicoulai are offered, casually, with housemade potato chips and creme fraiche. The small service ($45-$75, depending on the caviar) makes for a great companion to one of Overproof’s Nikka whiskey cocktails.
The Californian brand also appears on the menu of The Morris, the 3-year-old San Francisco restaurant that has won the hearts of many industry insiders. Here, three different caviars can be ordered two ways: on a slice of housemade buttery brioche with preserved lemon creme fraiche ($5 for a trout roe toast), or in a tin with a side of brioche, diced onion, shirred egg white and other surprises ($105/1 oz. golden osetra caviar).
Joshua Skenes’ impressive Angler in San Francisco offers a dazzling private label caviar service — 2 ounces of prime pearls to eat by the spoonful ($165). Even fancier, One65, the ambitious multilevel projects which opened earlier this year, offers a grand tasting menu ($250) by chef Claude Le Tohic that takes caviar to the next level. In a creation called the Caviar Composition, it adorns three different dishes, including lobster gelee. The whole thing is almost too pretty to disturb.
To dial things down, across the Golden Gate Bridge, the Bay’s most intimate, newest caviar service can be found in Sausalito at the Bump Bar, the cozy dinnertime spot by the California Caviar Company. The house-cured and imported caviar is the center of the menu, but nothing showcases it like the classic service ($18-$182), accompanied by yeasted blini made barside along with egg, red onion and creme fraiche, and served on vintage dinnerware for added charm.
Dec. 26, 2019
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