A bit of the Basque region of Spain: Piperade.
Intimate dining near the Exploratorium on Battery Street. It came highly recommended and the menu looked very interesting so it was a must try.
Choices for the night were difficult……everything on the menu sounded like something to try. The plates are large enough to share so that is a great way to taste more of the offerings.
We started with the prawns basquaise with basque ketchup and lemon confit, Dungeness crab txangurro and the piperade. The shrimp were perfectly prepared and the “ketchup”….not what you are thinking…..made the dish but I want to concentrate a bit on the piperade which is a classic Basque dish. It’s tomato based with onions and peppers topped by a poached egg. But what made the dish was the ventréche……french pancetta (bacon)…. once again confirming that things go better with pork. The flavor is richly tomato and creamy in texture so if you like tomatoes, give it a try.
Entrees included the Basque rice or gaxuxa…very rich and delicious; reminding us of a less creamy but richer risotto. The second choice was the braised seafood and shellfish stew bizkaiko which was similar to bouillabaisse with a bit of spiciness.
Now on to the deserts….they were so good we should have started with them and we were very glad we didn’t skip the option and you shouldn’t either. A must have is the Gâteau Basque. Hard to describe…even our server had difficulty….but it’s like a very creamy torte….pastry cream to be exact and outrageously delicious….so much so you should order two! Our second tasting was the koka……custard flan…on my very short list of outstanding examples of that dessert.
Our wine was a classic white txakolina, the style of which I have written of before. In short, it is a light, tart (high acidity), and slightly fizzy wine that was a great paring.
Service was knowledgeable and excellent.