Monday, March 28, 2011

SPQR Still Has It

SPQR continues to rank in my top five, not just for its amazing handmade pastas (hello cocoa linguine in pork cheek ragu and cappelacci black kale and goat cheese-filled pasta with meyer lemon, walnut and saba). The other stuff is equally inspired. See for yourself ...

I could eat this crostino every day; it's like Christmas on a plate. Spread with the creamiest burrata and popping with the flavors of chili, honey, fried sage and rosemary, not to mention toasted hazelnuts, this plate got us started on our merry way. And how.

MC2's 14-year-old daughter voted for the fried pickles and anchovies, and who was I to disappoint my cousin's kid? In fact, the salty crisped-up lil fish coupled with the sweet dill—along with dabs of spicy aioli—were an awesome pairing.

We loved SPQR's luscious asparagus custard made with creamy fonduta and dressed with foraged mushrooms and California asparagus ...

And made quick work of the perfectly poached farm egg sitting on top of a subtly sweet spring garlic soubise (read: bechamel-based sauce), crowned with a tangle of fried onion rings, bacon crisps, radish and carrot slivers.

Before the final dish came out, I thought I'd hit my limit. After all, among the 3 of us, we'd plowed through 7 dishes already. But when I caught sight—and a whiff—of the gorgeous venison (done 3 ways—on the grill, in a braise and made into sausages) joined with a tangy-sweet huckleberry sauce, I got my second wind. Needless to say, we scraped the plate clean.

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