by Anneli Rufus
Lots of San Francisco-area restaurants are thinking outside the ham-shaped box this Easter, offering inspired original creations and ethnic specialties instead of the standard fare.
At Foreign Cinema in San Francisco, chef-owners Gayle Pirie and John Clark will offer a three-course prix-fixe Easter menu that includes warm brandade with Thai green chilies, pickled onions and organic sunflower bread; baguette French toast with cardamom-blood orange butter, bananas, poached golden fruit and brown sugar bacon; croque madame with French ham and gruyere, béchamel, egg crown and harissa potato chips; and poached eggs with duck breast.
Bocanova in Oakland will serve fanesca, an Ecuadorian soup that is traditionally eaten only during the week leading up to Easter. Made with twelve different beans and grains and milk-cooked salt cod, the richly elaborate soup will be served — as is also traditional — with fried plantains, hard-boiled eggs, onion salsa and empanadas. On Easter Sunday, Bocanova will also feature pounded mustard-marinated lamb-leg steaks a la plancha.
Absinthe Brasserie & Bar in San Francisco takes ham and eggs a step toward the wild side this Easter with Kurobuta pork enchiladas, featuring fried eggs, queso fresco, guacamole and more. Another Easter special at Absinthe will be executive chef Adam Keough’s Colorado lamb and sweet potato hash with fried eggs, spinach salad and brown butter Hollandaise.
At Charlie Palmer’s Dry Creek Kitchen in Healdsburg, chef Dustin Valette has created a special three-course Easter brunch menu focusing on locally sourced Sonoma County ingredients. Its many options include chilled carrot soup, braised rabbit cavatelli, bacon and eggs with crispy Yukon Gold potatoes and arugula Béarnaise, pan-roasted lamb loin with garlic confit, and chocolate ganache with lime parfait and mint ice cream.
At Ajanta in Berkeley, chef-owner Lachu Moorjani presents an Easter Sunday Chef’s Tasting Menu, which will include three appetizers and four main dishes, plus sides of rice, naan bread, chutneys and pickles. Diners can choose either the vegetarian or non-vegetarian versions of the special dinner.
Sausalito’s Poggio offers Easter lunch and dinner Italian-style with such dishes as asparagus Milanese, lamb chops with fava beans and artichokes, and frittata with English peas, spinach and mozzarella. Poggio’s bar will feature an Easter sangria comprised of Moscato, triple sec, cucumbers, apples and lemons, and an Easter cocktail made with orange liqueur, gin, grenadine and lemon juice.
Easter goes Greek at Dio Deka in Los Gatos, with brunch offerings such as keftethakia lamb meatballs prepared with blistered grapes, kalamansi yogurt and broth, and zambonopita — a crispy puff pastry stuffed with Virginia smoked ham, green onions and three cheeses: feta, Kasseri and ricotta. Also on offer is plevrakia, slow-cooked pork ribs rubbed with Greek spices, Attiki honey and lemon glaze. Vegetarians might enjoy cinnamon-spiked “Greek” toast with whipped vanilla butter.
San Francisco’s Chaya Brasserie offers a three-course Asian-fusion Easter brunch menu. Executive chef Yuko Kajino’s dishes include asparagus grilled cheese with pain de mie, truffle pecorino, poached egg and Hollandaise sauce; Japanese honey bread with wild berry compote, almonds and organic maple syrup; and warm chocolate croissant bread pudding topped with caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream.
Oakland’s Lake Chalet Seafood Bar & Grill offers Italian-inspired a la carte Easter brunch specials including crispy ricotta fritters, Maine lobster with mascarpone scramble, asparagus risotto, and local rock cod with bean ragú.
For more holiday choices, check out the Top 10 Easter Brunch Restaurants in the Bay Area
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