A pair of downtown restaurants are offering special menus and menu items this spring and summer, each focusing on specific regional cuisines. First off, to supplement what is already a broad selection of regional Italian menus around town, Barbacco (220 California Street) is doing a series of menus the next few months focusing on some of the more under-represented regions of Italy.
First off, through the end of this month, it's all about Abruzzo, the region on Italy's central eastern coast, on the Adriatic Sea. As Barbacco partner and manager Umberto Gibin says, "In Abruzzo you have the mountains as well as the sea," so the Abruzzo menu for May includes both hearty meat dishes from the Appenines, like a lamb skewer with roasted lemon and grilled bread, and seafood dishes like a crudo of baby squid with chili, olive oil, and red wine vinegar. Also, there are some fried, saffron-battered mozzarella fritters, and our favorite dish during a recent tasting was the hearty, tomato-based, orange-inflected seafood stew dubbed Brodetto di Pesce di Castellamare (pictured).
Next up in the series, Barbacco will travel west to the Lazio region for the month of June, and in July, it will be all about Calabria. Gibin has also selected several wines from each region to pair with dishes as well, or you can choose from the restaurants extensive Italian list, including several intriguing orange wines.
Over at Bluestem Brasserie (One Yerba Buena Lane), every Thursday, they're taking an American road trip, with a selection of dishes focused on regional American cuisines. Chef Francis Hogan has already made stops this month in Kentucky and Mississippi, and next up, tonight, we move to the East Coast with a clam-heavy Rhode Island menu. See more details below, and note that prices will vary depending on the menu, and the restaurant's regular menu will be available as well.
RHODE ISLAND - May 23rd
Rhode Island-Style Clam Chowder, Smoked Clam Johnny Cakes, Clam & Bacon Pizza Strips
MARYLAND - May 30th
Crispy Soft Shell Crabs
Blue Crab Cake, Old Bay Roasted Potatoes, Braised Red Kale, Roasted Garlic Hollandaise
Smith Island Cake
DELAWARE - June 6th
Roasted Half Chicken
Smoked Peach Chutney, Sour Milk, Biscuits, Wilted Escarole