We're almost at the end of Dungeness crab season here in the Bay Area, but you can still see crab in various forms on menus all over town. One of the more inspired yet old-timey takes I've seen in recent weeks is the version of the classic Filet Oscar, in which filet mignon is topped with crab and hollandaise.
The original dish, Veal Oscar, dates to 1897 and the World's Fair in Stockholm Sweden, in which a fried fillet of veal was topped with lobster tail and garnished with bright choron sauce, which is a tomatoey version of bearnaise. The sauce was piped on the plate in a circle for the letter O, and meant to symbolize the royal mantle of King Oscar of Sweden. Filet Oscar became a modern derivative of the surf-and-turf dish using crab.
At Burritt Room + Tavern, executive chef Luke Knox is doing his version with a nod toward citrus season in California, brightening and modernizing his hollandaise with blood orange. And the steak comes served with blood orange suprémes as garnish, blood orange powder, as well some earthy braised and charred endive. It's a comforting, nostalgic sort of steakhouse dish that, in Knox's version, becomes more elegant and less rich without the dollop of traditional hollandaise.
Check it out before crab season is over, which could be any day now and after which they may just start using lobster.
Burritt Room + Tavern - 417 Stockton Street, 2nd Floor, inside the Mystic Hotel