As we heard a few weeks ago, a new chef de cuisine has taken the helm at Melissa Perello's Pac Heights restaurant Octavia, and that is former Huxley and Mister Jiu's chef Sara Hauman. The 2016 Chronicle Rising Star earned raves for her work at Huxley, and then landed a semi-finalist slot in this year's James Beard Awards in the Rising Star category. Now Hauman is putting her stamp on the Octavia menu as the restaurant changes things up for summer, and one of the standout dishes I'd like to point you to is her grilled local calamari, which is served with green farro, pancetta, sugar snap peas, kimchi, crunch breadcrumbs, cilantro, and mint. It's a California-meets-Asia take on grilled squid, and it's an inspired winner.
The tender and sweet squid is dressed in the bold flavors that Perello's restaurants have become known for, this time with Mediterranean ingredients combining with kimchi from Korea and cilantro and mint from Southeast Asia, enhanced with the added textures of farro, snap peas, and breadcrumbs.
Still on the menu are some of Perello's original hits from the opening menu, like the chilled squid ink noodles with bottarga, and the "deviled egg" served with Fresno chile relish. But some other can't-miss new dishes from Hauman include a delicious Watson Farm lamb tartare with English peas and charred black olives.
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