The local sustainable caviar concern, the California Caviar Company, just re-debuted its Sausalito tasting room last week, rebranding it The Bump Bar. Focused on "bumps" of caviar, including one given to guests upon arrival to be licked off their own closed fist, the full-service restaurant now features a seafood-centric tasting menu in addition to caviar service and Champagne flights.
The idea seems to be not only to evoke cocaine use but also inject some "fun" into the caviar tasting experience, and strip it of its usual pomp and circumstance. Overlooking the Sausalito Yacht Harbor on the town's main drag, the 20-seat Bump Bar offers guests that first "bump" in addition to six rotating caviar and roe selections, which can be tasted with an array of traditional accompaniments like blini, hardboiled egg, and crème fraîche. There's also a seven-course tasting menu for $125 from Executive Chef Nate Tauer (Bouchon, Petit Crenn, Coi) that includes dishes like fluke crudo with white sturgeon caviar, dashi gelée, black lime, and fresh seaweed; and truffle-infused whitefish roe grilled lobster, sunchoke, celery, and fresh herbs.
There are also wine and Champagne pairings, as well as Champagne flights, featuring sparkling selections from the Old and New Worlds. And there is an a la carte menu of small plates to accompany the caviar service options.
As for the new name, owner and California Caviar Company founder Deborah Keane tells Eater, "We started doing bumps for chefs, taking it out of the tin, and placing it on the hand, because it would warm up the oils and release the flavors. [Then] we started doing 'Bumps and Bubbles' at the Pebble Beach Food & Wine Festival in 2007, and it took off — a decade later, it’s everywhere."
This is the first I'm hearing of the term "bump" connected with caviar, but if she says so!
As Keane tells the Robb Report, "That’s how I’ve always done it. And it’s really the best way to eat caviar because you can really see the differences. Once you start putting onions and blini and crème fraiche in the mix, you have a beautiful experience, but you lose a little bit of the nuances of that particular species."
Reservations for The Bump Bar can be found here, via Tock, which requires advance payment or a $50 deposit per person for a la carte experiences.
The Bump Bar - 1403 Bridgeway, Sausalito - Open Tuesday to Friday, 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.