Have you ever visited a restaurant where the appetizer and small plate selections are so darned appealing that it’s hard to choose an entrée? When I’m faced with that dilemma, I simply build my dinner out of lots of nibbles. Here’s five I particularly like:
Trio of Bruschetta
58 ° and Holding Co.
Like bruschetta? Chef F.J. Villalobos of 58 ° and Holding Co. offers a “ Trio of Bruschetta,” with seven varieties from which to choose. My favorites include the mushroom confit and caramelized onion béchamel; and the Mission fig compote with Laura Chenel chèvre and toasted pecans.
Macaroni & Cheese
Selland’s Very Adult Version of macaroni and cheese features a blend of four cheeses and is generously sprinkled with buttery toasted bread crumbs. Nurturing, crusty, and sinfully delicious, I like to pair it with a good glass of Chardonnay.
Hawaiian Ahi Poke
This luscious little plate showcases moist chunks of fresh Ahi tuna piled atop sticky rice, embellished with thin slices of Japanese pickled cucumbers, sweet onions and crushed macadamia nuts. If you’re still hungry, don’t miss the stellar almond-crusted prawns.
Think sweetbreads are icky? Head out to Elk Grove’s charming Boulevard Bistro and sample the kitchen’s celestial, tender veal sweetbreads, sautéed with shiitake mushrooms in an eye-rollingly delicious, velvety red wine-thyme sauce, and I guarantee you’ll be a convert.
If you like fried calamari, you’ll swoon over chef Rick Mahan’s frito misto – battered and deep-fried Gulf shrimp, thinly-sliced fennel and lemon, red bell peppers, chickpeas (garbanzo beans) and anchovies…served up with a garlicky aioli sauce. Wash it down with a cold pint of Anchor Steam Ale.