Five-month-old Stones Throw has, in its short life, become noted as a popular neighborhood and destination restaurant, with former Michael Mina sous chef Jason Halverson offering sophisticated yet hearty and playful fare. The toad in the hole lasagna (pictured) is a great example of his style: a remix of the simple toast-with-an-egg staple, taken to fine dining heights. Housemade pasta is fused together with meaty mushroom duxelles (cooked with onions, shallots and herbs) and creamy ricotta. The egg that's placed into a hole cut in the top has been slowly confit, so when it's tapped, the yolk flow is rich and luxurious, rife for dipping with the parmesan crisps served at its side. And this isn't your typical carb-heavy Italian lasagna either: sauteed asparagus, turnips, radishes, royal trumpet mushrooms, green garlic and pickled red onions give the dish a feeling of emerging spring.
Now that this amazing lasagna riff has your attention, let's talk about Stones Throw's strong commitment to local charity. The restaurant collects public donations of canned food for the last 10 days of each month, and on the last Monday night of each month, chef Halverson gives up his kitchen to a guest chef and wine expert for Eat Like a Chef, Drink Like a Somm, a dinner where 100% of proceeds are donated to the SF-Marin Food Bank. Partner and GM Ryan Cole says that the Stones Throw staff spends three hours volunteering directly at the food bank on the morning of each event, "to make the experience full circle."
The Eat Like a Chef dinner changes each month but the unifying concept is that diners will experience a meal that a chef would prepare for friends or family on a night off. The next installment will star Alexander's Steakhouse executive chef Marc Zimmerman and wine director Johnny Slamon on April 28. This is followed by A16 on May 19 (it's early next month due to Memorial Day) and Perbacco on June 30. Five courses cost $99 (inclusive of tax and gratuity), with an optional wine pairing for $65. If the inaugural event with AQ's Mark Liberman is any indication, the dinners will all be a lively, delicious and charitable way to experience a super seasonal, partially family style meal. If you just drop in for a drink or bite from the regular menu on those nights, 100% of the proceeds will also be donated. It's a business model to applaud.