Trendspotting: Red Caviar as a Garnish

Salmon roe is having a moment
March 16, 2015
by Susannah Chen

Black caviar has and always will be in vogue, but right now its little sister, red caviar, is having a moment. Red caviar are the fish eggs, or roe, of salmon; the ingredient has always been a key part of Japanese cuisine, where it’s known as ikura, but lately, we’ve been noticing non-sushi-chefs turn to the jewel-like ingredient to add a luxe touch to any dish without the hefty price tag, as well as an unmistakable pop, followed by a sweet, briny splash of the ocean. From a Mexican-Californian restaurant to a coffee shop, here are seven places serving dishes with roe right this moment.

Raw Bay Scallops at Sous Beurre Kitchen

In addition to having a fantastic beef tartare, Sous Beurre Kitchen knows its way around a raw-seafood preparation. On his early March tasting menu ($85), chef Michael Mauschbaugh was plating raw bay scallops with a celery-root custard, consommé, mustard greens, kumquats and a sprinkling of salmon roe.

2704 24th St.; 415-874-9831

Buckwheat Waffle at Linea Caffe

On weekends, Lt. Waffle, the Brussels-style waffle concept inside coffee shop Linea Caffe, serves a buckwheat waffle topped with a savory combination of crème fraîche, cucumber, dill and salmon roe ($9).

3417 18th St.; 415-590-3011

Caviar-Topped Deviled Egg at Urchin Bistrot

One of the “snacks” at Urchin Bistrot, Hiro Sone and Lissa Doumani’s take on a modern Paris bistro, is a deviled egg ($6) topped with the flavors of the sea: sea urchin, when in season, or shrimp, and always a spoonful of red caviar.

584 Valencia St.; 415-861-1844

“Chips and Salsa” at Californios

If you head to Val Cantu’s new restaurant, Californios, you might begin his tasting menu ($57) with his dreamy preparation of chips and salsa, prepared using nixtamalization, a process of soaking and cooking corn in an alkaline lime water solution for maximum crunch. The corn-and-rice chip is alive with lime and pops with dollops of roe, fermented pepper cream, and black bean.

3115 22nd St.; 415-757-0994

“Eggs, Eggs, Eggs” at Cockscomb

At Chris Cosentino’s three-month-old Cockscomb, he serves a playful take on eggs served three different ways, with soft-boiled chicken eggs, an eggy tarragon aïoli and a garnish of salmon eggs ($14).

564 Fourth St.; 415-974-0700

Spammy Fries at Sammy’s Aloha

Sammy’s Aloha, the Hawaiian-inspired lunch window inside Butterfly Restaurant, serves a creation it calls Spammy fries ($4), made with fried sushi rice, ikura and a showering of Spam.

The Embarcadero, Pier 33; 415-864-8999 

Atlantic Halibut at Pläj

Fish eggs are a popular Scandinavian ingredient, and they’re showcased at the Nordic-leaning Pläj in an Atlantic halibut dish, which is brought to life with mushrooms, parsley and a cream sauce that’s topped with red caviar.

333 Fulton St.; 415-294-8925

under the radar