Looking for something different? Two beloved restaurants covering opposite ends of the food spectrum — Spanish Basque cuisine and Korean BBQ —in recently launched monthly dinners that offer a change of pace from their regular nights.
Modeled after hotel dinners in Northern Spain and Southwestern France's Basque region where locals and travelers meet and mingle over wine and platters of food in local hotels, Piperade, long our great Spanish/Basque restaurant, just kicked off their inaugural Basque Hotel Dinner Series on March 23 in the restaurant's Lauburu private room. Chef-owner Gerald Hirigoyen, a native of France's Basque region, has long served regional greats at Piperade but is using these dinners to show off more regional dishes and interpretations.
Sneak Peek: The communal table format allows you to meet fellow diners, including a number of expats from Spain. The first dinner hosted Bodegas Vivanco wines from Spain's iconic Rioja region, which is also home to a unique wine museum and cultural center. The wines were fantastic and the winemaker was out from Spain himself, sharing stories with the room about each wine as we dined. Hirigoyen and team's dishes might include the likes of a gratifying twice-cooked oxtail atop lush foie gras (pictured below), given perk from pickled pepper salpicon (diced and salsalike).
Details: The first dinner was priced at $100 per person for five courses and eight wine pairings and included tax and gratuity. Future dinners will vary a bit in price — some will be plated courses, others will be family-style platters.
1015 Battery St.; 415-391-2555
Oxtail and foie at Piperade [Photo Source: Virginia Miller]
Namu Gaji recently kicked off a monthly Korean barbeque-themed dinner party on Mondays with two seatings. Normally closed Mondays, the restaurant becomes a festive party once a month at one long table with rounds of soju and succulent grilled meats. The Lee brothers, Daniel and David, serve guests themselves while brother and chef Dennis mans the grill (pictured top). The goal? Bring excellent Korean BBQ to SF in a communal setting. Watch for other special dinners at Namu Gaji, like a Food of Taiwan dinner on Monday, April 6.
Sneak Peek: You won't leave hungry. Starting off with banchan (small dishes/snacks), including kimchi, you move on to small plates that might include the likes of uni toast, sashimi and salad, then a soothing, flavor-packed tofu stew (soon doo boo), followed by four heaping rounds of binchotan charcoal-kissed grilled meats with lettuce leaves and condiments. Family recipes (galbi, spicy pork ribs, pork belly, etc.) utilize Devil’s Gulch pork and Masami beef. You can order wine, beer, sake and soju from their regular drink menu if you want more than the communal bottles of soju.
Details: The dinners are ticketed, for purchase via Brown Paper Tickets, with two communal seatings: 5:30-7:30 PM and 8-10 PM. Ticket price includes food, soju, service charge, tax and gratuity.