Be on the lookout for new miso dishes in San Francisco. A group of chefs from five restaurants — Oliveto, Bix, Boulevard, Yoshi’s, and Perbacco — went to Japan this year on a junket and learned all about the fermented soybean paste. Back in the states, they’re using it in all kinds of unexpected ways. We got an early look at some of these dishes, so watch the slideshow to see what else miso can do besides be in soup.
Boulevard’s Ravi Kapur has started using red miso in a sauce for local albacore tuna, serving it with miso-cured radishes and turnips. Meanwhile, Staffan Terje has started using it in the background of many dishes he serves at Perbacco — infusing it in vegetable stock for ricotta gnocchi, enhancing red wine-braised short-ribs, including it in the marinade for his hangar steak. “I don’t go out on the menu and say, ‘this is miso-braised’ because we’re traditional Italian, but it is a flavor-enhancer,” he said.
At Bix, Bruce Mason Hill serves black cod with Hog Island clams, chanterelles, and fregola in a miso broth. He also serves tomato salad with a miso/black garlic dressing. “It’s a crazy foil to the tomatoes,” he said. In Oakland, Paul Canales braises pork belly with miso at Oliveto. He called it an “analogue” to rich foods like anchovies or butter. On both sides of the bay, Sho Kamio — the only Japanese member of the group — uses the stuff in probably the most unconventional way of all: Miso ice cream.
As for the trip, Ravi Kapur tells us it was pretty heavily organized, but the chefs got a chance to cut loose all the same. “We had Sho with us and he’s from that area, so the days were pretty organized, but the nights were for partying.”