Chef Michael Rotondo has just in the past month taken the helm at Parallel 37, following last fall’s departure of longtime Ritz chef Ron Siegel (now at Michael Mina). Rotondo was previously executive chef at Charlie Trotter’s in Chicago, and he brings with him a wealth of skill and a host of influences, from work at the Four Seasons in Palm Beach, Florida, to a stint at Paul Bocuse in France — he also competed in the Bocuse d’Or on the U.S. team in 2008. Like many chefs newly arrived in the Bay Area, he says he feels “like a kid in a candy store with all the great produce,” and this week we were able to get a taste of his new menu, which has a number of ambitious surprises, Asian accents, and inventive flavor combinations.
For reference, the full menu is here. Rotondo offers an eight-course tasting option, featuring a selection dishes from this menu, for $135 per person.
Things kicked off with a selection of four bites, all versions of the smaller plates on the current menu. Clockwise from top left: spicy fried artichoke heart with tarragon-yogurt and little gem lettuce; fresh uni with eggplant and carrot; chicken foot “banh mi”; kampachi crudo with kumquats and pnzu emulsion
with watermelon radish, pickled elephant garlic, and smoked sunchoke ice cream
with mango, scallion kimchi, and fish sauce
with parmesan cream, yuzu gel, herbed flatbread, and arugula blossoms (our favorite dish of the evening)
with thai basil linguini, green tomato, and crispy dried fennel
a twist on a potato salad, with caramelized milk, tatsoi, wilted red chard, arugula, and the potato prepared three ways.
with smoked spinach risotto and young leeks
both breast and neck, served with braised kombu, and bamboo shoots
with green curry, coconut milk, crisped rice, and tomatillo
with fresh ricotta, lavender-white chocolate ganache, creme fraiche sorbet, and lemon