Brannan’s Grill welcomed a new chef over the summer who launched a new menu focusing on small, shareable plates, lending the restaurant to alter its name to Brannan’s Social Dining and Cocktails.
Chef Colin Curtis worked most recently at Willi’s Wine Bar in Santa Rosa that also serves small plates designed to be shared and paired with wine.
“That’s his passion, small plates,” said Ron Goldin, co-owner of Brannan’s.
The menu is divided into three categories; farmland (vegetarian based), briny (seafood based) and chow (pork, lamb, chicken and beef). About 80 percent of the menu is considered “farm to table” with ingredients coming from about 30 local farms, some that specialize in only one or two things.
Curtis likes getting ingredients from “people that care about clean food” – food that is raised organically and with passion. The small plate concept is enjoyable because he likes to share, and because he likes touching food many of the plates can be eaten with your hands.
“It’s almost like a relationship … it calculates in your brain as something more sensual,” he said.
Co-owners Ron Goldin and Mark Young recently hosted a group of wine, food and lifestyle writers who sampled a variety of the new menu items, who oohed and aahed over the dishes, some of which are mentioned below.
From the “farmland” came Tenbrink Farms heirloom tomato salad with burrata cheese, pea shoots and extra virgin olive oil ($12). The Old Bay seasoned crispy tempura green beans were served with a goat cheese ranch dressing and Aleppo pepper ($9.50). The smashed avocado bruschetta had iberico cheese and preserved lemon on it, the lemon giving it a bit of brightness ($11).
The savory carrots with feta cheese, brown butter, mint, pomegranate molasses and pine nuts ($10) was a crowd-pleaser, as was the tomato soup shooters with grilled cheese sandwiches ($10).
Off the “briny” section came ahi tuna poke tower with pine nuts, avocado and crème fraiche ($13.50), crispy coconut shrimp with “backyard” orange gremolata ($13.50), adobo grilled Hamachi tacos with house slaw and pickled onions ($13), and the tender and plump scallop “doughboys” with broken sherry butter and pea shoots ($14.50).
The “chow” menu includes such dishes as smoked and crispy fried pork riblets with Frsno chiles, Thai basil and slivered almonds ($13), grilled “Moroccan style” lamb chops with curry-mint pesto, couscous and apricot salad ($16), crispy “Pinxto” chicken thighs with dried cherries, goat cheese and pistachio quinoa, and agro dolce ($13.50), or dry aged flatiron steak with chimchurri, brown butter béarnaise ($22.50).
There are plenty of options for any palate and Brannan’s doesn’t forget about those with a sweet tooth. Desserts (all $9) include Boylan root beer float with rum-vanilla ice cream, vanilla and port poached figs with local honey, cream and sliced almond brittle, and Vahlrona chocolate cake with Nutella mouse, rum-vanilla ice cream and cajeta caramel.
The 1897-dated Brunswick bar is fully stocked with a list of special house cocktails and “mocktails” (non-alcoholic drinks), beers and wines, including dessert wines, ports and digestives.
Brannan’s is located at 1374 Lincoln Ave. and open daily for lunch and dinner.