Good times to come at Sweetwater’s Rock & Rye – Marin Independent Journal
Two notable restaurant openings come with the Rock & Rye reveal on August 2 at the newly renovated Sweetwater Music Hall in Mill Valley (shows to follow on September 3) and the rebirth of Tiburon Tavern at the Lodge at Tiburon which opens with limited service to starting this week.
Sweetwater’s temporary closure in March 2020 coincided with stay-at-home orders in the event of a pandemic. But it’s clear that quite a bit has happened behind the scenes, as the historic restaurant and concert hall prepare to reveal a significant reinvention that includes a new chef and menu, and a complete makeover. dining rooms.
Executive chef and restaurateur Rick Hackett arrives in Mill Valley via old Bocanova in Oakland and Florio and MarketBar in San Francisco, to name a few. He made his Bay Area debut at Chez Panisse in Berkeley in the late 1970s. But it is his travels across South America and his admiration for New Orleans Creole cuisine that will appear on his menu. of the season.
It’s not standard sea bass food, although you will find a few elevated options like the buttermilk chicken cutlet with broccolini, shallots, black olives, and aji amarillo sauce, and the NOLA burger with green onion vinaigrette, Crispy shallots, cheddar cheese and fries.
Chef Hackett has maintained his close ties with local farmers and ranchers at San Francisco’s Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, where he sources fresh produce for almond soup and marinated oysters; Butter lettuce salad with roasted beets, radish, avocado and blue cheese; and roasted stuffed heirloom tomatoes.
Meat and seafood dishes, such as braised beef ribs with sweet potato gratin, roasted garlic and maple syrup; shellfish okra with andouille, shrimp, scallops, oysters and crispy okra; and ling cod, Manhattan clam chowder with bacon, fingerling potatoes and tomatoes, balances vegetarian dishes, such as vegetable stew with eggplant, peppers and tomatoes, and bean cassoulet with sofrito, collard greens and queso fresco .
Desserts include a sweet potato cheesecake with crème fraîche, a trendy blueberry pie, and a chocolate sundae topped with spicy pecans.
The list of spirits selected from upscale bars which – unsurprisingly – includes a range of whiskeys, also features nifty cocktails with names that revive the spirit of live music that slept during the pandemic. The Feel More is a blend of reposado tequila and mezcal infused with pineapple, lime juice, ginger syrup and jalapeño; Greek contains grappa, gin, cucumber juice, lime juice, maple syrup, sea salt, parsley and olive; and the tipitini includes vodka, pickle caper brine, lemon juice, and simple syrup.
The house wines come from small, family-owned wineries operated in California and Argentina, and the beer comes from breweries in northern California. A selection of agua frescas is prepared daily.
What’s new in the lounge areas? The completely renovated outdoor patio can accommodate 50 people in a space fully protected from the elements with radiant heaters, glass windscreens and a retractable roof. The indoor cafe can seat 18 people on small marble tables. Both sections are adjacent to the existing music room with a capacity of 300.
Starting August 2, the Rock & Rye is open from 11:30 am to 9 pm on weekdays; 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. for brunch on weekends; 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturdays; and 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday at 19 Corte Madera Ave. A condensed menu will be available every evening for meals after the concert.
Acquisition of Tiburon
Renzo and Crystal Azzarello, co-owners of 8-year-old Italian restaurant Luna Blu, are expanding their footprint in downtown Tiburon by taking over Tiburon Tavern as well as room service, pool and dining operations at Lodge at Tiburon. Breakfast and bar service begins Tuesday with lunch and dinner coming over the next two to three weeks, as processes are in place and staff are fully secure.
Executive Chef Renzo Azzarello will retain his position in the kitchen at Luna Blu and has hired Executive Chef Babak Nasser at Taverne Tiburon. Azzarello makes it clear that the restaurant’s two menus are totally different, going so far as to lightly challenge Nasser to a culinary competition that pits his own menu of Sicilian seafood against Nasser’s upscale seasonal Californian cuisine.
“We’re inside a hotel where travelers want comfort food and others want a finely prepared dinner or casual bar meal, and I’ll take care of everything,” Nasser says.
His full resume seems to fully support the effort. Originally from Iran and trained in central Italy, he has made his mark in restaurants and hotels around the world. Most recently he was at the St. Regis in San Francisco and for much of his career worked at Fairmont Hotels & Resorts in Vancouver, Toronto, Santa Monica, downtown Pittsburg and San Francisco.
“I like the fast pace and I’m comfortable with everything from large production openings to boutique hotels, like in Tiburon, where my intention is to take it to the next level,” he says.
Highlights of the morning menu include more standard Egg Benedict with ham and Meyer lemon truffle hollandaise sauce and a noble version made with smoked salmon, wild salmon roe and mousseline sauce, both on a homemade English muffin; an omelet topped with mixed mushrooms, spinach and cottage cheese; and Nasser’s version of corned beef mince made with lobster poached in butter and topped with a poached egg.
Pinsa, Roman-style, oval-shaped, hand-pressed artisan pizzas made from rice flour to produce a lighter texture and superior crunch, will highlight the bar menu.
Granted, the plate-grazing ethics are customary in our county, but Nasser’s enthusiasm on the subject is infectious as he spices up the conversation about his locally sourced ingredients with superlatives.
“I am so proud to use these products because it is good for California, the environment and the world, and I want to leave this place at least as good as I found it for my children,” he says. .
The produce is sourced from regional farms via the Arcadios Produce Inc. wholesale market which he says selects the best things for him at places like Frog Hollow Farm, Full Belly Farm, Iacopi Farms and others.
He works with the small wholesale seafood distributor Ocomar Foods, which has a strong focus on sustainably sourced fish, following the recommendations of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program.
Pasture-raised meats come from Marin Sun Farms of Petaluma, Fra ‘Mani of Berkeley provides cold cuts and cheeses for Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Co. and Cowgirl Creamery.
“I refuse to work with large, impersonal companies where you can’t see and taste the quality,” he says. “I like the little guy.”
The interior of Tiburon Tavern at 1651 Tiburon Blvd. remains the same except for a table reconfiguration.
Reservations for lunch and dinner open August 15 at tiburontavern.com. The website is still under construction.
Leanne Battelle is a freelance food writer. Please email him at [email protected] with local cuisine and restaurant news and follow Instagram.com/therealdealmarin for updates on the Real Deal Marin restaurant guide reveal.