Ingredients that you thought died with the Summer of Love are alive and well on the most boundary-pushing menus in town. If you feel the need to satisfy your inner hippie, here are a few suggestions:
Sprouts: Commonwealth’s (2224 Mission St., at 18th St., 415-355-1500) Jason Fox sprouts and puffs quinoa for his sea urchin with corn to create texture on the plate. Others to try: sprouted French lentils with AQ’s (1085 Mission St., near 7th St., 415-341-9000) aged squab, or pea sprouts with Brasserie S&P’s (222 Sansome Street, near Pine St., 415-986-2020) grilled Duroc pork loin chop.
Grains: At Outerlands, (4001 Judah St., at 45th Ave., 415-661-6140) Brett Cooper uses oats to play into the natural sweetness of glazed young carrots. Bar Tartine co-chef Cortney Burns likes using buckwheat in the graham cracker crust of cheesecake.
Tofu: Chef Jeff Banker makes silken tofu to pair with Maine lobster at Baker & Banker (1701 Octavia St., at Bush St., 415-351-2500). The only yuba sausage around is a special at the Plant, where a bean curd casing wraps black rice and beets.
Seeds: Melissa Perello adds nigella seeds to lavash for charred spring-onion dip at Frances (3870 17th St., at Pond St., 415-621-3870). But the creativity prize goes to SPQR’s (1911 Fillmore St., at Wilmot St., 415-771-7779) Matthew Accarrino, who makes pasta with flax seeds and coats it in brilliant squash blossom pesto.
Originally published in the August 2013 issue of San Francisco