Review: Marin Mondays @ Picco Restaurant, Larkspur

The 10-hour pork shoulder looks and tastes like pork belly, although this California-sized portion might not pass muster in the South. With everything else on the menu, however, it was plenty of swine, and the rich sauce certainly added some weight to this particular dish. The baked cranberry beans, which provide the bed underneath, were perfectly cooked.

I have friends who live in Marin County who are mighty quick to dismiss the culinary options north of the Golden Gate. It is puzzling, in my mind, that such an affluent community has so few top-notch dining options in the area. Aside from Sushi Ran in Sausalito, I really feel that the Marin County conversation begins and ends with with Picco Restaurant in Larkspur. Fortunately for the citizens of Marin County, Picco happens to deliver on several levels: Not only does the main restaurant feature some very admirable, über-seasonal California cuisine, but the adjoining pizza parlor, Picco Pizzeria, often ranks as one of the top pie joints in the entire Bay Area (as it should). Based upon the heavy, late afternoon traffic that I noticed there yesterday, Picco Pizzeria really seems to be the “it” choice of the moment. However, I decided to visit the main restaurant for Marin Monday, a weekly prix fixe menu ($35) which showcases foodstuffs from some of Marin County’s greatest local purveyors, including Tomales Bay Oysters and Marin Sun Farms meats. For this week’s menu, Picco offered a hodge-podge of “backyard BBQ” goodness, which is scanned and listed below:

Aside from the sundae, all four items are brought out at once, and presented on a small pizza peel. As for the menu itself, some people might roll their eyes at the egregious name-dropping, but I'm all for it.

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The chili-lime sweet corn was a true highlight, really incredible in every possible way. Kudos to chef-owner Bruce Hill for including two cobs on each plate -- one cob would've just been a tease.

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Although feta doesn't really do much for me, I can appreciate some local cheese in the mix. I see "pressed melon" on so many menus these days.

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The inclusion of a PLT sandwich (where P = House-cured Prosciutto) is always welcome, even if it's not a typical side. Or is the pork shoulder the side?

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I'm not a huge fan of chocolate-covered strawberries, which is the classic flavor profile that this sundae encompasses. That said, I am okay with it -- if that's how it's gonna be. Truthfully, I finished this dessert with little effort, but I'd probably order straight hot fudge the next time. That's more my style.

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