Mild temperatures and the onset of daylight saving time seemed to signal the arrival of spring ingredients on menus. In the last week, restaurants launched new dishes and drinks showcasing asparagus, peas, microgreens, fresh herbs and berries—a smart way to grab winter-weary customers. Also on the culinary radar: an unusual St. Patrick’s Day mashup and an Easter pie.
Fig & Olive, a polished French Riviera-inspired restaurant with eight locations, launched a spring menu with seven new seasonal items. Primavera Risotto features asparagus, peas and pea shoots; asparagus also shows up in Burrata & Asparagus, with snow peas, arugula and a micro-basil blood-orange dressing rounding out the dish. The vegetables require minimal treatment to highlight their flavor and tenderness, notes executive chef Wilfrid Hocquet, who developed the recipes. Among other items on the menu are Provencal Carrot & Thyme Soup, Crab Salad and Clementine Vacherin with blood orange coulis and white chocolate mousse.
Spring Pea & Asparagus Soup
Spring Pea & Asparagus Soup again spotlights peas and asparagus—as sure a sign of the season as robins and daffodils. Fogo de Chão incorporates the vegetables into a creamy soup, enriched with grated Parmesan, garlic and lemon. Other new items appearing on the chain’s seasonal Market Table include Edamame Roasted Corn Salad and Forbidden Black Rice, designed to go with the Brazilian-style roasted and grilled meats. A Lavender Southside gin cocktail and Caramelized Pineapple Old Fashioned are debuting at the bar.
Spring Arugula Salad
Spring Arugula Salad rolled out at the 21-unit Mediterranean-focused Luna Grill. Quinoa retains its star status in the ancient grain world as the base for what is a tabbouleh-inspired salad; it’s tossed with a vinaigrette along with leafy arugula, chickpeas, celery, tomato, feta cheese and roasted pumpkin seeds.
B&B Burger & Beer’s Lamb Burger is the seasonal special at this Mario Batali burger spot at The Venetian hotel in Las Vegas. The burger is sandwiched on a potato bun and includes spicy goat cheese, apricot mustard jam and grilled frisee. It’s a pricey $17, but the burger does come with the Batali pedigree.
Gin & Juice
Gin & Juice is the simple name for a cocktail with some complexity, developed by the mixologists at 28-unit RA Sushi. Available now through mid-June, the drink is a blend of gin, elderflower liqueur, cranberry juice, fresh blackberries and lemon. The flavors complement RA Sushi’s Asian menu.
Pizza Rustica Salata—a classic Italian Easter pie—is now on the menu at Potenza Ristorante in Cranston, R.I. Not anything like a pizza, the deep-dish pie is made according to chef-owner Walter Potenza’s personal recipe, which includes 15 eggs, assorted Italian salumi (ham, prosciutto, capicola, pepperoni and salami) and a variety of cheeses (ricotta, mozzarella, basket cheese and Parmesan). This Easter tradition in Italian families makes a savory addition to a brunch or bar menu any time of year.
St. Patrick's Burrito
Anna’s Taqueria gets into Boston’s Irish spirit with a St. Patrick’s Day burrito. For one day only, all of the concept’s seven locations are offering the Mexican-Irish mashup of corned beef, cabbage and carrots rolled up in a flour tortilla.