The 25-seat Tenderloin bistro Huxley, which opened last fall, is the debut effort of Kris Esqueda (Saison, Sons & Daughters) and executive chef Sara Hauman (Bar Agricole). Its rustic, heartfelt menu includes the charred squid salad, full of California staples such as avocado, cilantro, and mint. The simple dish can be tailored to fit any season: Substitute chickpeas with lentils or quinoa for a hearty, cold-weather meal or, Hauman recommends, wait for summer to add sweet tomatoes for the perfect picnic salad.
Charred Squid Salad
4 medium squid, cleaned
1/4 cup cooked chickpeas
1/4 avocado diced
1. Heat a cast iron pan or grill pan until it begins to smoke.
2. Place the squid bodies and tentacles on the pan and char both sides.
3. While the squid is searing, mix the chickpeas, avocado, and as much cilantro and mint as you desire in a bowl, with a pinch of salt and lemon.
4. Add the squid to the bowl and mix thoroughly. Try to avoid smashing the avocado.
5. Place all of the contents onto a serving dish. Add a dollop of aioli. Enjoy.
Huxley: 846 Geary (at Larkin); 415-800-8223