Spring is when local asparagus is at its seasonal best. Check out the five spots below if you want to do a tasting tour of some of the best and freshest preparations showcasing one of the greenest of green vegetables.
Yum Yai Salad - Kin Khao
The name of this new, Union Square Thai spot means "eat rice," but one of the menu highlights is this brilliant and multi-textured salad (pictured), which currently includes shaved and tempura-fried asparagus, as well as fried kale, squash, carrots, and greens, dressed with a fantastic, spicy chili-jam dressing with a hint of fish sauce.
Asparagus and Beet Salad - Alta CA
Chef Yoni Levy has created this simple but unusual combination of shaved and grilled asparagus with golden and red beets, tossed with a tangy and acidic rosemary vinaigrette, and accompanied by another, more herbal and lemony tarragon vinaigrette. It's all about the interplay of asparagus's raw and vegetal flavors with its chustnutty flavors when charred.
Asparagus, Brown Butter, and Egg - Cotogna
At Cotogna, as in previous years, they're serving a rustic roasted asparagus dish, doused in brown butter, and topped with a runny, lightly fried farm egg. The ultimate brunch-for-dinner dish, and there's nothing that compliments the mild bitterness of asparagus than sweet, rich, nutty brown butter.
Delta Asparagus Soup and Grilled Asparagus - Fog City
There's not one but two dishes on the starters menu at the recently revamped Fog City (formerly Fog City Diner). First, a puree of Delta asparagus in soup form, brightened with lemon yogurt and basil, and served with rye croutons; and second, a simple dish of grilled asparagus, again dressed with a runny egg yolk made here into a smoky vinaigrette, and topped with shaved radishes and crispy shallots.
Chicory Lettuce Salad with Roasted Asparagus - Frances
For the last few weeks, chef Melissa Perello has been adding roasted asparagus tips to her bagna cauda-inspired chicory salad. It's a fantastic combo, rounded out with cipollini onions, broccoli romanesco, fried capers, and an umami-rich, Caesar-ish dressing of anchovy, vinegar, and parmesan.