3/12/2013 04:10:00 PM

Where to Find Passover Seders and Provisions in the SF Bay Area

Passover doesn’t start until March 25, but if you wait that long to make reservations (or secure your caterer), all you’re gonna be eating is chopped liver. Luckily, we’re happy to report that the list of gourmet Pesach purveyors is growing strong. Here are our Chosen Ones.

Perbacco: Like the sun setting in the west, Jewish foodies can count on enjoying an Italian-inspired Passover meal at Perbacco prepared by guest chef and author Joyce Goldstein. This year marks Goldstein’s sixth helming the stoves to craft a four-course “cucina Ebraica” holiday feast inspired by her cookbook of the same name with highlights that include Jewish-style fried artichokes, Passover soup with chicken and dumplings, lamb or vegetable stew and family-style plates of antipasti and dolci (March 27, $49 per person, for reservations, call 415-955-0663).

Rosa Mexicano: Yes, there is a rich Jewish culture in Mexico, so if you’re from those parts or simply want to enjoy a new spin on the old seder plate and Passover classics, head to the Downtown outpost of this Mexican juggernaut that will be preparing its 11th-annual Mexican Passover à la carte menu. Offered every night of the holiday, special items include beef marrow matzo ball pozole soup, taco de gribenes y huevo de pato (crispy chicken cracklings, sliced duck and mustard salsa verde), roast saddle of lamb stuffed with quince, pomegranate and cilantro, banana-leaf wrapped barbecue beef brisket and Grandma Shapiro’s strudel à la Mexicana with tropical fruit and chocolate chipotle with whipped cream (offered from March 25 through April 2, for reservations, call 415- 874-4300).

Delfina: Craig Stoll’s Mission Italian doesn’t host a formal seder, and it’s not even kosher, but don’t let that stop you from celebrating Passover at his hot spot where he sprinkles in Stoll family holiday chestnuts (including his walnut-centered matzo balls) into his regular, nightly Italian menu. Freshly baked matzo (courtesy of Beauty’s Bagel Shop in Oakland), beef brisket, spring lamb, matzo toffee, kosher beer and wine and their annual “Edible Seder Plate” - six traditional items prepared in not-so-traditional ways - round out the à la carte offerings (March 25-April 2; to reserve, call 415-552-4055).

Firefly: Chef-owner Brad Levy’s annual restaurant Passover spread is a family-inclusive affair catered to omnivores, vegetarians and even the gluten-intolerant. This year’s à la carte options will include the usual delicious suspects: housemade gefilte fish, chopped chicken liver, charoset, matzo ball soup, hormone-free brisket, spring vegetables with matzo kugel and mushroom sauce and even optional gluten-free matzo, along with seasonal supplements from chef de cuisine Gabriel Sanders and the not-so-kosher house pot stickers (March 25-April 2, to reserve, call 415-821-7652). 

Baker & Banker: Throughout Passover week, the husband-and-wife team behind this Pac Heights bistro will offering a supplemental holiday à la carte menu that will include traditional favorites such as matzo ball soup, brisket and flourless chocolate cake, all made way better than you’re your bubbe ever did (March 25-April 2, to reserve, call 415-351-2500).

Wise Sons Jewish Deli: Oy! Tickets for the community seders (being held March 25-28) at this smoking-hot Jewish deli in the Mission went like flatbreads, but you can still get yourself on the wait list and start davening. However, you can still get the reimagined Pescach goods - charoset, dill pickles, chopped liver, briskets, beets, gefilte fish, matzo ball soup, housemade matzo courtesy of Beauty’s Bagel Shop, etc. - catered for your own Passover seder, so long as you place your order by March 18 (see the complete order form online or call 415-787-3354).

Comal: Over in Berkeley, chef Matt Gandin will be hosting two seated Mexican-inspired dinners to mark the first two days of Passover. Although not a seder per se (guests will forgo the haggadahs in favor or convivial conversation), the multicourse family-style meals (offered on March 25 and March 26) will start promptly at 6:30 PM and be served family-style, and will feature the likes of guac and chips, jalapeño matzo ball soup, lamb barbacoa quesadilla, beef brisket in adobo, tequila-cured salmon and honey walnut bread. Following in the Sephardic tradition, the meal will also come accompanied by achiote rice, black beans and housemade corn tortillas (Dinner is limited to 20 guests a night and costs $60 per person, inclusive of gratuity but exclusive of beverages, and can be purchased online - March 25 here or March 26 here).

Saul’s Restaurant and Deli: For a good ol' seder like your bubbe made, head to this Berkeley stalwart. It’ll be closed on the first night of Passover (open for takeout until 6 PM) but will be hosting a sit-down dinner in the dining room on March 26-March 30. The sit-down meals include a complete seder plate, plus a choice of holiday aperitifs, appetizers, main and dessert, plus one glass of wine, tea and coffee, but guests are encouraged to bring their own haggadah ($50 per adult, $17 for kids under 12; reserve here). You can also order the whole megilla to go, to be picked up on March 24 and 25; see the take-out menu here.

Beauty’s Bagel Shop: Their housemade wood-fired matzo will be featured throughout the Bay Area on sundry Passover menus, but from March 26-March 31, you can enjoy the usual delicacies in-house at this Berkeley-based Montreal-style bagel and appetizing shop: gefilte fish, chrain (aka horseradish), charoset, chopped chicken liver, matzo ball soup (chicken or vegetarian) and macaroons. Holiday items can also be preordered for catering for the first two nights of Passover so long as they are ordered by March 21 (for more info and the complete catering menu, check online or call 510-788-6098).

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