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Restaurant menus revisit compound butters

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Girasol Restaurant's Lovage Butter. Photo: Girasol

Many chefs around the country are discovering what a dollop of compound butter can add to a dish. Blends include jerky, pumpkin seeds, saffron, black truffle, hot sauce and maple, caviar, miso and more. These creative combinations are ideal for enhancing breads, meats, pastas and vegetables. Celebrate the richness of butter by updating this classic concept, ranging from savory to sweet with spicy, salty, umami and herbaceous notes.

Bread spreads: Buttermilk biscuits at Willie Jane in Los Angeles are served with burnt orange honey butter, while at Commander’s Palace in New Orleans, the Creole Cuban Sandwich featuring pork shoulder on crusty French bread gets a boost from whipped Creole mustard butter. And to wake up customers’ taste buds at the Squeaky Bean in Denver, English muffins with thinly shaved ham are topped with coffee butter and a honey drizzle. Meanwhile, house-made bread at Girasol in Los Angeles is accompanied by herbaceous lovage butter, and Bacon Cheddar Biscuits at 1833 Restaurant in Monterey, CA, are served with maple chili butter.

Beef and butter: At Brennan’s of Houston, the cast iron-seared Ranch Strip Forestiere is served with black truffle butter, while Anticucho Beef Filet at Picca in Los Angeles is accompanied by sea urchin butter and garlic two ways.

Butter meets the sea: Seafoods, too, are compatible with compound butter flavors such as the Lobster Bolognese fresh linguine served with heirloom tomatoes and coral butter at Firefly in Los Angeles. Chipotle Shrimp & Waffles at Kachina Southwestern Grill in Westminster, CO, get a boost from chipotle butter, while the Black Skillet Roasted Black Gulf Fish at Café Adelaide in New Orleans is accompanied by spicy roasted shellfish butter. Whole Roasted Shrimp at Found in Chicago is served with a winter citrus salad and blood orange butter.

Chicken-friendly butter: At Tart in Los Angeles, Buttermilk Fried Chicken and Waffles are served with Tabasco-Maple Butter, while the Family Fried Chicken Sunday Dinner at Gemini Bistro in Chicago comes with fresh biscuits and house-churned honey butter that is hung in cheese cloth and dried for two days.

Mushrooms and more: At Niche in Clayton, MO, Hen of the Woods Mushrooms are basted in apple cider, with radish, parsnip, preserved lemon Hollandaise and aged butter made by aging the cream before churning. In Chicago at Mott St., oyster mushrooms are pan-seared with thyme and miso butter. At Sepia, also in Chicago, Ricotta Cavatelli is served with favas, ramps, stinging nettles and bone marrow butter.

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