If you've ever had an interest in dining at the Mediterranean-Persian restaurant Zaré at Fly Trap, March 19 would be a great night to consider. That's when chef/owner Hoss Zaré is attempting what he calls the biggest meal he's ever done in his life in honor of Norooz, the Persian New Year and start of spring. He's offered a single seating with communal tables and family-style offerings to mark the 13-day holiday over the past four years, but this year he's changing it up to allow diners to book their own tables at their chosen hour for a special seven-course meal inspired by the seven elements of the haft-sin, a ceremonial table adorned with symbols of positive wishes for the new year.
With a limited number of tables available (he thinks he'll accommodate 30-40 people overall before declaring it sold out), he hopes to really focus on the complex details in the courses as well as to play storyteller and talk to his guests about each element of the haft-sin and what they represent -- wishes such as wealth and beauty.
"I can almost give them a home away from home experience," he says of the change in format, which also plays on the Italian Feast of the Seven Fishes.
Growing up in Iran, Zaré always looked forward to this holiday, as it was the time of year where everyone, regardless of spiritual background, celebrated the same positive event.
"It was fascinating for me as a kid that there was one thing in common that we all celebrate," he recalls. "It is a very special day for everybody."
He is also inspired by the 12 days of Christmas dinners at Meadowood in Napa, and hopes to adapt it to Norooz.
"My goal one day is to do 13 days of new year celebrations," he says. "12 dinners here at the restaurant, and on the 13th day I'll have a big picnic where everybody comes and brings their own food for me to prepare."
Norooz Menu at Zaré at Fly Trap
Smoked potato coins, poached lobster, black sturgeon caviar, apple salad, saffron butter foam
Parsnip soup, Dungeness crab, sumac, angelica
Duck egg brulée, scrambled yolk, uni, black garlic aioli, garlic scapes
Sekenjebeen & Persian cucumber granita, melon, verbena
Cabbage dolma, pheasant confit, toasted filbert, beluga lentil, fennel broth, huckleberry oil
Spring lamb two ways: rack of lamb, lamb cheeks, fresh garbanzo, cauliflower torshi, lotus root chips, bone marrow aioli
Chocolate orange truffle, pistachio goat cheesecake, Persian saffron ice cream