Restaurant Profile: The delightful Main Street Garden & Cafe in Soquel

Pizza at Main Street with broccoli, kale, currants, pine nuts, chili, pecorino, and cauliflower puree

Main Street Garden & Café is located in Soquel and serves top-notch food created by talented chef Brad Briske, who joined the restaurant in June 2010.

The restaurant offers an innovative, rotating menu (see current menu) and a dining experience that’s simultaneously sophisticated and down-to-earth. The atmosphere is comfortable with an open kitchen; you can choose to sit at tables where you can catch glimpses of your food being prepared. Other highlights of Main Street Garden & Café are an on-site organic garden and an outdoor pizza oven.

Chef Briske always has many creative wood-fired pizzas available, including at least one vegetarian choice such as a Spring blend of broccoli, kale, currants, pine nuts, chili, and pecorino with a cauliflower puree as a base. This combination of ingredients is absolutely delectable. Other selections have included house-made pork sausage with fennel puree and fontina.

Main Street butchers its meats and cures salamis on site;  customers can even buy selected salamis to go. For the entrees, which change frequently, Briske brines his meats. This can take up to three days and makes the meat incredibly tender. Of particular note are the restaurant’s pork dishes such as Devil’s Gulch Pork Shoulder with Route 1 Farms English peas, Live Earth Farm peppers, house-cured pork jowl, and Lindencroft Farms frisee. Briske works closely with many local farms, and creates exquisite pairings with meat and fresh, seasonal produce. Note that there are always vegetarian selections available including a homemade pasta dish.

Another dish worth mentioning: creamy Burrata cheese accompanied by warm olives, roasted garlic, and flatbread. The Castelvetrano and San Remo olives are served in oil with orange zest and the citrus provide the perfect flavor infusion.

Weekend lunch choices include pizzas as well as egg and other traditional brunch dishes. The menu does change, but past offerings have included frittatas (vegetarian featuring beets and chard, meat with goat sausage and potatoes) and French Toast.

Main Street’s beer and wine selection includes many excellent local beverages from the Santa Cruz Mountains.

Location: 3101 N. Main Street, Soquel, (831) 477-9265)

Hours: Lunch served Sat & Sun beginning at noon; Dinner served Tues-Sun starting at 5:30pm

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