Santa Cruz Restaurant Week started yesterday and includes restaurant Assembly

“Fresh off the boat” seafood stew is one of Assembly’s three prix fixe entrée choices for Santa Cruz Restaurant Week 2016

“Fresh off the boat” seafood stew is one of Assembly’s prix fixe entrée choices for Santa Cruz Restaurant Week 2016

Santa Cruz Restaurant Week started yesterday, and continues through Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2016. Downtown Santa Cruz restaurant Assembly (1108 Pacific Ave., 831-824-6100) is one of the nearly 40 participants from across the county that have created special three-course prix fixe dinners that cost $25 or $35 depending on the venue. These SCRW menus typically include three options for each course: appetizer, entrée, and dessert. Customers choose one selection from each course.


For its $35 special menu, one of Assembly’s “starter” selection choices is Kabocha squash soup with brown butter sautéed apples, crème fraiche and fried sage. When chef/owner Kendra Baker owner Zach Davis were planning the menu, Baker was thrilled to see that Route One Farms’ Kabocha squash would be here in time for Restaurant Week. “I love sharing my favorites of the season,” said Baker. “These Japanese Pumpkins have a lovely chestnut-like sweetness and make the most velvety soup.”


Two of Assembly’s SCRW entrée selections are seafood stew and braised chicken leg. The stew, described as “fresh off the boat,” is served with potatoes, chard, zucchini, creamy polenta and a tomato-saffron broth. “As the seasons are changing my taste buds were longing for a soul-satisfying brothy seafood dish,” said Baker. “Working on developing this stew I envisioned the earthy notes of tomatoes with the saffron, oils of lemon zest, fennel and white wine being the perfect partners for the bounty of seafood we have available to us.”


The chicken entrée includes caramelized leeks, brussel sprouts, gigante beans and fried bread with a lemon butter caper sauce. There’s also a vegetarian option available. “Developing the braised chicken recipe for restaurant week, I had my father’s newfound love for capers at the age of 63 in mind,” said Baker. “He never ceases to surprise me. For the better part of my life I have known him as the iceberg lettuce and garbanzo bean salad with blue cheese dressing kind of guy.”


Baker’s partner Davis also has a new caper fan in his family. “My daughter discovered capers a couple days ago at the age of two and loves them,” said Davis. “I’m very excited to have her try this dish!”


Dessert choices for the SCRW menu include caramelized apple pie with brown sugar oat streusel and whiskey custard ice cream, and Penny Ice Creamery sorbet trio. Baker and Davis operate The Penny Ice Creamery, Picnic Basket and POPUP in addition to Assembly. In fact, a couple weeks ago they started offering some of their Picnic Basket selections at POPUP (a small storefront connected to Assembly at 1108 Pacific). These include sandwiches and cookies and are available Monday-Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.


I will post a few more SCRW highlights in the next couple days.


Restaurants that are participating in SCRW, in alphabetical order:

  • 515 Kitchen & Cocktails
  • Aquarius at the Dream Inn
  • Assembly
  • Back Nine Grill & Bar
  • Café Mare
  • Chocolate
  • Crow’s Nest
  • El Jardin
  • Gabriella Café
  • Hindquarter Bar & Grill
  • Hoffman’s Bistro & Patisserie
  • Hollins House at Pasatiempo
  • Hula’s Island Grill
  • Ideal Bar & Grill
  • Johnny’s Harborside
  • Kianti’s Pizza & Pasta Bar
  • Laili
  • Linwood’s at Chaminade Resort
  • Margaritaville
  • Michael’s on Main
  • Mozaic
  • Pearl of the Ocean
  • Red Restaurant & Bar
  • Ristorante Italiano
  • Rosie McCann’s
  • Sanderlings at Seascape Resort
  • Severino’s Bar & Grill
  • Soif
  • Solaire
  • Splash!
  • Stonehouse Bar & Grill at the Hilton Santa Cruz/Scotts Valley
  • Süda
  • The Cremer House
  • The Point Chophouse & Lounge
  • The Water St. Grill
  • Tyrolean Inn
  • Your Place
  • Zelda’s On The Beach

For more information and menus, visit the event web site at

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