Home in Soquel features local seasonal ingredients and head-to-tail butchery. Chef and owner Brad Briske has been at Home’s helm for the last five years, after originally attending a vegan culinary school and then interning at a vegan fine dining spot in San Francisco. Witnessing his first pig harvest inspired a paradigm shift and gave him a passion for meat and utilizing the entire animal. Open Thursday-Sunday from 4-9pm, they also sell their food at the three local farmers markets. Briske spoke to GT recently about the restaurant itself and some of their signature high-end offerings.
Talk about your menu and ambiance, and why the name?
BRAD BRISKE: The name was inspired by my feeling at home here in Santa Cruz, and this is the first time I’ve had the opportunity to be an executive chef on my own. And also, the restaurant was originally and literally a house in Soquel. Ironically, we try to serve food at Home that people don’t make at home. And I would say the ambiance is very much classic, rustic, and eclectic and pays homage to the surrounding town.
What are a few flagship favorites from the menu?
My personal favorite is our squid ink spaghetti, featuring pork belly from the whole pig we buy once a week and sustainably farmed West Coast shellfish. The sauce is the most important part, it has fermented chiles, miso, honey, and Tanuki (a local hard cider). It’s a sweet, spicy, and savory broth that really highlights local coastal California flavors. Another popular dish is our local grass-fed beef cheeks which undergo a very long and involved cooking process. They are served in a dried porcini mushroom pinot noir demi glace with our ricotta gnocchi and gorgonzola kale cream sauce. Beef cheeks are a tough part of the animal to cook, but that’s kind of showcasing our head-to-tail philosophy. If you’ve never tried them, they are tender, delicious, and reminiscent of the best parts of a short rib with that meaty fall-apart quality. We’re also famous for our fried chicken, which is crusted with rice flour and Monterey Bay seaweed. It’s very crispy, even the next morning, and the seaweed adds a good bit of umami. It’s served with anchovy aioli, kind of like a tuna fish sandwich in a sauce, and fresh herbs from our garden out back.
3101 N. Main St., Soquel, 831-431-6131; homesoquel.com.