Taverna San Marco has launched a new full liquor handcrafted cocktail program, along with an updated quick casual lunch service, lunch delivery and a private dining room available for special events and occasions.
|Southside - lemony, minty, lovely.
The new cocktail menu was designed by Brian Binniker, managing partner and bartender, who trained at Morimoto in New York. Binniker sites prohibition style recipes as one of his influences for the new menu.
At a recent media event I sampled a complimentary cocktail called the Southside, a lemony-minty concoction that claims to have been invented at New York's famed 21 Club, and found it to be charmingly refreshing and light.
|Italian Grilled Cheese - housemade mozz, tomato, pesto, ciabatta - $8
If you prefer full-service that's still available as well, with the same quality menu and some new menu items, including seasonal sandwiches. Some of the restaurant's former special features have also returned.
|Recent Daily Lunch Special - Scallops with root veg puree and risotto - $15
The culinary team makes everything from scratch - breads, pasta, cheese, sauces, etc., exhibiting a level of craftsmanship rare to come by in today's pre-fab, flash-frozen, mass-produced food world. Their traditional Neapolitan style pizza is a personal favorite, perfect to share at the bar with a Bold City Dukes Brown Ale on draft, or grab one to go, add a salad and you've got a light meal for two, no cooking required.
|Butternut Squash Soup, with apples, bacon,
pomegranate molasses, creme fraiche, sage - $6
The chef looks to our friends at Twinn Bridges Farm for herbs and a variety of seasonal vegetables, and uses all natural Angus beef, (with no antibiotics, no hormones, certified humane, and all vegetarian diet). The seafood is sourced from a local fish monger, and fish is caught locally according to the season. Efron's devotion to his craft and local, sustainable sourcing of ingredients have earned Taverna the Slow Food First Coast Snail of Approval.
Wine Director / Proprietor Kiley Wynne Efron brings an artist's sensibility and a firm passion for food and wine to the front of house operations at Taverna. A First Level Sommelier, she manages a 120+ bottle wine list (including 19 by-the-glass options) featuring Italian, Spanish, and California selections. Kiley can always be counted on to lend insight to your selection, resulting in the perfect pairing for your taste and price point.
|Expansion at Taverna includes a counter for
ordering quick casual lunches, and a private dining room.
Architect and interior design group DCOOP was employed for the expansion and remodel. The Jacksonville firm is noted for their award winning designs of Black Sheep, The Grape and Grain Exchange, and Ovinte’ at the Town Center.
A grand re-opening celebration will be held at Taverna this Friday, December 20, 2013 from 5 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Guests at this open house happy hour will be treated to a selection of new lunch items as well as one complimentary handcrafted cocktail.
:: Stepping Onto Her Soap Box ::
When I was researching this post, I was stunned to note how many of my friends had either never been, or hadn't been to Taverna in some time. Many sited the trek to and construction (now complete at the Square) in San Marco, and the parking issues which plague so many local neighborhoods. It called into focus one of the emerging truths about our restaurant scene here in Jax. We're an expansive city, and we have more options for spending our time and money than ever before. But that's a good thing! What I urge you to do, is to consciously choose places (like Taverna) with engaged, involved proprietors (like Sam and Kiley) who are focused on local sourcing and creating real food, without pretense, in a beautiful space, at an affordable price. If these things aren't important to you, they should be. Don't MAKE me preach, now.
:: WIN THIS ::
To sweeten the deal, we're giving away a Gift Certificate - good for Lunch for Two at Taverna ($30 value), courtesy of Kiley and Sam! Enter using the rafflecopter widget below - be sure to pick up extra entries for commenting / liking / following / sharing the news. I'll announce the winner December 26.
a Rafflecopter giveaway