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Sneak Peek: Pleasanton’s Sabio on Main

Ambitious and amazing.


Nicholas Boer

Francis Hogan is one of the most talented—and perhaps the most ambitious—chefs ever to come to the Tri-Valley. His restaurant, Sabio on Main, which opened in Pleasanton earlier this month, serves global small plates inspired as much by Sunol’s small family farms as it is by Spain, California, and the rest of the world.

His dishes can be wildly intricate, but one of my favorites was a simple tomato and plum salad laced with delicate sherry and enriched by true domestic buffalo mozzarella. Also stunning were small plates of sweet lamb meatballs with pine nuts and a set of salt cod croquettes served with a creamy green goddess dipping sauce. (Go ahead: It’s OK to eat with your fingers here. Dishes like these are as sophisticated as comfort food comes.) The most spectacular presentation on our anonymous visit was a whole roasted fish dressed with a silky vivid-green salsa verde.

Sabio’s decor is as detailed and inventive as the food. The interior is small, but architect Jim Maxwell, who designed the expansive space for The Cooperage American Grille in Lafayette, has used colorful Spanish tile, curved wood slating, and hanging copper artwork to offset the open industrial ceiling. At the same time, a wine wall and brightly lit bar emphasize the importance of wine and spirits in Spanish tapas bars. As Hogan refines his menu and as the staff becomes more knowledgeable and excited about his food, Sabio will give The Restaurant at Wente Vineyards a run for its money as the Tri-Valley’s most impressive restaurant.

501 Main St., Pleasanton, (925) 800-3090, sabiopleasanton.com. Dinner daily, lunch and brunch coming soon.