A Chef's Return

Back to basics in Marin County

There's a double homecoming afoot in Marin.

There, Scott Howard has returned to his culinary and geographic past with his new restaurant Brick & Bottle, which opened yesterday.

The peripatetic chef came to local fame while cooking at San Anselmo's Fork before launching his now closed namesake restaurant in downtown San Francisco and consulting on Berkeley's homey Five.

Where his San Francisco restaurant trumpeted the techniques of cuisine's new guard, Howard's food at Brick & Bottle circles back to the kind of satisfying, everyday meals for which he originally became known.

To wit: The restaurant's menus feature items like short ribs with tomato jam ($21), clam pizza with Pecorino and spring onions ($14), and buttermilk-chive biscuits with Howard's lauded pimento cheese ($6).

Howard's crab cakes–studded with red bell pepper, fennel and chives, and hit with a wallop of Crystal hot sauce–are bound to gain a fervent fan base.

At Brick & Bottle, they're served with saffron aioli, bacon potato salad and watercress.

When we cooked them at home (click here to download the recipe), we found they needed nothing more than a spray of lemon–and perhaps an extra jolt of Crystal.

Brick & Bottle, 55 Tamal Vista Blvd., Corte Madera; 415-924-3366 or brickandbottle.com