Root vegetables — subterranean packets of edible energy ranging in personality from parsnips and turnips to fennel, burdock, and cassava — can be dull or delicious, depending on who's doing the cooking. Fortunately for us tuber aficionados, the folks at Jack London Square's Bocanova know just how to jazz up these dense, starchy veggies without detracting from their earthy individuality. Sweet potatoes are baked au gratin with cream, spice, and a hint of chipotle pepper until irresistibly rich and hearty. Beets roasted and served with chives, feta cheese, and aji amarillo are sweet, bright, and tangy all at once. And the house specialty, "burnt carrots," is absolutely addictive chunks of lush, slow-cooked flavor touched with the snark of cilantro. The kitchen also knows how to employ rootsy accents like peanuts, garlic, onion, and jicama in their impressive menu of pan-American salads, stews, and ceviches.
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