119 W. Green St.
Pasadena, CA 91105
Dérive +

Courtesy Dérive Toasted grains with kale


  • Daily, 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m.
  • Vegetarian Friendly, Local Ingredients, Beer and Wine
  • Lunch, Dinner
  • Beer/Wine

The critically acclaimed Ración in Pasadena, which closed in January, has moved from Spain to California in concept and reopened as Dérive, with an American menu focused on small local farms and wineries. Under the same ownership of chefs Loretta Peng and Shane Alvord, Dérive's new menu is partly inspired by Peng's travels and exploration of local ingredients around the world, a spontaneous journey guided by landscape and nature. Which brings me to the kelp steamed potatoes with Meyer lemon cream and seaweed salt on the new menu. Two Yukon gold potatoes are nestled in a warm kelp bed with a side of seaweed salt that's worth cleaning up with your fingers as if it was pixie dust. A great starter is the pig's head toast with mustard and pickled jalapeño on crunchy toast, and the green beans with avocado, kiwi, pistachio and citrus are nice for the table to share. One of the most popular items on the new menu is the bowl of toasted grains, kale, anchovy aioli, cabbage and black rice chips. The other is Dérive's cavatelli pasta with early spring vegetables in roasted onion broth with goat Gouda. The rich broth cooks for 48 hours and is combined with dashi to create a flavor that is onion soup on steroids. For the carnivore, there's a hefty pork shoulder with celery root, Basque cider and apple. The breads — sourdough, fig and seeded — are all still made in-house by Peng, as is the cultured butter. In addition to California wines, there are plenty of Spanish, Italian and French selections as well. —Michele Stueven

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