Already a hit in North Park with its quality food and a relaxed, community-oriented menu, Encontro is stepping things up with some new sandwiches and added chef's plates on the dinner menu.
"Our guests were looking for 'dinner' items beyond our salads and sandwiches," said Encontro's owner, John Sarkisian. After seeing how popular the pulled pork sliders were, they decided to add a full pulled pork sandwich. They also added a North Park BLTA, with applewood bacon, baby gem lettuce, heirloom tomato, avocado and kewpie mayonnaise on sourdough, because, according to Sarkisian, "I love them and wanted it on the menu." The BLTA has been an immediate hit-Sarkisian noted it's the number one sandwich after the classic burger (proving once again that you can't go wrong with bacon and avocado).
The chef's plates are all house-made with custom cuts on an open-flame grill. The offerings are classic comfort foods with a little bit of a twist. "As with the rest of our menu, we start with buying the best quality ingredients, and we keep the preparation simple with an added spice or ingredient or two to differentiate the menu item," Sarkisian said.
The tasty new options include a ribeye steak with a craft beer reduction, seasonal fresh catch served with garlic mashed potatoes and seasonal vegetables, Mary's fried chicken, which is cooked with a batter of both egg and buttermilk with some spices to add a little heat, BBQ ribs and mac n' cheese, which has elbow pasta tossed with an aged cheddar and American cheese sauce. Is your mouth watering yet?
All of the dishes that made North Park's foodies fall in love with Encontro are still there-the house-made sausages, fresh salads, Portobello fries and biscuits. And of course, guests can end their meal with a hand-made shake with ice cream from Hammond's, another local favorite. Sarkisian hinted that other new dishes may be rotated in and out seasonally as well: "Most likely ribs will be features during the summer months and come off the menu in the winter, to be replaced by items like short ribs, which is more of a winter comfort food."
With their commitment to quality and fresh, local ingredients, anything that comes out of Encontro's kitchen is sure to be a winner.
3001 University Ave., North Park. encontronorthpark.com