Thamin Saleh at new Jeninni

Thamin Saleh has directed wine lists and overall ops at a number of the area's most storied spots. Now he says his new wine bar restaurant will hopefully serve as just the first of several collaborations with Chef Jeffrey Weiss.

The urfa and amba are among the many hints something awfully promising is in the oven over on Lighthouse Avenue in Pacific Grove.

Longtime local hospitality vet Thamin Saleh, who has played sommelier, manager and GM at a range of standout local spots since 1984—including Marinus at Bernardus, Pacific’s Edge, now-departed The Covey at Quail and most recently C Restaurant—is launching a wine bar-restaurant concept Jeninni Kitchen + Wine Bar (920-2662) in the former Le Normandie in the Holman building, in the heart of P.G.’s downtown.

"We just want to create a place where people can hang out," he says, adding the layout will split space between a lounge-like bar on the top of the split level along an opened-up kitchen and the restaurant below.

His credentials bode well for its chances, and particularly for the wine list. He’s found a solid chef in Jeffrey Weiss, who’s already assembling a southern Mediterranean menu starring chargrilled lamb burger and eggplant fries, a brick-seared half chicken with lemon and sumac, and a high-grade beverage program featuring housemade sodas in addition to the wines and local beers.

San Francisco native Weiss’ resume includes Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration, Steve Chan’s Lion & Compass in Sunnyvale, plus work with James Beard award-winning chef José Andrés in D.C., chef April Bloomfield in New York, and chefs Daní Garcia and Adolfo Muñoz in Spain.

He even has a book, Charcutería: The Soul of Spain, coming in spring, exploring his time learning various charcuterie styles of the Iberian Peninsula—techniques and recipes that diners at the restaurant can look forward to enjoying, including a selection of seafood slices.

Which brings me to what has my tastebuds most titilated: the simple but seductive preliminary menu, which looks about a month away from hitting guests given the projected late September opening.

It appears below, along with an educational—and mouthwatering—glossary, a handy indicator this place has some serious style, and already proves a revelation before its doors open. That's where the urfa and amba come in, among other treats:

snacks

filone herb & garlic cervelle de canut

fried chickpeas ras el hanout & citrus

chicken liver pate pickled green strawberries & PX sherry

fritto misto gremolata & alioli

chicken wings tahini, garlic, & chile

charcuterie

market pickles

seafood charcuterie board potted salmon, smoked trout, boquerones, & mojama

ham of the month Benton’s Smoky Mountain Ham, Madisonville, Tennessee • market pickles, grilled filone, & miel de caña butter

small plates

chicories parmesan, anchovy, croutons, & garlic dressing

citrus & avocado salad lettuces, ajete & boquerones

bruschetta miticrema Dungeness crab, & herb zhug

mollete smoked lamb, pickled cucumbers, & yogurt

summer panzanella pecorino, chile, & mint

entrees

bucatini pomodoro dry-farmed tomatoes, parmesan, basil, & pangrattato

brick-seared half chicken sumac, lemon, & panzanella

pan-roasted salmon catalan greens & stone fruit amba

bullfighter’s steak grilled radicchio salad & salsa verde

chargrilled lamb burger feta & eggplant fries

sides

crispy lemon potatoes oregano, caramelized garlic, & capers

pan-roasted corn berbere & goat cheese crema

eggplant fries urfa pepper, honey alioli

desserts

spiced chocolate tart whipped yogurt & chocolate crumble

corn shortcakes olive oil, strawberries & whipped sour cream

salted caramel flan cajeta & brown butter-peanut dukkah

meyer lemon & raspberry trifle ginger cake, halva,& cardamom anglaise

cheese plate daily selection & garnishes

glossary

filone our house-baked Italian bread

cervelle de canut sheep’s milk cheese spread

ras el hanout North African spice blend

fritto misto seasonal fried goodies

gremolata herbs, garlic, & citrus

mojo verde Canarian herb sauce

miel de caña spanish molasses

mojama salt-cured tuna loin

ajete spanish paprika & garlic sauce

boquerones pickled anchovies

miticrema spreadable sheep’s milk cheese

zhug yemenite herb & chili paste  

mollete Andalusian sandwich

pangrattato breadcrumbs

sumac citrusy Persian spice

amba Middle Eastern pickle 

salsa verde Italian herb & anchovy sauce

Benton’s bacon god’s own pork candy

tarator turkish pine nut & garlic sauce

berbere ethiopian spice blend

urfa smoky turkish pepper

aioli garlic mayonnaise

cajeta goat’s milk caramel

halva sesame & pistachio candy

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