The story goes a speakeasy sold tickets to see a striped pig. After seeing the crudely painted swine, entrants received a free cup of rum and mingled, safe from the watchful eye of prohibition agents. A Redwood City gastropub, The Striped Pig, gets its name from these sneaky entrepreneurs, and though their artisanal cocktails are something special, the real attraction is the inspired “California Small Plates” made by longtime chefs Erik Romme and Andrew Mitchell.

I started with an original cocktails, the jalapeno-garnished “Blood of a Saint” ($12), which mixed the oaky punch of bourbon with the foamy wheat of a Sculpin IPA and the tart sweetness of blood orange juice. Other specialty drinks include the citrus/cilantro/cucumber- infused Mescal, “Smokin Gun,”($11) and the maple, bacon and whiskey-based “Whistling Billionaire” ($13).

Their simple menu lists only about 20 items, but it takes some serious soul-searching to determine which to pick. The Pigs in a Blanket ($12) redeem decades of Super Bowl bastardization. Served with house-made sriracha, the quality weenies were swaddled in flaky, butter-packed pastry dough and held so much juice that one actually spurted when I bit into it. For my main course, I ordered Duck Confit Mole. Confit is a centuries-old French technique that salt cures duck, then poaches it in its own fat until it’s fall-apart tender. Mole is the exalted, layered Mexican sauce requiring about a day of simmering and a pantry of ingredients. The culturally cherished masterpieces could have only come together in the global crossroads of California.

The plate matched the vibrant design of the interior’s fauve art. A burnt umber puddle of the smoky, rich mole lays below a fresh, fried sope piled high with the hallowed duck, pickled red cabbage, crisp carrot strands, young cilantro sprigs, cotija cheese crumbles and a silky drizzling of jalapeno crema. It’s my new death row meal. When a chef passed by, I blustered a compliment that started with “dude” and just rattled off a half-dozen Guy Fieri adjectives.

Other tempting options are the Ahi Salmon Poke ($18), Bluenose Sea Bass with clams, chorizo and butter beans ($18) and the Cornish Game Hen with kabocha squash, brussel sprouts and candied pecans ($18). Desserts include Hard Root Beer Float with whipped cream and chocolate shavings ($8).

On New Year’s Eve, they’ll be serving a five-course prix fixe menu ($140 with wine pairings) that features a foie gras duo, roasted monkfish and a main course of short rib Bourguignon and grilled New York strip.

Striped Pig
917 Main St., Redwood City