There is no more iconic celebratory pairing than Champagne and caviar—and no better time to clink glasses of bubbly and spoon out dollops of salty roe than during the holidays.
Just in time comes the opening of Sausalito’s The Bump Bar, an elegant and whimsical lounge dedicated to fanciful festivities, dreamed up by California Caviar Company founder Deborah Keane. Once just a caviar tasting room and shop, the space has been re-imagined by Keane and remodeled to accommodate luxurious drinking and dining experiences centered, of course, around caviar.
It sounds fancy, and with an offering of drinks and bites suited for the rich and famous, all presented by a culinary team that hails from some of the Bay Area’s finest restaurants, one wouldn’t be terribly wrong to call it so. Instead, the 20-seat Bump Bar feels more like an undiscovered (for now) little gem that’s both luxe—think channel-tufted velvet bar chairs—and relaxed, with white marble countertops waiting to be laden with the good stuff.
The intimate space promises all diners have a view to the happenings in the kitchen, where chef Nate Tauer (Bouchon, Petit Crenn, Coi) and sous chef Fernando Arias turn out caviar flights alongside thoughtful seafood-centric fare such as a fluke crudo with white sturgeon caviar, lobster salad with herbs and saffron whitefish, and a buttery melt-in-your-mouth ocean trout served with trout roe. Whether you’re here for a nibble or for a full meal, things always begin with a jovial caviar bump. Then, you may choose to order dishes a la carte or go all in on a seven-course tasting menu ($125) with caviar appearances throughout.
If you’re here exclusively for the coveted fish eggs, you have some splendid options—California Caviar Company is well-respected for sourcing responsibly farmed caviar from around the country and throughout the world. Choose from one of five caviars on offer, each sold by the ounce; or dip into a caviar flight featuring 10 grams of three varieties. All caviar orders bring the traditional accompaniments of blinis, minced pickled red onion, bits of egg, and crème fraîche.
Such briny delights beg for a glass of something bubbly. Wine director and general manager Danielle Megears (Coi) has sourced an impressive list of 20 Champagnes by the bottle and five by the glass, as well as reds, whites, and even a couple of beer selections for the sulfite-averse. Can’t decide? May we suggest a Champagne flight?
Naturally this place is readymade for special occasions, holiday gatherings and date night, but we’re in support of going just because…because you’re worth it.
Inside The Bump Bar
Fluffy blinis, crème fraîche with chives, finely diced pickled red onion, and a mix of egg whites and yolks are served with all caviar orders.
If you’re just getting your sea legs when it comes to caviar, we recommend the rotating tasting flight. Shown here is a trio including California Caviar Company’s own white sturgeon alongside hackleback and whitefish caviar.
Snack on croquets stuffed with country ham, scallions, and Jacques Pepin’s pressed liquid-like caviar.
A dish of raw tai snapper offers alternating slices of persimmon and whitefish infused with lemongrass in a pool of Thai chili with coconut.
Don’t be deceived by the plating here: A surprisingly deep bowl hides chunks of lobster, freshly grilled on a binchotan. with herbs, pieces of saffron whitefish, and crème fraîche.
Slices of fluke crudo are rolled into bites and seasoned with a little black lime, konbu, sea lettuce, and the house white sturgeon caviar.
The rare ocean trout is as rich as it looks with a buttery sauce, asparagus, crunchy croutons, and trout roe.
The finale for the evening is a warm striped bass perched above a creamy blend of black truffles, leeks, and potatoes with Siberian caviar.
Bubbles are available by the glass, in a tasting flight, or by the bottle. If you’re going all in for the tasting menu, indulge in the Champagne pairing for another $125 per person.
// The Bump Bar, 1403 Bridgeway (Sausalito), californiacaviar.com
This article was originally written and photographed by me for 7×7, and can be viewed here.
Looking for another spot to enjoy some bubbly? Check out this roundup of the best champagne spots in San Francisco.