Dinner Club + Sue at Oliveto
The left coast branch of Rectors and those with a few degrees of separation, convene occasionally to try new restaurants, revisit certain favorites, or even partake of one another’s cooking and hospitality. We like this.
Sue Berard, Eric’s mother-in-law, was in town recently so we dragged her along for a Dinner Club at Oliveto, in the toney Rockridge section of Oakland. Carol and I had been there, with Eric; I think about the time Paul Bertolli, the original chef/owner was passing the spoon to Paul Canales, the current chef. Paul Bertolli, who was the original chef at Chez Panisse, is now focused on his new salumi business, Fra”Mani. National distribution should begin this spring or summer, so keep an eye out for it.
I can tell you what I had for dinner, I didn”t keep track of what others had, nor did I taste from others. They can tell you themselves in the comments, below. My ratings are based on a ***** (five asterix) scale, ~ being a half *
But enough about the pedigree, we were there for a convivial evening with some good food. We started with the can”t miss Salumi Tasting Platter: rustica, crespone, felino, mortadella, vasca, soppressata and fino. Our server pointed out which was which on the platter, but the only one I recognized was the mortadella. No matter, the platter was empty in minutes. *****
I ordered a 2002 Pinot Noir, Lynmar which I trusted would complement the various dishes. **** No complaints.
Scallops (appetizer) were served on a bed of pureed celery root on a white plate. Although the scallops had a nicely seared color, the whole thing was way too white for me. **~
Shrimp Ravioli (appetizer). I generally avoid ravioli, believing that one can”t pack much flavor into those little packets. I was so wrong. Of course the pasta was oh-so-delicate and light and the filling was just divine; very shrimpy but not strong, and bursting with flavor. Oh my. *****
Not everyone agreed with me, but I thought our server had no personality or warmth and, while reasonably efficient, she hardly acknowledged our presence. *~ The food was brought by others, and the bus person was delightful, with a sense of humor. So, overall service leaps to ***
Now, all you other folks leave your comments, below.