So I finally rounded up someone to give Acquacotta a thorough report. A month in, it seems to be firing on all cylinders. They don't take reservations as of yet, but we snagged the last two-top at 7:15 on a Saturday.
The menu was very appealing, but after seeing one being served at a neighboring table, we started with the salad tricolore ($8): a colorful pile of radicchio, endive and other greens with chopped hazelnuts and gorgonzola. It was a generous serving for two, and although perhaps it could have used a touch more salt, the creamy, pungent cheese, crunchy rich nuts and crisp bitter greens were a pleasing ensemble. We also shared the paparadelle with rabbit in a marsala sage sauce ($15). The plate of pasta appeared delicate, with a lighter sauce than I had envisioned, but it was surprisingly rich, with tender pieces of braised rabbit that absorbed the sauce but retained some rabbit character. Finally, I had the grilled black cod with melted green garlic and olive salsa ($23). The fish was moist and melted in my mouth. I'm not sure the melted green garlic and the olive salsa went together terribly well, but they were both delicious, especially the unusual combination of minced tangerine zest with the olives. My dining companion had their signature beef "pot roast" braised in Chianti ($22), that was fork tender, meaty and rich. Although the plating of the dishes isn't "fancy" I did enjoy the whimsical potatoes fashioned into the shape of mushrooms with the beef.
Service was friendly and attentive -- our server, Lucy, was great -- but sometimes it seemed like they were aiming for a style of service that was a little more formal than seemed appropriate for the food, setting and location. I also thought the price point/serving size was a little off on the paparadelle -- it was fine for sharing, but for a true primi I would have wanted a smaller serving at a slightly lower price, and as an entree I would have wanted it to be a bit more substantial. The salad was also a substantial portion that would not have worked if we hadn't been sharing.
Total bill for salad, pasta, two entrees, two glasses of wine and a Lagunitas ale came to $96 after tax but before tip. Not cheap, but a reasonable value for the quality of the food.
1544 Webster St, Alameda, CA 94501