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Restaurants & Bars 3

Memorable Father's Day Meal at Oliveto

Randy Salenfriend | Jun 18, 200102:57 PM

As San Francisco residents, we do not get over to the East Bay much, nothing personal, no offense to East Bay folks, this is stictly logistics. However, after reading much good press on Oliveto and given a choice of spots for Daddy's Day, this was my selection.

In order to make it an adventure for my 3 1/2 year old, we took BART. Note: The following is not, repeat not an embellishment. Simply put, this is one of the finest meals I have had ANYWHERE in quite some time.

First, the location is the epitome of conveniece, if you take BART, you simply cross the street and voila, there it is. Lovely contemporary space, we were greeted warmly by the hostess, server and everybody with whom we came in contact. Not a hint of attitude. Ok enough suspense, here's what we had:

Fresh milled polenta with portebellos and porcinis and pancetta-This is the finest polenta I believe I have ever had. It was etherally rich, moistened with stock, maybe veal, along with the natural jus of the mushrooms. The few pieces of house made pancetta were sublime, it was smoky and added a different twist to the dish.

Next was a simple salad of watercress, fresh beets and aged dry ricotta. So simple yet so marvelous. The slightly bitter tang of the greens married well with the sweetness of the beets and the ricotta was the perfect topping, not the curds type but rather shaved, a la parmesan or asiago.

Then came the main courses, grilled pork and swordfish. The pork was described as Niman Ranch grilled pork on the menu, this descriptor did not do it justice at all. It would have been more appropriate to describe it as pork three ways- 4 succulent grilled and smoked ribs, several slices of grilled pork loin and one large grilled sausage. Divine, the quality of the product just shines through. The swordfish equally spendid, simply flat top grilled with lemon, olive oil and fresh herbs with boiled fingerling potatoes.

Different wines with each course-they have several wines by the glass but more importantly, feature half glasses as well. I wish more restaurants would do this, I love trying different wines. I tried an Aligote, floral, semi-rich with a little butter, quite nice. A Barbera, nice earthy, with leather scents, tar good finish and an Oregon Pinot, thin, worst of the three.

Dessert was a cherry crostato with vanilla ice cream. The crostato was light yet buttery and the cherries were marvelous. The vanilla ice cream was not exceedingly rich but still enjoyable. The other dessert was a chocolate cake that almost defies description, an amazingly intense chocolate flavor yet with the texture of a souffle, even lighter. I called it a chocolate cloud. It was in the shape of inverted cupcake, slightly larger with a dusting of powdered sugar. Incredible. Service was attentive and professional with just a couple of slight delays. With tax and tip for three, $160.00. This place moves to the top of my list and will be frequented in the future, especially for special occasions. Enjoy.


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