Restaurants & Bars

Oliveto THE WHOLE HOG dinner (long)

shocker | Feb 27, 200302:25 AM     5

recently exited pork heaven.

being that this year's event took place far earlier than last year's, i barely made it. monday's panic--ohmigod, it's this week!-- gave way to wednesday night's porcine bliss.

the critical problem, for those who've seen the menu, is how on earth to whittle down what one should order.
after much half-assed consternation, here are the results:

1st course:
"potted and formed pork" consisting of pate campagnola in aspic, ciccioli, pork liver pate, salame cotto, coppa di testa, and mortadella

they were all a near revelation. the liver pate didn't have the typical iodine blast of most liver-based concoctions-- it was smooth and only slightly metallic. the pate campagnola was a rough-style pate topped w/loose aspic. the coppa di testa (headcheese) had a clarity unlike so many headcheeses, perfectly offset by a finely diced garnish including tangy cornichons. the mortadella was a 180 degree turn from the prepackaged deli type. knowing all the items were processed in house, i anticipated they'd be fantastic. it's always a pleasure to have such wishes come true.
to gild the lily, we plesantly cajoled our server into procuring a side of lardo that was technically only to be ordered w/the full salami platter. thank god we did. it's the unadulterated essence of pork-- sweet, smooth and creamy. pork cotton candy, if you will.

2nd course:
pork kidney salad w/celery hearts, endive and old balsamic, and grilled pork heart w/horseradish sauce.

the pork kidney salad was one of the best restaurant preparations i've had in ages. every element was integral to the unit as a whole-- the celery adding a bracing note, the endive a bitter, the balsamic a sweet, the kidney an earthy. i was dumbfounded. the pork heart tasted nothing like you'd expect offal to taste of. it was quieter, more beef like. similar to bollito misto, especially when offset by the intensely green, slightly pungent horseradish sauce.

3rd course:
rosemary sorbet

a wisely chosen, perfect palate cleanser. the sorbet had a floral aspect that complemented the resinous bite of the rosemary leaves. it was topped by tiny rosemary blossoms, accentuating the above floralness. sublime.

4th course:
pork belly arrabbiata and fresh ham roasted on a spit

i expected the pork belly to be intensely fatty; it was practically the opposite-- lean, meaty, and accompanied by an arrabbiata sauce that was neither too 'angry' or too bland. the ham was all that christmas dinner's star could only hope to be. it tasted brined, the meat juicy and ever-so-slightly-stringy in the most pleasing of ways. rounding off the entrees were lightly bitter rapini, and crispy, diced, pork fat redolent potatoes.

5th course:
citrus in gelee and rhubarb pie w/burnt orange ice cream

a delightful set of contrasting meal-enders-- the pie flaky and tangy with the ice cream making a quiet impression, the cirtus gelee clean and puckery.

i go on and on, for i've been deeply disappointed by special event dinners at oliveto in the past. last fall's tomato dinner was a dud. this is a don't miss occasion.

there's only two days left-- run, don't walk.

Want to stay up to date with this post? Sign Up Now ›

More from Chowhound

The Top 12 Trader Joe's Employee Picks for Fall

The Top 12 Trader Joe's Employee Picks for Fall

by Marisa Olsen | Looking for the best Trader Joe's fall food? There's a lot to choose from; the amount of pumpkin products...

How to Cook with Fall Produce That Isn’t Pumpkin

How to Cook with Fall Produce That Isn’t Pumpkin

by Kelsey Butler | There are many well-known fall fruits and vegetables none of us can seem to get enough of—apples...

What Is Chuseok (aka, Korean Thanksgiving)?

What Is Chuseok (aka, Korean Thanksgiving)?

by Eileen Cho | As a Seoul born, Korean American raised on the west coast of the United States, I always felt like...

A Fall Chili Dish for Every Personality
Recipe Round-Ups

A Fall Chili Dish for Every Personality

by Danielle Valente | Looking for the best fall chili recipe? It's time to drive the coziness factor into full effect. Oversized...

Get fresh food news delivered to your inbox

Sign up for our newsletter to receive the latest tips, tricks, recipes and more, sent twice a week.