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Restaurants & Bars 11

Report from the Risotto Dinner at Oliveto

TheDive | Apr 30, 200612:51 PM

We went to Oliveto’s Special Risotto Dinner on Thursday night. It was wonderful. The event was a two seating, prix fixe dinner (different from the restaurant’s other special dinners), designed so Chef Canales could time it so that the risotto was sent to the tables as soon as it was ready.

The dinner started with salumi, which is always excellent at Oliveto (I particularly liked the soppresseta, although I was surprised by the mortadella). Next was an asparagus salad with roasted beets and capers, very fresh with the capers adding a nice pungent note. Then the risotto course came and it was spectacular. Made with proscecco, the risotto was in the “loose” style (with the rice still toothsome) and tasted of liquid parmigiano reggiano. It was simple, deep and flavorful—better than anything I had in Italy or that I could make myself. Although I love Oliveto, I didn’t expect to be so wowed by a very simple risotto bianco.

The secondo was a braised breast of hen in a rich tomato-y sauce, topped with a fresh-tasting chop of artichokes and green garlic. Very good, but I was stuffed with the risotto (I cleaned my plate with my spoon), so I will be having the rest of the hen for lunch today. Dessert was a proscecco gelatin with pixie tangerines—a nice light ending, that went very well with the moscato recommended by our server. We had a bottle of the 2003 Dolcetto d'Alba from Piedmont, which went nicely with the entire meal (I had a glass of a lightly oaked chardonnay with the risotto – our server was nice to provide a taste for TheDive-ster as he decided to stick with the red for that course).

We try to go to all of Oliveto’s special dinners (we particularly love the oceanic, truffles, tomato dinners). Although I love and frequent the downstairs café, I sometimes can be disappointed by the upstairs experience (not by the food, mind you, but the value of it), although never on a special dinner night. I highly recommend seeking out the special dinners.

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