One of the great things about having a job that requires you to be”up” on news and views and such, is that I follow a whole bunch of Oakland blogs. So of course, the news of Oakland Restaurant Week popped up on a slew of them and I immediately wrote Cara to partake.
After much debate and Cara’s thorough research, we landed on Oliveto. I had never been, Cara wanted to try it again, and the woman on the phone promised a delightful menu with flexibility to accommodate my Vegetarianish ways.
Walking in, you are hit with an amazing aroma of brick oven goodness. Good sign. We were escorted to our table, which despite having a reservation was a little “No one puts Baby in a corner” in its location but spirits were high. The menu they presented us with sounded divine, but it wasn’t the Restaurant Week offerings. We had to ask specifically for that. And when it arrived…. it had almost nothing on it that I could eat.
Our waiter apologized to me and told me that was just the way it was. (Note: he was an awkwardly close talker for a waiter). Cara launched into a tirade so he recounted and promised the Chef would work something out. Pushover. I did, however, like that every other wine on the list, he would describe as “fruit forward.” Now that some one else stole our idea of opening Oakland’s first high end cheese shop, we now have a backup plan for a shop called Fruit Forward that obviously is a Wine Shop with Progressive Politics.
Our soup arrived. It wasn’t the veloutee promised by the menu. But it was delicious. A root vegetable minestrone. We had yet another strange convo with a waitstaff who didn’t quite understand why we were telling her about the soup being different than what was advertised.
Next was a pasta course. Because the main was a meat sauce dish, they brought me gnocchi. I will say it was the best gnocchi I have eaten in a very long time, maybe forever.
When the main came, Cara had game hen and I was brought this:
Not sure it helped. Despite the overall strangeness of the presentation, it was fairly tasty. My best guest is that it was a log of Chard filled with farrow and maybe nuts and other difficult-to-name-items.
Our dessert was delicious caramel ice cream.
So the evening was wonderful, but my take away is that Oliveto does not take their Restaurant Week customers as seriously as the rest of their clientele (Note the table of real housewives of Rockridge next to us who seemed to have rock star service), and while I get their appeal, I am not sure I would go again.