Saturday, February 27, 2010
Sunday, February 14, 2010
That's why I was very pleasantly surprised by my dinner at À Côté restaurant tonight. First of all, we were immediately seated once our party of five arrived. Second, the restaurant was offering it's regular menu (which changes weekly). Third, the food was REALLY good and came out promptly. And finally, the group of single ladies I was with was beautiful inside and out!
5478 College Ave
Oakland, CA 94618
If you are in the mood for Mediterranean small plates, then you must try À Côté. Here's a rundown of some the great dishes we enjoyed tonight.
The first two dishes that hit the table were the baby arugula salad with crispy polenta, pine nuts, and Great Hill blue-cheese dressing ($10) and the Tuscan chicken liver crostini with pickled shallots and frisee ($10). The arugula salad was nice and peppery with a wonderful crunch added by the two triangles of polenta. If you like chicken livers, then definitely try the crostini. With these two dishes starting us off, we all knew we were in for a delicious evening.
Almost every single dish we ordered was spot-on. In comparing all the dishes that we sampled this evening, the following emerged as our favorite.
- Chicken Tortelloni with chanterelles and Swiss chard ($15). The tortelloni were essentially dumpling size tortellini and very good, but the rich creamy sauce and chanterelle mushrooms are what made this dish.
- Coriander & Meyer Lemon Cured Salmon with buckwheat blini, dill creme fraiche and watermelon radishes ($12). When this dish hit the table, we almost didn't want to tear into it; the slices of vodka-cured salmon were so artfully mounded on top of the blini .
- Mussels with Pernod from the wood over ($15). How can you go wrong with mussels with crusty slices of bread to soak up the cream sauce.
- Sardinian Sausage & Clams ($17). I've never had grilled wild boar sausage, and if you haven't either, then you should try it, too. The fregola (a pasta similar to Israeli couscous) added a nice al dente texture to this dish.
- Seared Sturgeon with roasted celery root, sun chokes, and fingerling potatoes with brown butter vinaigrette ($18) just melted in your mouth. And the vegetables were all cut in to similar mini bite-size chunks so you never quite knew what you were going to taste until you put it in your mouth. Very delicious.
The aboves were the favorites, but the following two dishes were also quite notable:
- Comice Pear & Walnut Flatbread with Mountain Gorgonzola ($13) arrive hot and crispy to the table. The sweetness of the pear was a perfect balance to the cheese.
- Pommes Frites with aioli ($6). This is exactly how I like my fries. There was a heaping plateful of crispy fries and a nice, lemony aioli to dip it in. The fries were also delicious dipped in the cream sauce from the mussels and the tortelloni.
Unfortunately, the only misses for the evening were the desserts: the "love bombe" arrived with out the red velvet cake that all of us at the table were looking forward to (our adorable waiter explained to us that this was a mistake on the menu) and the fennel pollen ice cream (tasted more like a honey-ish vanilla ice cream).
But, all of the other dishes more than made up for the desserts. So, I definitely hope to be returing to À Côté in the very near future.