A Cote - praise and a complaint
Had a bite at A Cote on College Ave. in Rockridge today. It was extremely good, and a place I plan to frequent often.
Since A Cote is a French 'tapas' place, we ordered three small plates. The broccoli rabe came first, and it was heavenly, infused with chili flakes and lemon zest. A couple of minutes later, the waiter brought our grilled steak, cooked perfectly (medium rare), with a side of the most heavenly potato gratin i'd ever tasted. Last came the pommes frites, which were served with a side of aioli.
While the pommes frites were scrumptious, the aioli, which tasted too mayonaisse-y, didn't really cut it. When we asked for ketchup, though, we were told rather rudely that there was "no ketchup in the house". I was surprised; I mean, pommes frites are, essentially, FRENCH FRIES...which are quite often served with ketchup (perhaps not in France, but then, this isn't exactly traditional French food... they do bill themselves as a "tapas" restaurant). Also, I don't quite understand why 'aioli' (which at A Cote is unfortunately more like plain mayonaisse) is somehow more gourmet than ketchup...i would think they would at least keep some housemade ketchup on hand to serve in ramekins.
Whatever. I won't be ordering the fries again, but I'll go back any day of the week for the broccoli rabe and the amazing steak. And their scallops with proscuitto and frisee is next on my list to try. :)
I've been to A Cote twice and really enjoyed it as well.
The first time I went, though, the service was chilly, so I'm not surprised to hear you got snubbed on the ketchup request. Happily, on my second visit the service was friendly and very helpful. (Don't know what to say about the lack of ketchup, except that high-end places do seem to be ditching condiments, especially unfancy ones. I miss having salt and pepper available on the table.)
By the way, I ordered the fried artichoke, which also comes with aioli, and loved it. (I hate regular mayonnaise.) The aioli was garlicky and dense. Maybe the kitchen is still a bit inconsistent.
The scallops were very tasty, though the price was steep for only 3 scallops and tiny diced pieces of proscuitto. I love the flatbreads, especially the pear/gorgonzola. We had a tasty wild salmon fillet with asparagus and a great, not too sweet, hazelnut bread pudding. Meyer lemon creme brulee tasted fabulous but was too soft and runny for my tastes.
I've also enjoyed their wine selection. Last time I had a Riesling flight that was very interesting and went well with most of the food.