Oliveto's 20th- January 20th and 21st - Italian Street Food - $5 Tripe!
I will not be dropping $60 a head on the 20th Anniversary dinner and show at Oliveto. However, the outdoor stands selling Italian street food look quite enticing. Brisket for $7, Polenta with Ragu for $6, Tripe for $5, and Zeppole (an Italian doughnut). This is an absurd deal for Oliveto quality food, even if you;re eating it in the street. The stalls will be open January 20th and 21st, from noon until 10pm.
More info here (click on 20th anniversary Festa):
Well, I was entertaining some friends from out of town and managed to score some reservations for Saturday night and we had a wonderful time. I too thought that the price was a bit high, but after speaking with some of the very helpful staff, I was given the "skinny" on how to approach the evening. As suggested, we arrived well over and hour early and were treated to the excellent appetizers downstairs which included a never ending stream of pizzas from the oven (always a crowd pleaser), piles of a wonderful in house made chorizo, savory almonds and their excellent green and black olives. You could munch on these snacks all night if you so desired, but we also had to sample the tripe which is one of my absolute favorite dishes. Oh yes and there was entertainment outside (jugglers complete with flaming battons) and a bocce court set up across the way under the BART station which was very fun. I was initially a bit put off by the "two drink ticket" limit that they seemed to be imposing, but again, I was pleasantly surprised that all the espresso drinks did not require a ticket and I had several capuccinos and espresso shots throughout the evening (true coffee fiend). Additionally, although I didn't say anything or make any inquiries, both of the hostesses made several inquiries as to whether or not we had enough drink tickets and gave us a handful more which we never did get through.
So, with wine, espresso, tripe, and an hour's worth of noshing downstairs, we were shown up to the top floor where the band played on, and a very festive crowd was in full swing. After being shown to our seats, we were led through the back to the kitchen and picked up our meal of in house made pork and fennel sausage in a rich sauce punctuated with Sambucco, chicken al diavolo, excellent bruschetta and a very tasty salad. Upon return to our seats, a server brought out steaming bowls of the "olive picker's soup" to accompany our main courses and brought more wine (again, without taking a drink ticket). While in the kitchen, I inquired as to their policy on "seconds" and they all smiled and said that we were welcome to revisit any of our favorites. Now, by this time, my stomach was already well on its way to calling it a night, but the sausage was so good, as was the salad, that seconds were not out of the question. Additionally, the soup was so rich that several of our dining companions made room for another bowl. Finally, a dessert was brought out that was very dense and quite rich with apricot and chocolate atop sponge cake soaked with what I believe was Amaretto and a creme anglaise. I will also confess to having two of these, but only because my first was a smaller corner piece :)
Well, as we wound down from the huge meal, we realized that we were dining in the screening room and decided to stay to watch the short films that Bob had shot with several of the vendors who supply Oliveto with everything from hogs to artichokes. There were very enjoyable and, of course, as if we hadn't stuffed ourselves enough, before the movie, I popped back downstairs for another round of cappuccino to go along with a couple of orders of Zeppole (which I shared with my friends and fellow diners). So, with that the 20th anniversary of Oliveto was brought to a close and it was indeed a fete to remember. Everyone from Paul C to Bob and all the staff were in great form and greater spirits. I hope to be there for the 40th anniversary.
Am I missing something?
It looks like $60 bucks gets you a five course meal, plus appetizers....Plus entertainment including a short film, a "breaking down a pig" demonstration (Hell, a crappy Draeger's class can be $60), a wine lecture and more.
That seems like a pretty good deal, I've paid more for less.
I agree that the interior price is a little steep but the outside selections look good and a great deal. I look forward to the polenta since I missed the polenta dinner and am anxious to see how much better artisan grind meal is than what I make with the store bought stuff. With the Fancy Food Show that weekend as well it should be a good eating time!