Acquacotta in Alameda
My husband and tried out Acquacotta, a new (just opened 4/1) restaurant in Alameda on Webster. We were both pleased.
Their website: http://www.acquacotta.net/
has tonight's menu as the sample menu
I had the Acquacotta soup - very light and tasty, with lots of colorful lightly cooked veggies (cauliflower, asparagus, red and yellow peppers, zucchini and yellow squash, and probably other stuff) and fresh herbs. I also had Rigatoncini with sausage, artichokes and ricotta salata. I thought it was delicious, with a flavorful broth-like sauce.
My husband had a salad that had very fresh lettuces and a tasty olive oil dressing, and Papardelle with Ragu - a thin sauce with ground beef. He liked both.
With a liter of sparkling water, it came to $52.
They have a full bar and the decor is pleasant, although I think it is missing something. Service was good. They open at 5pm, although we saw somewhere that they would be open for lunch - probably something old online.
The restaurant has been a long time coming - this info is from the January 2006 newsletter of the West Alameda Business Association:
A Taste of Tuscany on Webster
Acquacotta, is joining restaurant row on Alameda’s Webster Street. Owner/Chef John Couacaud says the literal translation of Acquacotta is “cooked water,” but it refers to a group of lovely soups from the Tuscan coast of Italy. One should expect the food to be exceptional. Couacaud has 30 years experience in the restaurant industry, including several years as executive sous chef at Prima Ristorante in Walnut Creek and line cook and sous chef at Oliveto Cafe and Restaurant on College Avenue, under Chef Curt Clingman, who now is at JoJo on Piedmont Avenue in Oakland. A sample menu, which Couacaud said he would not be held to, showed tasty appetizers like crostini and proscuitto with marinated artichokes, salads, sandwiches, main dishes like roast chicken and desserts.
a little bit more info here: http://www.alamedamagazine.com/media/...
Had dinner there last night. Nice space. Very quiet on a Saturday night around 9, only a couple of tables occupied. The bartender said that's a slow day and it's busier on weeknights. Nice place for a solo dinner at the bar.
The saffron arancini were nice though to my taste could have been fried a bit longer.
The acquacotta (vegetable soup) was fabulous. Seems like the vegetables must have been cooked individually and then combined with chicken broth, since the green beans were crisp and the carrots and cauliflower cooked through. Lovely light dish.
The stracotto al Chianti (braised beef) was spectacular, as good a version of this classic as I've had. On a cold night it would be perfect with a side of polenta. The potatoes that came with it were cute (cut to look like mushrooms) but I think a waxy variety would have worked better. Generous helping, I only finished half (and forgot to take the rest home, damn it).
By that point I was stuffed, but couldn't resist ricotta with chestnut honey and hazelnuts. Again, a lovely light dish.
Excellent place. Full bar with a very sophisticated and eclectic selection of wine and booze. Looking forward to going back and trying the chef's ragù, I'm sure anyone who can braise beef like that makes a great version.
They're open for lunch now, too! Tues-Sat, 11:30-2:30. They have at least 2 pastas, 2 paninis, and the standard (delicious, vegetarian, fresh) acquacotta soup and another soup. Plus appetizers.
Today I had a sausage/mozzarella/marinara panini, My husband had tagliatelle w/ traditional meat sauce which is one of his favorites. We split the acquacotta soup which provided a good size bowl for each of us. The soup comes with a big grilled piece of rustic bread.
This place has really turned into a favorite of ours. They usually have something that is perfect comfort food for me - the soup, soft polenta with something. I also really like the desserts I have had - recently a Meyer lemon tart, a while back, some kind of almond tart that was very tasty. They also have the Vignettes Wine Country sodas. And a full bar.
I keep forgetting to post about my experiences at Aquacotta. Suffice to say, that it's been a great addition to Alameda. My husband had one of the best chicken dishes he's ever eaten (pan-roasted chicken breast). I've had a very tasty ragu and a beautiful piece of salmon. Anyway, highly recommended!
We had a great dinner there the other night. Beautiful sardine salad appetizer--very unique. The butternut squash pasta had amazing flavors. The sea bream was seared with a beautiful crust. Steak was done perfectly and was so tender you could cut it with a butter knife. We had a great time--excellent food and great decor. Servers were friendly. And Webster Street in Alameda is really coming up--feels like the area is posed to become a more happening place.
Yeah, seriously, two and a half years. Acquacotta really fills a hole in the Alameda dining scene, and I've been anxiously awaiting its opening. They had announced they were going to open last Friday, but when I went by, they'd had some kind of last-minute snafu and weren't formally open. Instead, they were having an "open house" with complimentary wine and appetizers, which were very good.
Thanks for the report on the full experience.