This week at Rivoli
We just came back from a stellar meal at Rivoli, with the prices rolled back to some 18 years ago when they first opened. It was impeccable.
-Caeser salad was both generous and delicately flavorful.
-Gravlox with an unusual medley of garnishes, including a light cilantro sauce
-Tho I'm not a steak eater, I went for the grilled sirloin because the plate brought to the table next to ours looked so inviting. It was sensational.
-Marquis de chocolate drizzled with espresso sauce was a outrageously light, yet dense with flavor.
We arrived at 8:30 or so without a reservation. Got seated some 15-20 minutes later. Service was great. I hadn't been since they redecorated the main room, and I found it quite pleasant. And not as noisy as I recalled. (Or am I simply more used to it...?)
It was really fun. And I will be sure to go back more often, even after they've returned to normal prices.
1539 Solano Ave, Berkeley, CA 94707
I don't believe there was any particular promotion going on last night, but I'm pretty sure prices were lower than the last time we went, sometime last year, and the style was more Italian and less French.
"Purée of chanterelle mushroom and potato soup, lemon cream" ($7) was lovely, very light for a soup with such a creamy texture.
From the description, I expected "calamari and mussel ragout, castelveltrano olives, tomato, white wine, cannellini bean and olive oil purée, lemon mayonnaise, grilled bruschetta" ($11.75) to be a sort of stew, but it was more like bruschetta, albeit heaped up with lots of ragout. Tasty.
Portabella mushroom fritters, aïoli, parmesan, arugula, caper vinaigrette ($9.75) were as good as ever, actually I think improved from the last time I had them, a few years ago—I think they're using a lighter batter / breading.
"Oxtail Bolognese, creamy parmesan risotto, celery and caper vinaigrette, lemon pangrattato" ($19.50) was not the oxtail dish I was expecting at all—"creamy parmesan risotto with oxtail ragù" would have been clearer. It was great, though.
"Artisanal cheeses: Cowgirl Creamery Mt Tam, Abbey de Belloc Brebis, Laura Chenel cabecou, house made walnut and currant bread" ($9.50) was one of the best cheese plates I've had around here in a while. I love that they don't pander to that weird American notion that cheese should be served with honey, jam, nuts, etc.
looksl like they are doing this promotion again from April 11-17, but with a different menu:
purée of roast eggplant soup, red pepper cream 5.00
Point Reyes blue cheese and caramelized onion tart, rosemary, walnuts 6.75
lobster and scallop mousse, saffron vinaigrette 7.00
portabella mushroom fritters, aïoli, parmesan, arugula, caper vinaigrette 6.95
spring antipasti, prosciutto di parma 6.95
caesar salad 6.50
mixed baby lettuces with sherry shallot vinaigrette,
smoked trout pâté and dill cream crostini 4.95
bocconcini di parma, tomato sauce, basil purée, shaved fennel salad 9.50
curried shrimp and oyster chowder, ginger daal, mint chutney 12.95
grilled lemongrass crusted mahi mahi, basmati rice, peanut sauce,
lemon butter, cucumber, daikon sprout and crispy wonton salad 14.50
grilled chicken breast, creamy polenta, drunken black beans,
pico de gallo, chipotle crema 11.95
grilled house smoked pork tenderloin, radicchio and escarole salad,
bacon, soft cooked egg, duck fat fried potatoes, mustard vinaigrette 14.75
slow braised beef brasato, pancetta, red wine, cannellini bean purée,
braised greens with hot peppers and lemon 16.50
seasonal sorbet, cookies 5.00
warm torta regina, vanilla ice cream, orange caramel and chocolate sauces 5.00
poached pear, champagne sabayon, raspberry sauce 5.00
hot fudge sundae, whipped cream, toasted nuts 5.00
please let us know if you’d like to join our email list for new menus
We, too, had an amazing meal at Rivoli last night. I'd been wanting to take my husband there for quite some time now, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity. My husband had the asparagus appetizer with hard boiled eggs and croutons, the pork chile verde with corn spoonbread and the hot fudge sundae. He loved it all and had only one, very minor, complaint: he wished that the chile verde had just a bit of heat. However, the flavor of the tomatillos was deep and rich and citrusy- everything one would want in chile verde. The pork was fork-tender and the spoonbread was light, corn-y and only very slightly sweet; a great compliment to the chile verde. He also had the Navarro grape juice cocktail. I had the portabello fritters, which I always love, and the aioli was so good I wanted to lick it off the plate. I also had the steak, which was amazing. I can't believe I'm describing top sirloin as amazing, but it really was. The peppercorn crust was perfect, as were the light, ethereal gnocchi. I've never had any that good, even in an Italian restaurant. I had a glass of wine and ended with the apple crisp. All that for right around $100. We were very pleased (and stuffed)!
1539 Solano Ave, Berkeley, CA 94707
Thanks for all the suggestions. We, too, had a lovely dinner. I started w/ the mushroom fritters--which I hadn't had for some time and quite enjoyed--had forgotten the nice contrast between the fried mushroom and the greens. My husband began w/ a good caesar salad (thanks to the above post). For mains, he had the fish stew, which he loved. And I had the vegetable tagine, which was very well done (garbanzo beans were fried, which, along w/ the nuts, made for good complexity in texture). Dessert: of course the hot fudge sundae--the best imo. The only slight negative--it was a bit too speedy. But we had a 9 pm res, and the restaurant was thinning out,, so understand that it might be hard to re-pace in the kitchen which must have been going gang-busters for the couple hours before we arrived. Two drinks each (Carpano Antica and syrah for me, some bubblier beverages for my spouse). And we definitely were under $100 for 2.
Wow! I had many of the same things that you ordered: gravlox, steak and blue cheese gnocchi, marquis for dessert. My husband had the chile verde and the butter lettuce salad with goat cheese. All very flavorful dishes and not huge portions, so it was easy for me to eat a little bit of everything. Only two tables were seated when I arrived at 5;15, but a totally buzzing full house when we left at 6:45. Good value at $125 including tip, cocktails, wine. Highly recommended!
I was striving to get out of there for under $100 for 2, and we almost did, until I succumbed to coffee. It was a nice menu. The waiter even missed some of the "old" menu items, and was glad to see them on this short term menu.
I had the mixed greens, the fish, and the ice cream sundae. It was all delicious. The salad was simple, perfect for what I was in the mood for. The fish was really good - I'd have cooked it maybe 20 or 30 seconds less, but it was close enough, and the plate's flavors were delicious. And the ice cream sundae was what it was, with extra fresh toasted nuts, and tasty fudge. And what could be wrong with a delicious bottle of bandol rose? Service was nice, and it was a great mid-week treat. Now, off to Lalime's special Fried Chicken dinner tomorrow. Next week may be toothpicks and water.
1329 Gilman, Berkeley, CA 94706