Reports on Oliveto's Whole Hog Dinners March 9-12?
I've got a reservation for Saturday and would be grateful for positive/negative/meh recommendations:
5655 College Ave., Oakland, CA 94618
Stars: the corned pork tongue "all Reuben" (smoky variation on a Reuben sandwich, they should have this all the time), zampone.
Standouts: fermented salumi platter, gnocchi with lardo and hazelnuts, fritto misto (especially the ears), pork and beans, pork porterhouse, bollito misto.
Also good: gnocchi fritti, bucatini with nervetti, "whole hog" plate, puff pastry crostata.
Personally I found the salame-lined canolo odd, but one of my friends loved the combination.
Highest recommendation for the COS Nero d'Avola - Frappato blend. Just a spectacular wine and perfect with the rich food.
Overall, a great meal. I wish I were going back tonight to try the dishes we couldn't squeeze in.
Highlights were the terrine of pork trotters with spiced fruit compote, the proscuitti and the alla reuben preparation. Last night they were preparing the reuben with shoulder instead of tongue. We also enjoyed the polenta with ragu of pork heart and the chocolate caramel tart.
The presentation of the zampone was fitting for the occasion, cross sections of the leg cut into large rounds of cotecchino wrapped in skin and then one entire trotter -- toes and all on the plate. I liked the flavor of the cotecchino though others were overwhelmed by the fat of the dish and preferred the other items. Same with the gnocco fritto, which highlighted the excellent lardo and guanciale, but was overshadowed by other excellent dishes.
Everything was excellent to very good. This was my first time back since the chef change and it feels like the kitchen hasn't missed a beat. Looking forward to returning for the regular menu.