oliveto's oceanic dinners this week
We have a res. @ Oliveto's for the first of their seafood dinners tomorrow night (runs through Fri). Since it's the first night, no way to get Chow suggestions, as we've done in year's past, when we've booked later in the run. But perhaps some of you have eaten these dishes as they've appeared on the regular menu. If so, would love advice re what to order. Promise to post after we go. Here's the menu :
Menu for Oliveto's
11th ANNUAL OCEANIC DINNERS
Tuesday, June 12 - Friday, June 15
Four nights of extraordinary seafood dinners!
Involtini of smoked swordfish with Sausalito watercress, summer squash, and horseradish crema
Local oyster po' boy with fennel slaw
Dungeness crab cake with sauce rémoulade
White shrimp-stuffed sand dab
with fig leaves and asparagus
Scallop-stuffed squash blossoms with celeriac
and lemon verbena spumante
Crudo of local halibut with Calabrian chili, preserved lemon, and oregano
Charcoal-grilled sausage of hen and bay shrimp with
crostino, frisée, and tarragon
Salad of new potatoes, salt cod, frisée, and lemon
Garden lettuces vinaigrette
Sagne chine: Calabrian lasagne with swordfish polpettini
Spaghetti with fresh anchovy puttanesca
Squid ink pappardelle with halibut brodetto, clams,
and preserved lemon
Gnocchi with American sturgeon caviar,
crème fraîche, and chive
Ravioliof baccalà with rapini, lemon, and hot pepper
Bucatini with sea urchin "carbonara"
Conchiglie with bay scallops
Tortelli of lobster with mascarpone, brandy, and Espelette pepper
Grills, Sautés, Braises, and Rotisserie
Classic cioppino of local fish and shellfish
Charcoal-grilled Columbia River sturgeon with tomato and fregola brodetto, lemon, and chili
Slow-roasted king salmon with summer squash purée and squash blossom spumante
Seared white sea bass with fennel, Bintje potatoes, and local oyster zabaglione
Charcoal-grilled yellowtail jack with broccoli di ciccio, Bianco di Maggio onion, and salmoriglio
Salt-roasted black sea bass with long-cooked Romano beans, and gremolata
Vegetarian option TBD
Beef option TBD
Lemon verbena sorbetto with Prosecco- macerated raspberries
Mascarpone ice cream in almond tuile "oysters" with Bing cherries and chocolate "seaweed"
White peach and cream gelatina
with pistachio Florentine and boysenberry compôte
Warm Crimson Baby nectarine tart with browned butter-green cardamom ice cream
Georgia white shrimp crema fritta
with roasted apricots
Bittersweet chocolate cake
Sesamielle: Sicilian fish-shaped sesame cookies
Chef Jonah's excitement about the fish dinners derives from the unpredictable nature of "the day's catch" and the tremendous variation among the sea's offerings. Fishmonger Tom Worthington and the fishermen Monterey Fish sources are inseparable from the success of the event: their practices are impeccably responsible, the freshness of their fish is exquisite, the array of fish, shellfish, crustaceans, mollusks, and echinoderms is thrilling.
This year we'll also celebrate, in addition to ocean creatures in general, the comeback of our local sustainable fisheries. Thirty years of regulation and good stewardship of several local fisheries are bringing about a turnaround. Fishermen and scientists alike are seeing stable fisheries and increasing numbers of white sea bass, halibut, petrale sole, yellowtail jack, albacore, herring, some rock cods. It's a great emerging local success story.
or reserve online
I went to the Oceanic dinner last night and enjoyed it. We had excellent service and no issues with pacing. As far as food, we enjoyed the crab cake - full of crab meat with the crab flavor coming through. The crudo of tuna was also a winner showing off the quality of the fish. We all felt the squash blossom scallop dish was fair, not great because the flavor of the scallop was muted by the creamy sauce served next to it. Similarly the lobster tortelli had a rich sauce that was perhaps a bit too creamy, though we did appreciate the amount of lobster in the tortelli. Everyone liked the white sea bass, which was a big meaty piece served with a knock out oyster zabaglione. We only wished that there was more zabagloine. I loved the bucatini, the pasta itself was perfectly chewy and had great flavor - it went well with the bits of lardon. The sea urchin carbonara sauce had much less sea urchin flavor than we expected, so the others preferred the squid ink pappardelle which had a more concentrated flavor of squid ink and clam.
Overall, this year's approach was more classic and less fanciful than previous oceanic dinners. My friend out that it's nice to see familiar dishes done by a high level kitchen. So yes, we had a lovely dinner, no surprising dishes, just great food and service.
report as promised. we went on the late side; and the place got pretty empty over the course of our meal. not what i recall from prior special dinners there, but perhaps it's about going on a tues night, presumably a slow night in the upscale restaurant biz.
what was odd, given the relative low number of covers at that hour, was the service: courses were slow to arrive, pacing off--usually not the case @ oliveto's--my husband's appetizer didn't arrive w/ the rest of ours--he waited quite a while to get it, after he flagged down the waiter--clearly they forgot to make it somehow, which, goodness knows, can happen @ the best of places--but no real apology (or comp'd dessert or something)--and when they brought each course for the six of us, there was a longish lag before the last of the plates arrived, such that the rest of us were sitting, our hot food cooling as we politely waited for all to be served to begin. finally re service: note to waiter: probably not the most appealing adjective to use when describing a featured wine: "tobacco-y."
ok, on to the food. a lot of it was good to very good. the best: the pappardelle w/ shellfish--beautifully prepared, lemon-y--perfect! my tuna crude was beautiful to behold and quite good--just got a bit boring after a handful of bites, and too heavy a hand w/ the pepper mill in the kitchen (i'm not a pepper gal, others may like it just fine). i had the salmon for my main--asked for it rare; and it came cooked just perfectly--and the summer squash puree was a lovely foil for it--but the salt!--aiyh!--kept reaching for my water glass. My husband (who usually likes Oliveto better than I) was more mixed re his fare. He ordered the sand dab appetizer--when it finally arrived, he thought it was "ordinary." We shared the pappardelle, which he also loved. And he was disappointed in the sturgeon--over-cooked (and unlike me, he's not a rare fish lover); and the sauce over-powered the fish.
I had a couple tastings from others in our party. I thought the seafood sausage bite I had was OK--a bit boring--and the thick slice of bread seemed wrong re pairing. I didn't taste the seafood lasagna, but the waiter warned the person who ordered it about how "heavy" it was. My bite of the nectarine tart, on the other hand, was just great--wonderful flavor of the fruit, butter-y crust--and the cardamon ice cream was well made and an interesting complement.
Eager to hear people's experience over the next few nights. I thought it was one of the better special dinners we've done there, mis-steps notwithstanding.