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Jun 11, 2012 07:53 PM

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

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

Soup TBD


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

Chicken optionTBD


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.

Call (510)547-5356
or reserve online

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  1. 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.

    1. 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.