Oliveto's Whole Hog Dinners [Oakland]
Oliveto's annual whole hog dinners started last night. Any reports? I'm heading there soon and this year's menu is extensive. I welcome any recommendations for specific dishes. Thanks.
This won't help for you since we went on the same night, but here's my two cents:
Affetati Misti: aka the antipasti plate. I went several years ago, and that plate was definitely better. Tasty "salamis" and 2 prosciutto type cuts, one of which was 99% salt and the other less so. I love fancy salami type meats so I was perfectly happy with this, but the overly salty prosciutto and lack of any little dabs of spreads as they've had before made this not worth the price tag.
Charcoal Grilled Pork Liver: This came with slow cooked onions that somehow tasted like sauerkraut, but that wasn't a bad thing. The liver was pretty great, it did not taste like pieces metal, and was not pasty or granuley like cheap liver can be. The rarer pieces were extremely smooth and melted in my mouth, the end piece i got had a great texture and seemed smokier. This was a sizeable portion of liver for such a rich meat. I would recommend this if you have more than 2 folks, or if someone loves liver. It was a bit too much for 2 people. Good bang for the buck here.
Warm Terrina of Trotter and Tongue. This was also great. Loved all the different textures of meat, loved the soffrito. Definitely a hit.
Crispy Pork Belly: I was getting full by this point, and this is a reallllly rich dish. One decent sized cube of pork belly. minimally seasoned, but of such high quality that it was quite easy to eat even for someone who isn't normally ok with such large amounts of fat on his meat. I love japanese/chinese pork belly where they cook the fat down so much that what's left melts in your mouth... but this was not that preparation. All the fat was their, but it tasted great. The celeriac and apple had a vinegar dressing on it that really helped cut the fat, but I wish there had been more.
Spit-roated pork leg. Once again the main entree was a pretty big miss for me. 3 slices of ham-like pork. With a meager portion of kale, and some tasty molasses-braised beans. The meat had some sinewy bits that occasionally made it hard to chew. Minimally seasoned, and it did have a nice smokey flavor, but it just wasn't special enough to warrant the bigger "main" price tag. I saw the Porchetta at a table next to me and I wish I had done that. I also wish i had done the boudin noir instead.
The waitress had said the leg was a big hit that night, and it did sell out right after we ordered (sorry whoever was that next person). Maybe our last slices didn't live up to earlier portions.
The "three little pigs" cocktail sounded far more interesting than it tasted. It was fine, but probably would have been better served by just ordering a straight drink.
Please excuse the stream of conscious style.
Thanks for posting, yes we went the same night. We had three of the same dishes, the crispy pork belly, warm terrina and the pork leg. I agree with your sentiments on all three.
For the terrina, I loved the play of soft and chewy of trotter and tongue with a beautiful porky fat flavor with a little acid and bite from the dandelion greens. The misses we had were the pork leg, as you described, and the pork heart. The heart had a slightly cured flavor and reminded me a bit of pastrami, except the meat was tough.
Our standouts were the warm terrina, coppa de testa, the lobster boudin blanc and the stinging nettle pappardelle. The pork sauce was simple but the combination of the sausage with the nettle pasta was great. The lobster boudin Blanc did not taste strongly of lobster, it was difficult to identify individual elements, it simply had great overall flavor.
Other good dishes were the porchetta and the ear antipasto and boudin noir. I The boudin noir had subtle interesting spices, a much more refined version than my previous experiences with boudin noir.
Overall, we were very happy and thought it was a better showing than last year. We loved the variety of cuts and preparations which was well demonstrated by the cool design of the menu.