A16 Rockridge [Oakland]
- Robert Lauriston Jun 2, 2013 11:20 AM
Some minor first-day hiccups but the food was great and the service warm and friendly. Sat at the bar and saw some interesting cocktails being made, including one with fresh myrtle (mirto).
Fried baccalà polpettini ($11) was one of the best croquette-type dishes I've ever had. Creamy, nicely seasoned, crunchy.
Shaved artichoke salad ($12) with shaved fennel, shaved pecorino, and mint was very much like similar dishes I've had in Italy.
Roasted calamari ($14) with fried Corona beans and lovage salsa verde was like nothing I've had before. The beans had a remarkable texture and the lovage added a mysterious hint of Middle Eastern flavor.
Rachetta ("racquet") pizza ($20) was an artichoke and green olive pizza with a ricotta-stuffed calzone-like handle. Think chewier than Una Pizza Napoletana.
Pork and egg polpettone ($24) was a slice of meat loaf with an egg in the middle. Bright flavors.
Roasted fennel ($8) with bottarga and lemon had a suprising touch of chile. Very good.
We were pretty full so just split a Fernet gelato for dessert. Nice idea, I could taste various elements of the amaro that I miss when just drinking it (to me it's medicine for a sore throat or stomachache).
Had a bottle of great Vermintino recommended by the sommelier and a Valle dell'Acate Cerasuolo di Vittoria, finished with an arugula amaro I've never seen before.
Really great meal and a good time. Food's quite similar in style to the SF original but the place is much more spacious and not as loud. This is a great addition to the East Bay Italian scene.
They're hitting the ground running. First winemaker event tomorrow:
A16 Rockridge welcomes Sicilian winemaker Sebastiano De Bartoli this thursday, June 6th. Along with their iconic marsala wines, which are credited with bringing back the original 'in perpetuum' (traditional style of the marsala production from the late 1800's), we will be pouring De Bartoli's sparkling Grillo 'Terzavia', Zibibbo 'Pietranera', Grillo 'Grappoli del Grillo', Cataratto 'Lucido', Marsala 'La Miccia', Marsala Superiore 10 year, Marsala 'Vecchio Samperi Ventennale' as well as their treasured Bukkuram passito di Pantelleria and Bukkuram Sole d'Agosto' from the island of Pantelleria. We will be offering the different Marsala wines in flights to taste the many styles the De Bartoli family produces and Chef Rocky Maselli will have some Sicilian-inspred dishes to pair alongside these wines throughout the bar and restaurant.
re: Robert Lauriston
I went for the chance to taste all those wines, which was a treat. Highlights were:
- roasted squid with breadcrumbs and I think Zante currants with the Terzavia
- porcini and pioppini (beech mushroom / shimeji) salad
- fresh local anchovies with the La Miccia
- spaghetti with uni, breadcrumbs, almonds, and a hint of hot pepper with the Pietranera (a lovely dry Muscat of Alexandria), really a fantastic dish, they should put this on the regular menu
- ricotta fritters with apricot sauce
- cherries gratinéed with zabaglione
Eat Oakland was there opening night and we did a photo post. We went early so did not really feel the sting of the slow kitchen that seemed to impact people with later reservations. Thought the food, service and space was excellent (what an improvement on the space!!), despite the opening night hiccups.