Community Journal

This Just In: Herring

Some of this year's catch. Photo: Monterey Fish Company

Some of this year’s catch. Photo: Monterey Fish Company

Tonight, you can taste this season’s catch on our primi menu — Jonah is preparing cavatelli pasta with herring, Santa Barbara sea urchin, tomato, and hot pepper. As the season progresses, expect to see the fish in salads and cured herring roe in other dishes on the menu.

This is a herring season that almost wasn’t. Up until the middle of last week, we weren’t sure if we see any herring come through the kitchen this year. It wasn’t that there was a lack of fish — the bay has been full of herring since the season started a few weeks ago. No, this year, the problem has been a matter of price.

When we met with Tom Worthington of Monterey Fish Company last week, he explained that the majority of our local herring are exported to Japan, and the high numbers of available fish had driven the price down to exceptionally low levels. We’re talking about a drop from around $3000 a ton to only $200 a ton. That’s a big jump. Because the negotiated price was so low, the local, small-scale herring fishermen simply couldn’t afford to go out and fish. (Herring fishing licenses are shockingly expensive.)

Luckily, the fishermen and the fish buyers were able to make an agreement late last Tuesday night, and we can all agree that the fish they’re catching are pretty wonderful. Chef Jonah tells us that this year’s herring are around 75% larger than last year’s, with beautiful ivory pink flesh. We hope to have herring on the menu throughout the week.

See the full menu.

Call 510-547-5356 or reserve online.

Sunday Supper for January 25, 2015: Emilia-Romagna

emilia romagna 550

Salad of little gems with bagna càuda, lemon juice, and Parmesan
Tagliatelle with wild mushroom ragu
Torta of cauliflower and prosciutto with Piave Vecchio fonduta

*

Prix fixe $40.

Served family-style. For groups of one to twelve. The whole table must order prix fixe menu.

(Please note that wine and gratuity are not included.)

call 510-547-5356 or reserve online

Larger parties: please let us know at the time of your reservation if your table will be ordering the Sunday Supper menu so that we can plan accordingly. Thanks!

By |January 23rd, 2015|2015, Coming up..., Events, Sunday Suppers 2015|0 Comments

Valentine’s Day menu announced


We’re very proud of the way our renovation turned out–elegant, comfortable and, even on a busy night like Valentine’s Day dinner, you’ll actually be able to hear what your sweetie is saying. Chef Jonah has put a prix fixe menu together that we’ll be serving in the dining room on Saturday, February 14. We know that it can be hard to get a table, so we’d like to remind you to make your plans early.

Friday and Sunday nights are also great options for dinner if you’d rather stay in on Valentine’s Day itself. We’ll be serving some celebratory dishes à la carte on those nights as well.

*

Valentine’s Day Menu

Kusshi oyster with various toppings

choice of:
Chilled ocean consommé with sea urchin, Osetra caviar, smoked bay scallop, and sea vegetation
or
Salad of Dungeness crab, Bibb lettuce, and blood orange with fines herbes vinaigrette

choice of:
Risotto with Périgord truffles
or
Triangoli of celeriac with sweetbreads and old aceto balsamico

choice of:
Butter-poached Maine lobster with Acquerello riso and bergamot spumante
or
Liberty Farms duck with sformato of Butternut squash, saba-glazed chestnuts, and watercress

Desserts to be announced.

$85. prix fixe

Call 510-547-5356 or reserve online

By |January 22nd, 2015|2015, Coming up..., Events, This Just In, Valentines Day 2015|0 Comments

This Just In: Black Cod

Here’s how vertical hook and line fishing works. Image: Monterey Fish Company

Just as we look to our vegetable farmers to learn what’s in season, we also talk to our trusted fish monger, Tom Worthington of the Monterey Fish Company, to decide what seafood to put on our plates. We had a great chat with Tom this week about the state of our local fisheries.

In fact, we learned so much that there’s too much to dive into just yet (stay tuned for many more updates). But we can tell you that we’ve got some incredible black cod in the kitchen right now, and it’s being caught by an incredible fisherman named Josh Churchman.

This guy is a total craft fisherman. He takes his boat out 25 miles to the edge of our continental shelf near Bolinas. There, the sea floor completely drops off and that’s where he finds our black cod. He reels it in using vertical hook and line, a method that requires great skill and patience.

Just to give you an idea, here’s what Monterey Fish Company has to say about vertical hook and line:

A multi-hooked line weighted at the bottom is dropped into the waters adjacent to vertical outcroppings where fish congregate. The fisherman gently drifts into position and holds that position while slowly retracting the line, encouraging fish, then, in succession, other fish, to bite onto it.

This method of capture is used by small boat artisanal fishermen and demands a high level of skill and knowledge. Accepted by experts as one of the cleanest and most target-specific fishing methods, with no environmental damage, hook and line fishing is fast becoming a lost art. Newly legislated governmental permit and quota restrictions that allow commercial trawlers rights to waters, prohibit hook & line fishermen access to the areas that they’ve been stewarding and sustainably harvesting from for years.

Not just anyone can fish this way, and we’re lucky to be able to serve Churchman’s seafood.

Right now, we’re serving charcoal-grilled filets of this black cod atop Black Trumpet mushroom puree, broccoli di cicco, salt-roasted golden beets, and salmoriglio, an herbaceous sauce made from lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, oregano, and parsley.

Black cod will be on the menu through at least the end of the week.

Call 510-547-5356 or reserve online.

By |January 20th, 2015|2015, Coming up..., Events, This Just In|0 Comments

This Just In: Octopus

Octo 550

Talk about gorgeous.

Chef Jonah has found this this beautiful octopus to use on our antipasti menu right now. There are lots of theories about the best way to tenderize octopus — some cooks pound it before cooking, while others let low heat do the work. Jonah first braises it low and slow to render the meat tender and flavor-packed. Then, right before serving, the octopus hits a hot grill to give it a hard sear. Tonight, we’re serving it atop green garlic-studded farinata, a thin flatbread made from chickpea flour. Its subtle nuttiness is a perfect foil to the octopus. Tangy-sweet Meyer lemon and bright, spicy watercress add a finishing touch.

Octopus will be on the menu through the end of the week.

Call 510-547-5356 or reserve online.

By |January 15th, 2015|2015, Events, Happened already..., Kitchen Notes, This Just In|0 Comments

Sunday Supper Menu for January 18, 2015: Veneto

treiste 550

Piazza dell’Unità d’Italia, Trieste. An October evening. In the background is an Italian Navy ship.

Fritto misto of squid, anchovies, and shrimp

Spaghetti with clams and tomato

Brasato of rabbit with peppers and herbs

*

Prix fixe $40.

Served family-style. For groups of one to twelve. The whole table must order prix fixe menu.

(Please note that wine and gratuity are not included.)

call 510-547-5356 or reserve online

Larger parties: please let us know at the time of your reservation if your table will be ordering the Sunday Supper menu so that we can plan accordingly. Thanks!

Oakland Restaurant Week 2015 Menu

This Thursday marks the beginning of Oakland’s 5th annual Restaurant Week, which means there is going to be a lot of good food going around. We’ll be serving a special prix fixe menu in our Cafe for the duration of the 10 day celebration. We think this menu perfectly encapsulates the Oliveto experience — we think you’ll agree! One note: We’re not taking reservations since we’re serving the menu in the cafe. Come early to avoid a wait.

Star Route Farm lettuces, carrots, red onion and red wine vinaigrette
Boudin blanc of Devil’s Gulch rabbit
Panettone bread pudding with caramel sauce

$30 prix fixe in the Oliveto Cafe
January 15 to 25

By |January 13th, 2015|2015, Events, Happened already..., This Just In|0 Comments

Sunday Supper for January 11, 2015


*Acquacotta Zuppa is a rustic, hearty soup made from bread, vegetables, and beans.*

Prix fixe $40.

Served family-style. For groups of one to twelve. The whole table must order prix fixe menu.

(Please note that wine and gratuity are not included.)

call 510-547-5356 or reserve online

Larger parties: please let us know at the time of your reservation if your table will be ordering the Sunday Supper menu so that we can plan accordingly. Thanks!

This Just In: Bagna Cauda

plated bagna 550

If you’re not familiar with this classic Piedmontese dish, you’re in for a treat. Roughly translated, bagna cauda means “hot bath,” and what a glorious hot bath it is. The ingredients are simple — olive oil, garlic, anchovies, and lemon — but together they create something exquisite. The anchovies are garlic melt into the warm fat, mellowing and releasing their alluring aromas to form a dip perfect for the bounty of winter vegetables we’ve got in the kitchen. Served in these warm pots, the bagna cauda lives up to its name.

We’ll be serving our take on bagna cauda at dinner in the restaurant alongside roasted root vegetables and buttery, tangy Castelmagno cheese.

Call 510-547-5356 or reserve online.

By |January 7th, 2015|2014, Events, Happened already..., This Just In|0 Comments

Here’s to a joyous new year

wet paint 550

December 26 marks the end of Oliveto’s 28th year. The past few months have been a period of renewal and change, and they’ve been some of the most exciting for us here on College Avenue.

Oliveto is tremendously satisfying to Maggie and me and gives our lives great richness. We cherish the relationships we’ve formed with our staff, customers, and the farmers and purveyors we work with. We’re deeply grateful to all and send our best wishes for a joyous new year.

By |December 18th, 2014|2014, Events, Happened already..., Kitchen Notes, This Just In|0 Comments