Community Journal

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, Events, Happened already..., This Just In|0 Comments

This Just In: Octopus

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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

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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!

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

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!

By |January 9th, 2015|2015, Events, Happened already..., This Just In|0 Comments

This Just In: Bagna Cauda

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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

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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

Jonah’s favorite dishes for New Year’s Eve

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Over the past few years, Jonah has refined the prix fixe menu for our celebratory evenings. This year, at the top of his game, he has created an exquisite menu for our New Year’s Eve dinner. This year, we’re proud to show off our stunning new dining room, making for a stellar way to ring in the new year.

Jonah is particularly excited about a few of the items on the menu.

We’re serving delicious Acquerello Carnaroli rice in two different dishes: a savory risotto topped with truffles shaved table side and a sweet rice pudding served with roasted pineapple. This particular rice is grown in the Piedmont region of Italy by the Rondolino family, on a farm that receives only the purest water. The family is devoted to producing the highest quality rice possible — they have spent decades researching and experimenting with their growing method and aging process. From our visits there, we know this is a really wonderful family that makes a wonderful product.

The sea bass has also been spectacular this year. On New Year’s, we’re serving it with salsify crema, malted wheat berries, roast carrots, and old aceto balsamico to highlight the fish’s clean flavor and flaky texture. Sea bass makes for a dramatic presentation: its dark, crisp skin stands out against its pure white flesh. No wonder Jonah ranks sea bass as one of his top five fish.

For those who crave red meat for dinner, our Piedmontese beef Wellington is pretty perfect. This particular breed of cattle is renowned for its “double muscling,” which equals tender, juicy, and flavorful meat. Wrapped in pastry and served with Chanterelle mushrooms, creamed nettles, and black truffle sugo, our Wellington is simply a delicious dish.

No matter what you order, New Year’s Eve is certain to be unforgettable. Call 510-547-5356 to make your reservations for the  early (5pm) or late (7:45pm) seating.

A Mushroom Discovery

Maggie took a long walk in Sibley this morning. What did she find? Mushrooms of all shapes and sizes. It’s amazing that all of this is right at our back door.


By |December 12th, 2014|2014, Events, Happened already...|0 Comments

A big change in the Oliveto dining room: Now, you can hear.

Oliveto Restaurant has partnered with Meyer Sound Laboratories in an effort to transform the restaurant dining experience. To support our belief that conversation and connection are key elements of a truly satisfying dining experience, Meyer Sound has customized its state-of-the-art Constellation and Libra acoustic systems for our restaurant. Together, these systems enable the restaurant to create the optimum sonic environment for guests. Constellation’s leading edge technology is already acclaimed for creating optimal variable acoustics in such venues as Jazz at Lincoln Center and Berkeley’s Zellerbach Hall, as well as memorable sonic experiences on tour with artists like Michael Buble and Cirque du Soleil.

Active Acoustics: Constellation

Constellation allows Oliveto to control our sonic ambiance. The Constellation System is a suite of innovative technologies, including room microphones, advanced signal processing, and small self-powered loudspeakers. Working together unobtrusively in the background, these elements shape a room’s acoustics, ensuring diners consistently comfortable conversations, no matter the size of the table or the restaurant occupancy level.

Passive Acoustics: Libra

Libra is a system of custom-designed acoustic wall panels that provide effective sound absorption, which is key to optimal acoustic environments. Each Libra panel — featuring the stunning photography of renowned Bay Area photographer Deborah O’Grady (see above images) — adds an extraordinary visual design element to the room while also playing a crucial role in creating an ideal aural environment.

Working seamlessly together, Constellation and Libra create a multi-sensory dining experience where conversation is heard crisply, without distractions from music, background noise, or voices from neighboring tables. This cutting-edge installation provides a solution for increasingly disruptive restaurant noise, cited in a 2014 Zagat survey as diners’ biggest irritant, enabling guests to relax and enjoy the distinctive and impeccable Oliveto experience.

By |December 8th, 2014|2014, Events, Happened already..., Kitchen Notes, This Just In|0 Comments