Saturday, May 10, 2014

Family Style in Oakland

Cool Neighborhood
My buddy Ray has told me of all the great restaurants in Oakland so I texted him to get a recommendation for lunch and he came back with Bellanico.  When you think of Oakland you do not think fine dining, you think the Raiders and you think tough neighborhood.  Get those thoughts out of your head because Oakland is a jewel for great restaurants.  When you are driving to Bellanico you realize that you are in this charming little community with historic Victorian houses and a host of traditional family owned businesses.

Panini Colorful
Today my colleague Lisa and I went there for lunch.  Neither of us wanted to get  weighted down by a heavy lunch so I went with 2 small plates and Lisa went with the Panini.  I love to compare the different meatballs so I started out with the Mondeghili Fried Meatballs.  I had never run into a fried meatball so I was not sure what we would get.  It was a deep fried combination of Meats, Gran Padano, Homemade Salumi and egg.  This meatball originated in Spain as an Albondigas but was brought to Milan during the 150 years of Spanish rule and adapted to the Italians.  The bottom line this was a very good bite.  You get the deep fried crisp coating but inside you get the savory taste of the meats with the creamy addition of the Gran Padano cheese and the egg, which melts in your mouth.  My second small bite was the Swiss Chard Malfatti with Gan Padano in a Brown Butter Sage sauce.  This was almost like a miniature spinach souffle with the bitterness of the Swiss Chard and the creaminess of the cheese steeped in a Brown Butter Sage Sauce, it was really delicious.

I love Salumi and any time I can buy a hand crafted Salumi variety I will do it.  The owner Elizabeth had 2 types a Sopresetta and a Coppa available for me to buy.  I am not sure she wants to be in business to sell these Salumi's but I will tell you they were both terrific.  Both of them were well made, fresh and had a very nice heat to them.  So if you are in Oakland and are looking for great quality food, Bellanico is the place to go.