Sunday, June 6, 2010

Adesso, Oakland: the perfect pre-dinner drinking spot, save for the fernet

How quickly plans can change. We had plans for a night out in SF, with dinner reservations at Ame Restaurant in the St. Regis Hotel, followed by some bar hopping in the city. But after receiving some dining recommendations from Chef Michael Tusk of Quince Restaurant, we re jiggled our Saturday night plans to make way for a night out in Oakland. Our night revolved around dinner at Commis Restaurant which came highly recommended by both Tusk and our friends. The only reservations we could score at last minutes notice was their last seating at 9,45pm. We decided to drive over to Oakland a bit before our reservations to check out Adesso prior to dinner. This alsoi came recommeded by Tusk and others.

Adesso is an Italian wine and salumi bar, located on Piedmont Street in Oakland. It's a pretty cute street lined with many restaurants and Fenton's Creamery. Sister restaurant Dopo is located a few steps over. Adesso specializes in salumi bar and offers over 30 types of charcuterie including speck, prosciutto, coppa, tartufo and umbrian. They also serve other plates including exotic paninis (think softshell crab with watercress or porchetta with argula and lemon), piadines and artisan cured meats. They also have a happy hour from 5-7pm with a free buffet spread of antipasti with purchase of a glass of wine.

The bar is pretty trendy, the kind of wine bar that I would make my neighborhood favorite if it was located in LA. I liked the high ceilings and ample wraparound windows.

Besides wine, they also offer a few cocktails.

Gentlemen's Choice (bourbon, sweet vermouth, cherry heering, aromatic bitters, prosecco) and a glass of prosecco.

Little gems with lemon cream and chives
I cringed at first when my friend ordered this. I'm not really a salad kind of person and rarely order it at restaurants. But I was pleasantly surprised with this salad. The dressing was really good, the kind of thing you wished would be available at your local grocery store. It was light but packed in good flavors. The lettuce gems were crisp and refreshing.

Oysters from their Raw Bar
They had five types of oysters for $2.50 each. These were the Kumamoto (Puget Sound) and Miyagi (Tomales Bay).

Quail pate with tarragon and spring onion
I wanted pate but wanted something smoother/softer on the mousse side, not hard and unspreadable like some terrines can be. Our bartender suggested the quail pate which was absolutely delicious. It was rich and livery. This only came with three tiny crostinis but he made more when we requested.

We decided to end our time at Adesso with a San Francisco favorite, Fernet. Our awesome bartender comped us on this drink. Love this place! Honestly, this was one of the nastiest drinks I've had in a long time, pretty close to being as undrinkable as absinthe. It tasted like rubbing alcohol to me. The fernet was served in a nice sleek wine glass which was misleading because it belonged in a shot glass. We drank the fernet with gingerback (ginger soda) which really helped ease the pain.

Adesso is a sophisticated, trendy spot which appeared to be a great place for after-work drinks, a nice date or a pre-dinner spot. The salumi and pate selections were extensive. I wished I could have spent more time sampling some of the salumi. I don't know much about Oakland but the San Franciscans we knew teased us for spending an evening there. If only they would give Adesso and Oakland a chance. This is the type of place that I believe most San Franciscans would appreciate.

Hits: salumi options, ambiance, service
Misses: you'll need a car to get there from SF
Rating: ***

4395 Piedmont Ave.,
Oakland, CA 94611
(510) 601-0305


Unknown said...

A++++ spot.

stuffycheaks said...

Are you saying that cuz we got FREE fernets? *gag*