Friday, July 14, 2006

Dopo - Oakland, Ca

Everyone loves it.

Me and girlfriend Charlie.

The Space:
Cramped, stylish space--beautifully yet casually appointed. 20-some seats in the dining room, another 6 or so in front and eight along an indoor/outdoor side patio. There was a wait (had to cockslap some durf who tried to cut in front of me in line) but only 15 minutes or so--enjoyed a glass of wine on Piedmont Ave. Charlie and were seated at one of the thick wood two-tops on the side patio which was great. Open-air but secluded from traffic and the waiting crowd. Each table has a personally adjustable heater.

The Wine:
Had a 2004 Canayli Vermentino di Gallura. It wasn't until I got the bottle that I remembered that I had had the 2003 vintage (and reviewed it here, no less). If my notes from 2003 are accurate, the 2004 is infinitely more interesting. Dry and acidic with a long finish--there was an unplaceable floral character on the finish. Dopo's all-Italian wine list is small and well-priced, topping out at $38. Corkage is $8, perfect if you wanted to bring in a more nuanced wine from your cellar.

Started with the calabrian salumi. This had the best texture of any hosuemade charcturie I've had. It was soft and fatty, not the slightest bit waxy. Good flavor but I would've liked it to be quite a bit spicier, especially for a calabrian. Following that we had a fresh mozarella and tomato burrata. The cheese was soft and flavorful--not the flavorless tofu-like discs that pass for fresh mozarella at some Italian places. The slices of tomato were okay but a bit watery. The halved cherry tomatoes were great, however--sweet, tart, and mildly acidic. The entire dish was dressed with olive oil and very fresh herbs. This proved to be a recurring flavoring theme at Dopo.

I had a gypsy pepper and red onion pizza with added house-cured anchovies. The pizza was pretty damn good--not because of the toppings (which were good but scant) or the crust (behind Pizzeria Delfina and Pizzaiolo) but because of what is oft-missing in California Cuisine: flavor. The pizza was generously topped with basil, oregano, thyme, and fresh olive oil. Oh yeah, and salt. Charlie had the housemade lasagna alla napoletana with a beef-pork ragout and fresh vegetables. Reports were that flavors were good and that the pasta itself was fresh, thick, and (once again) actually salted.

Opted for the delicato--sort of like tiramisu on meth. Sponge cake is layered with chocolate mousse and soaked in espresso and a liqueur that I don't remember. The slice was topped with whipped cream and chocolate nibs. It was pretty tasty--the chocolate mousse rocked and the flavors were well-balanced. Nothing extraordinary, but extraordinary desserts are had to find.

In Conclusion:
Great spot. I'll be back. Romantic, casual, but beautifully and elegantly set. It's a trendy SoMa or Mission spot without the annoying yupsters and at half the price.

Cuisine: Italian
Price range: Appetizers: $4-$10 Entrees: $10-$16
HFF's cost for two (one anitpasto, one primo, one paste, one pizze, one bottle of wine, two espressos, tax, generous tip): $100
Reservations: No.
4293 Piedmont Ave
Oakland, Ca 94611

1 comment:

typewrighter said...

one anitpasto, one primo, one paste, one pizze, one bottle of wine, one coffee, two espressos, tax, generous tip

one coffee? who got the coffee? i'm guessing you meant "glass of wine."

regardless, this dinner was fantastic and i'm excited to go back, again. thanks, dahling!