Á Côte

by janet on September 13th, 2007

Shimi takes such good care of me. Even before our lunch excursion to ChaChaCha, she’s like, “I already have a place in mind for dinner tonight.” LOVE you~!

The place was Á Côte, and it was fabulous. It was…guess! Small plates? Good guess! MMMMM.

We were seated in the outdoor patio in the back – I recommend that you sit here and never inside. It’s just too lovely outside. Shimi’s fiance said that when it’s cold they extend the awning and close the curtains bordering the patio. Mmmmm. I could see it – a cozy, soft, cloth room. I was a little upset about the terrible photographing light, but the photos turned out rather romantic, so all’s well that ends well.

This was truly a small plates nirvana. I felt like everything we ordered was perfect (any negativity below is mere nitpicking), and perfectly coordinated with one another. One wine I had was fantastic too – the Touriga Nacional / Alfrocheiro – Quinta dos Grilos Vinho Tinto (2005).

I was a little starving so the Croque Monsieur with French ham and Gruyere fucking hit the SPOT! A delicate, refined, utterly yummy, crisp little sandwich, with these funky thingies that were like olive/pickles chock full of crunchy seeds.

We also ordered a seasonal salad that is no longer on the menu. It was the Little Gem Salad with peaches, pistachios, and goat cheese dressing. The peaches could have been MUCH more softer, sweeter, and juicier, especially against the goat cheese dressing.

Next was the incredible grilled duck sausage with banana fingerlings, Gravenstein apples, fennel, Cipollini onions, and tarragon mustard. Shimi went first, and said, “Mmmmm, the apples!” What? Duck sausage and all she can rave about are the apples? Wait a sec! I’m having deja vu, so hard it’s making me LOL. The three of us ended up fighting over the last smears of mustard, which was freaking awesome.

Next was gnocchi al pesto with Haricot vert and cherry tomatoes. Don’t be fooled. Haricot vert just means green beans. Cheesy and rich, but not too rich. The pesto wasn’t green at all and was sticky, but in a pleasant manner. I’ve never had (a) gnocchi or (b) pesto without getting so stinking full that I want to die, so this was a new experience.

When eating small plates, it’s important to have meat so you feel full. So we got the grilled skirt steak with crispy yellow Finn potatoes, Valdeon aioli, and watercress. The fixin’s were extraneous, and the steak was too thick! I would NEVER get any action if I wore a skirt with fabric this thick, you know? It was excellent flavor but it made me miss the duck sausage of days gone by…

We hesitated about ordering dessert, but thank god we did! We ordered the Pavlova with white Peach crème, Blossom Bluff stone fruit, and raspberry coulis. As a texture monkey the pavlova was insanely pleasing to me. It’s a meringue dessert named after the ballerina Anna Pavlova, and it’s such a good name for it. It starts with a slight chew-chew that gives in and just melts away. The peaches, plums, and nectarines here were perfectly juicy and sweet. I still dream about this dessert today.

A Côte
5478 College Ave. (in Rockridge area)
Oakland, CA 94618

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