The future of dining can be found in this 75-seat restaurant. The ambience is cutting edge, the service is exceptionally personable and the food can compete with the best. On any given night, chef Matt Colgan, who spent time in Italy and then at 42 Degrees in San Francisco, features about 20 items on the one-page menu. [Full review]
The most popular dish at À Côté in Oakland is the succulent mussels, beautifully perfumed and enriched with Pernod and served with marvelous bread for dipping. If moules are here, can frites be far behind? And the French fries are irresistible. But so is the broccoli raab flatbread, which will make believers out of those who turn up their noses at the bitter green. The steak comes from the flatiron, a relatively new cut intended to make the shoulder meat tender, and it is.
”We come and we sit at the communal table and we order lots of dishes, so we have that many more interactions with the wait staff,” said David Edward, a retired carpenter who was eating at À Côté. ”Everybody’s talking to each other. Everybody’s enjoying themselves. That’s what a restaurant is supposed to be about.” [Full review]
The Best Bites of Food in the U.S.A.
The first pomme frite off the stack at À Côté in Oakland is so hot that it burns your fingers and the salt stings your tongue, which is why you must first cool it off with a trip through the aioli sauce, followed by an immediate swallow of wheaty Delerium Tremens ale.
The place is about as rambunctious as a serious restaurant can be. The Mediterranean menu, the communal table, the pin- lighting and even the wine program conspire to keep it that way. … Chef Matt Colgan has extrapolated tapas into the French and Italian realms, which wine director Jeff Berlin complements with about 50 wines by the glass. They’re tapas- friendly, of course, and that means they serve the simplicity of the food, and never overwhelm it. [Full review]
Small plates, devised by chef Matt Colgan and inspired by the cuisine of Provence, include braised rabbit over polenta, oven-roasted mussels dashed with Pernod, a real-deal croque monsieur, and the best pommes frites this side of Bruges.” Wines: “An accessible and eclectic ninety-bottle list, with an emphasis on immediate gratification, as well as a stellar spirits selection.
Sidle up to À Côté
À Côté, a new Mediterranean tapas restaurant in Oakland’s Rockridge area, was busy from the day it opened. It’s certainly worth a wait to taste what the kitchen is up to. While you’re waiting, you can watch Colgan and company at work in front of the welcoming wood-fired oven. Each plate is simple, showcasing ingredients from France, Italy and Spain.
Jan Newberry, food and wine writer for San Francisco magazine, says she has left her heart in three new restaurants. One is À Côté in Oakland, a Mediterranean tapas bar that has lines even at lunchtime. “Christopher Rossi’s twnety-item menu changes often, but there would be a riot if he ever dared not offer the pommes frites,” says Newberry, who also recommends the mussels in Pernod, and the lamb with tapenade-roasted Yukon Gold potatoes.
Cafe’s small plates are worth the wait
The Dish: Drop-in cafe may require patience, but the Mediterranean small plates are worth it. Owners Jack and Daphne Knowles did a wonderful job on the design, and chef Matthew Colgan sends out splendid small plates.
The menu at the cozy 75-seat restaurant is built on small plates – little dishes of food that might best be described as French tapas. … It’s a style of eating that is as interesting and satisfying as a more formal approach, but much more of a bargain. [Chef Matt Colgan’s] food, which combines French technique and Mediterranean flavors and relies heavily on a wood-fired oven, is directly influenced by his time in Europe.[Full review]