December 2004 Archives

A Cote, Oakland, California


A Cote is a small-plates place: you order a bunch of stuff and they bring it on small plates to share around the table. This sort of restaurant is terribly trendy right now, and we thought we'd give it a try. The romaine salad was recommended by one reviewer as the best salad ever, so how can you resist that?

The place is small, crowded, they don't take reservations, and they actually seemed pretty busy. The decor was nice, but I guess if you charge $8 for a plate of olives, you have the cash to buy $500 lamps.

We sat at a "community table," which meant we were sitting between a large party of Asians speaking their own language loudly, and a couple which included one of the most irritating men I've ever had to listen to for half a meal. I do not recommend taking a seat at the community table.

As for the food, it was not all that, especially given the fairly high prices. The legendary romaine salad was OK as a salad, and for a rarity was actually cut into small enough pieces to be eaten without a knife, unlike most American salads. But it was not by even a long shot the best salad ever; a short trip up the road to Chez Panisse would put that claim to bed. The olives were marinated in a way that was not entirely pleasant. The French onion soup was uneventful. I ordered the plate of mussels, which was crunchy with sand and undercooked: almost a perfect example of how you do not want seafood and especially shellfish to arrive at your table. (No, I did not end up getting sick.) We ended with a cheese plate that, for a cheese plate, contained very little cheese.

The big score for the evening was my fig-liqueur cocktail, which was light and fruity and sweet in exactly the way you want a fig cocktail to be.

Despite the lovely fig cocktail, I do not believe we will be making another trip.

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This page is an archive of entries from December 2004 listed from newest to oldest.

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