A Spring dinner at Lungomare

by foodhoe on June 9, 2016

1 Broadway, Oakland | 510.444.7171 | website

lungomare_front

Last month I tagged along with my friend Brenda (of the sassy Bites & Bourbon blog) who was invited to dine as a guest of the house at Lungomare in Oakland.  The restaurant is named after a magnificent seafront promenade in Naples, Italy which is famous for having some of the most panoramic views in the world.  There are some very fine views from Lungomare which is located on the picturesque waterfront in Jack London Square, too.  I got there early and enjoyed a glass of wine in their sexy outside patio by a toasty firepit which was lit to fend off the chill.

lungomare_firepit

The restaurant was opened in 2013 by Oakland restaurateur Chris Pastena (Chop Bar, Calavera) and is surprisingly large.  You really have to click this link to see a very cool virtual tour from their website. Lungomare’s ever-changing coastal Italian menu focuses on locally sourced seasonal ingredients, and they are very committed to working with the local community.  By the way, they are having a Hootenany at local Grabish Farm in Dixon this weekend, the farm and their heritage mulefoot hogs are profiled in this excellent article on Edible Eastbay.  Sounds like a good time, I’m tempted to go just to meet the hogs!

lungomare_interior

We asked for some bread and enjoyed a basket of tender pillowy focaccia served with a simple and addictive dipping sauce made from olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

lungomare_focaccia_dip

Because Executive chef Craig DiFonzo is famous for his talent in creating house-cured meats, we had to try a sample from the Artisanal House Cured Meats (1/$8, 4/$25, 8/$48), which are made from mulefoot heritage pigs, a once-endangered heritage breed from the Southern US.  The pig is characterized by its solid, non-cloven (i.e., single-toed) hooves — similar to a mule, which limits their mobility, so they become fatty and are prized for their well-marbled meat, which is particularly well-suited for charcuterie.  From the front: luscious paper thin slices of 16 month aged ProsciuttoFuet, thick meaty slices of garlicky Spanish dry salami dotted with nuggets of fat back; Ciccioli, a spreadable terrine made of pork belly, white wine, thyme and garlic and Coppa di tessa, a rich gelatinous headcheese terrine made from all tasty pig parts infused with fragrant cinnamon and clove.

lungomare_charcuterie1

We both loved the local sardines ($12), which were served with an eggplant caponata that included raisins, toasted pine nuts and topped with micro broccoli.  Sardines are an oily fish full of Omega 3 fatty acids and tiny bones.  Grilling makes them intensely flavorful and their beautiful silvery skin gets delectably crisp.  The combination of flavors had us smacking our lips.

lungomare_sardines

We shared the entrees, this is the Torchio ($19), made with smoked wild boar ragu, spring peas, fiddlehead ferns and Italian butter beans.  The shape of the pasta resembles a torch and is designed to hold a chunky sauce.  The ragu was not the usual rich stewy mixture, but was a lighter version to celebrate spring made with a clear brothy sauce brightened with fresh herbs and full of the tender smoked meat.

lungomare_pasta

My favorite of the two was the Local wild king salmon ($29) which was deliciously fatty and rich and drizzled with a lovely buttery sauce.  The plate was full of the bright flavors of spring with sunchokes, sugar snaps, artichokes, fiddlehead ferns, and topped with densely crunchy pea sprouts, I loved the pureed chokes with that sauce.

lungomare_salmontop

To finish our meal we split the Chocolate Budino, a decadent pudding topped with caramel and sea salt, garnished with whipped cream and tiny crunchy malt balls, which I couldn’t stop eating, full as I was.

lungomare_chocolate

It was a very fine feast, a delicious celebration of the freshest spring flavors and we savored every bite.  Thanks Nerb for inviting me along, and thanks Chef DiFonza and crew for a very memorable meal!

lungomare_insideview

Lungomare Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Brenda Ton June 16, 2016 at 11:36 pm

That was definitely a memorable and excellent meal. Your photos are making my mouth water. Thanks for coming with me! Always a pleasure.

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