Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Handmade Pastas and Charcuterie at Desco (Oakland, CA)

Desco is a gorgeous new restaurant in Oakland from Donato Scotti who owns Donato Enoteco in Redwood City, serving house made charcuterie and pastas.

Desco's bright and spacious dining room

I had dinner there with a couple of vegetarian friends, but I indulged in plenty of meat on my own. I started with a platter of three house-made charcuterie that seemed to be much more reasonable than the ones I find in LA. The Piatto della casa (smoked duck, lamb prosciutto, rabbit terrine ) is only $10
It's quite the charcuterie plate for $10! The lamb prosciutto was aged for 3 months and the rabbit terrine was drizzled with extra vecchio (extra old) balsamico.

There's a small list of classic cocktails ($10 each), but they're made well and included drinks like Pegu Club. The Old Fashioned was quite nice and they have a good selection of gin and whisky.

The thing you must get here is the handmade Casonsei ($12). Casonsei is a type of filled pasta from Bergamo in Lombardi region, where the chef is from. It is filled with pork and amaretto cookie crumbs, then topped with brown butter and guanciale. 
I absolutely loved it. The pasta had very nice thickness and texture. The pork inside is very tender, perfect with the crispy guanciale. This pasta was so delicious, I couldn't stop eating despite having another entree coming ..

My vegetarian friends got their own pasta, which also happened to be gluten freeMushroom pizza (also vegetarian). I tried a bite of this and enjoyed the thin, chewy crust.

The entree I ordered was the Cartoccio (pouch of crustaceans and cherry tomatoes - $20)
After the amazing casonsei this was actually a little underwhelming. I liked the flavors but I wanted more broth since it seemed a bit dry. 
For dessert, try the torta di madorla e albococche - an apricot and almond tart with vin santo (an Italian dessert wine), served with a scoop of hazelnut gelato. 

I just loved the moistness and the interplay between the apricot and the nutty flavors. 
While I'm not (yet) an expert of the Oakland dining scene, Desco seems to me a solid choice with a beautiful, airy dining room, good classic cocktails, and the amazing casonsei pasta!

499 9th Street
Oakland, CA 94607
(510) 663-9000
Desco on Urbanspoon


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