Last Sunday was the start of birthday celebrations for me. My close friend, sister, and I had a pretty late reservation for dinner especially considering the time change that just went into effect. We took a chance and arrived two hours earlier to A16 hoping for an earlier seating. The hostess was accommodating and arranged for us to sit at the corner of a bar because a party was about to be seated at their table. Although I have eaten at the original A16 in San Francisco, it was the first time any of us tried this location on College Avenue in the Rockridge district of Oakland.
We were all about sharing plates and I appreciated how perfectly timed our dishes came out one at a time. It was also helpful since we were sitting at the bar and had some space constraints. Since there were three of us, we thought we could enjoy one of A16’s pizza as an appetizer. I wanted the pizza so I chose the Salsiccia pizza which came with pork sausage, sweet pepper, mozarella cheese, oregano, and tomato sauce. The pizzas at A16 are served with scissors so you can cut them however you want. The crust and flavors of the toppings were spot on. The pizza quickly disappeared as we each demolished two slices.
My sister picked the second appetizer which was roasted calamari. I was pleasantly surprised by how good this dish was. It came with fried corona beans which were really crispy. Having the mix of the calamari and beans worked well together.
The Sunday special was sugo alla casa which is a rigatoni with braised beef, tomato, and pecorino. It is definitely a heavy dish. I imagine if I were to run a marathon, I would eat this the night before. I really enjoyed it and it was perfect for us to share. The dish came with an arugula and fennel salad which also lightens the dish up.
We also shared a side of Brussels sprouts. They were roasted with lemon and black pepper and had a nice caramelization. I would say this side dish is as good as it gets.
My friend wanted the Berkshire pork roast which the Chef replaced with a thick cut pork chop. I personally wasn’t disappointed because I love a good pork chop. It came with beet greens. I was pretty stuffed but managed to have the meat around bone as well as about two ounces of the chop. It was delish! The person that took my plate away looked surprised how clean I left the bone.
I was really intrigued by the one of the flavors of ice cream, candy cap. Apparently, they had made this mushroom ice cream in honor of the farmer who supplies their mushrooms. We got a scoop to try. I thought it was pretty interesting, but I can’t say I would ever order it again.
The real dessert we were going to share was the buckwheat cake with poached quince, huckleberry compote, and mascarpone. I took my fork and got a little of each thing to get the perfect bite. If I could have eaten more, I would have. It was the perfect ending to an excellent meal.