The Ham stopped by Bellanico, in the Glenview District of Oakland last week with a friend to eat a bowl of orrechiette with oxtail sugo and share a bottle of Punta Aquila, Tenute Rubino Primitivo 2006 for dinner. We ate at the bar on a slammed Sunday night. It's great to see this place busy.
I've eaten at Bellanico's before with great satisfaction. Since my return from Italy, I haven't eaten pasta outside Lucio's, my brother's, or my own home. I didn't want to be disappointed with a poorly executed pasta dish. I'm pleased to say the orrechiette was as good as anything I had in Puglia. The pasta was not soaking in sauce, the oxtail was part of the dish and not a 'heap o'meat' on top of the pasta, and most of all the pasta was cooked Italian al dente. Combine that with a regionally appropriate wine, a Primitivo from Puglia and I had all the makings of a wonderful Italian experience right here in Oakland. The Primitivo was 14% alcohol and fermented in stainless steel. As I've mentioned before, many of the Italians I talked with while traveling in Puglia were adamant about not using first-pass or even second-pass oak on their wines. This wine was offered a wonderful pairing to the pasta and sauce.