Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Tuna heart

Maritime East: 2826 Telegraph Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94707 ; tel. (510) 848-9299

THE AMBIANCE, a friend warned; the ambiance; no matter how good the food, the decor -- oh well, you'll see.

And indeed it does look like one of those places where they kept running out of materiel, or technique, or maybe ideas. Each wall seems to be covered in a different material. There's enough blue and green to give you the idea of a fish restaurant; otherwise, not much riding here on a sense of ensemble.

Oh well: you can't eat atmosphere. The menu was promising. Ann had mussels (late in the season, I thought to myself). Lindsey had a cheeseburger and french fries -- that'll surprise some of you.

I had a pizza with artichoke, fennel, and "Sardinian tuna heart." The pizza was undercooked, but who'd stand that long in front of a wood-burning pizza oven on a night like this?

The artichoke-fennel was food-processed to a paste; the tuna "heart" turned out to be like bottarga, dried and shaved over the pizza, and some kind of lemony mayonnaiselike stuff was squeeze-bottled out over the whole contraption.

Martin Codax Albarino, very nice...

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