Friday, January 20, 2012

Roast lamb

Eastside Road, January 19, 2012—
HOME FAR TOO LATE last night to report on dinner, so you will find no dissertation here on the roast lamb. We'd driven down to Berkeley with friends to hear high-school musicians in a pageant of all sorts of chamber music, from a Schubert quartet movement to (no kidding!) a saxophone quartet, in shades and danger jackets, playing the "Air on the G String" by Johann Sebastian Bach. (I made a shaky video of this; when I get to better bandwidth I'll upload it to YouTube.)

To serious business first, though: dinner in the Café. I started with the house green salad, always dependable with its soft, subtle, but complex vinaigrette; and went on to sliced roast lamb with fried shoestring potatoes, delicate little turnips, and anchovy butter. Well, the lamb wasn't really roasted; it was grilled — such a young lamb it must have been, meat with that curious combination of young tenderness and optimism and the innately wary gaminess of the adult sheep. The anchovy butter suited it perfectly.

Desserts: Jim's Kishu tangerines, new crop dates, and for me house-made membrillo with Txiki and an exceptional ricotta, again with dates, candied lemon peel, and honey. Yes.
Verdicchio di matelica, Colle Stefano, 2010: fragrant, true to varietal, good body; Barbera d’Asti
• Café Chez Panisse, 1517 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley; 510.548.5525

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