Eastside Road, March 9, 2013—THE ROADHOUSE RAMBLERS are back in business, I'm happy to report. Lindsey and I and a couple of dear old friends, two comfortable couples, spending Saturday night following the rules: an old-fashioned place, preferably unchanged in fifty years, by the side of the road in the country or a small town, with beef and a Martini at the head of the menu.
The snapshot above will give you an idea. This dining room is essentially unchanged since 1945, though I suppose that shiny chrome espresso machine to the right of the upright piano is a fairly recent addition.
Dinner began with a bowl of good hot hearty soup and a small plate of antipasto whose heart wasn't really in it: three slices of salami for the four of us, a couple of juicy pickled peppers, a small bowl of beans and ceci, one strip of raw carrot, another of celery.
Next came a small bowl of torn lettuces and thinly sliced red onion. Most of us opted for the oil and vinegar in cruets on the table, and I must say the olive oil was pretty darn good.
But we were there for the Saturday special, prime rib of beef. My piece was enormous and, as you see, as rare as I like it. It came with a small cup of what's called awjuss, spelled au jus; and another of blistering horseradish cream. And, of course, a baked potato, which I took nature, no sour cream or butter or chives, just another splash of that nice olive oil and a shake or two of salt.
Dessert? What could be more appropriate to a retro meal like this than spumoni?
Pinot noir, Castle Rock (California), 2010• Dinucci's Italian Restaurant, 14485 Valley Ford Road, Valley Ford, California; 707-876-3260.