Berkeley, January 12, 2015NOT IN THE MOOD for a big dinner, nevertheless a little hungry, where to eat? We looked on Open Table to see what was available, and chanced on a place we hadn't heard about, and decided to give it a try.
It's an interesting concept: a limited menu of appetizers, main courses, and side dishes, chosen to accompany a fairly extensive list of wines, many from quite off the beaten track. Since I had a delicious Beaufort to snack on last night, I decided to stay in Savoie, and asked for a flight of three whites.
With them, this house-made garlic sausage, quite rosy inside and nicely flavored, with slightly undercooked white beans and quite sufficiently braised collard greens. The wines matched well. And then, afterward, a very nice crème brûlée, flavored subtly but certainly with nutmeg.
Rousette: Lupon Frangy, 2013 (tart, good fruit, lots of substance); Chignin, Quensrd (Bergeron), 2012: similar to a Quincy, direct, balanced, firm; Savagnin: Domaine Rolet (Jura), 2012: serious, mature, a bit of finesse — between a Macon blanc and a good white Rhône. Nice wines.•The Barrel, 5330 College Avenue, Oakland; 510-655-1700