Side Dish: Belotti’s Steak Tartare
Raw beef makes a comeback.
Ahi tartare has appeared on so many modern American menus that few of us remember it’s based on the century-old French classic steak tartare. Long before most of us thought eating uncooked fish was a good idea, bistros were serving a mound of ground beef topped with a raw egg and toast points. Truth be told, it was often lousy. But Belotti, a new Italian restaurant in Rockridge, is giving steak tartare its due, using absolutely fresh dry-aged (yes, that makes sense) rib-eye steak, free of all fat and gristle, hand chopped. You toss it on your plate with a raw perky quail egg, truffle caviar (like tiny tapioca pearls made from black truffle juice), and true Parmigiano Reggiano. It’s served with ethereal toast points and a touch (ask for more) of aged balsamic to cut the beef’s rich mouth feel. It just goes to show you that what’s old is new again, and what’s aged—be it beef or balsamic—can taste absolutely fresh.
5403 College Ave., Oakland, (510) 788-7890, belottirb.com. Lunch and dinner Wed.–Mon.