Barlago Opens on Grand Avenue

photo: Christina Mitchell

photo: Christina Mitchell

Barlago opened a couple weeks ago in the former Zza’s space. It was kind of weird because it was the first time I went to my old neighborhood and had to look for parking.  Anyway, I met Leigh from Flavorhood and Shawn from Tart Bakery and we had a great time.

First, we shared the creamy Burrata (tomato, basil, olive oil, $10) and the tender Polpette (beef and pork meatballs, marinara sauce, parsley, pecorino, $9).  Of course, we also had to get a Roman Style Thin Crust Pizza, so we decided on the Margherita (San Marzano Tomato Sauce, Basil, Mozzarella, $10) and then added prosciutto and arugula for an extra $5. The crust was crispy like a cracker, so thin you could almost see through it, and strong enough to stand up to the toppings.  Finally, we ordered the Carne Brasato (Boont amber ale braised short rib, mixed mushrooms $19), which was tender, but the sauce could have been reduced more and we would have loved to have had something to sop up the juices.  The entrees all come with a side, and since we could not stop thinking about Brussels Sprouts, that’s what we ordered. Unfortunately, this version was too sweet and undercooked.

They have an all Italian wine list and, although I don’t remember exactly what we ordered, I can tell you that we enjoyed what we tasted. I also tried a cocktail: the Cicciolina (Larceny Bourbon, Carpano Antica, Meletti Amaro, Orange Bitters, $10), which was boozy and slightly bitter, in a good way.

Unfortunately, the dessert menu was kind of boring, so we didn’t bother.

All in all, it was a nice experience, a little more upscale than Zza’s, but still a neighborhood Italian spot.  We would go back for drinks and antipasti, because the most successful dishes were on that side of the menu.  Check it out and let me know what you think!

550 Grand Ave, Oakland