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Cold Veal With Tuna Sauce Is the Hot Weather Craving You Didn't Know You Had

In Rockridge.

 

October in the Bay Area means sweltering evenings when you can’t bear the thought of firing up the stove, so you make a simple salad for dinner, or a pot of cold sesame noodles.

What you might not think to crave is a big old plate of roast beef—that is, unless you hail from northern Italy, where vitello tonnato, or cold veal with tuna sauce, is a warm-weather staple. But one taste of the version Michele Belotti serves at his eponymous Rockridge eatery, Belotti Ristorante e Bottega, and you’ll be good and hooked.

Belotti explains that the dish was originally created as a way for poor folks in Italy’s Piedmont region to utilize a cheap, unappetizingly lean cut of meat— the veal or beef eye of round. The solution? Boil the bejesus out of it, chill it, slice it thin, and serve it with a tuna-spiked mayonnaise to keep the meat from being dry as sawdust.

In the intervening centuries, Italian chefs have honed the humble dish well nigh to perfection. For Belotti’s vitello tonnato ($14.50), the veal is slow-roasted so that each slice comes out juicy and pink; the sauce, made with oil-poached tuna from Sicily, adds surprising richness and just the right tangy counterpoint. On a warm night, a carnivore could ask for nothing better.
5403 College Ave. (Near Hudson St.), Oakland, 510-788- 7890

 

Originally published in the October issue of San Francisco 

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