Drinks at Adesso
Danielle ordered the Provencale with lavender-infused gin, vermouth and cointreau. It was light and floral but not at all too syrupy or sweet. After telling Hanjiro I was into Bourbon and had lately really fallen for Aperol, he made me a cocktail with bourbon, Aperol, apricot liquor and bitters. It was incredible. He loves chatting with customers about what they like to drink or what they're curious about, and he'll custom-tailor cocktails just for you. For my second drink of the evening, I tried the Amari Cola on the regular menu which Hanjiro had concocted after hearing the story of the Coca Cola recipe on This American Life. He was inspired to put together a cocktail with a similar flavor profile and he's succeeded wildly with this blend of rye, cynar and ramazzotti amaro, grenadine, lemon, soda and a little mint. It's refreshing as a summer morning; go there. Try it.
Unlike most bars and restaurants, the cocktails and drinks aren't discounted during Apertivo Hour. However, the staff brings you small plates of foccaccia, salumi, salads, and pate to try. And this, my friends, is Reason #2 to fall hard for Adesso: free, incredible food. Danielle and I had the chance to sample the olive focaccia and the Ciccici pate which, as one of the bartenders said, is good they've all coined it "meat butter." It's made of pork shoulder which is reduced way down until it really is the consistency of butter. I actually don't generally love pates, but this was an exception.
Ciccioli at Adesso
Next our waiter brought out the squid and fennel salad: a fresh, summery dish-- the perfect balance to some of the saltier salumi. And of course, the piadina. This might have been my favorite, actually. The piadina is essentially a grilled flatbread and is quite popular as a casual on-the-go snack in Italy. The folks at Adesso roll the flatbread into more of a sandwich: ours had sausage and chiles and was just what we needed after a few strong cocktails.
Squid and Fennel Salad and Piadina during Apertivo Hour at Adesso
After having my half of the piadina, I realized the genius in bringing you out bites to try: you're going to want to order more. Sure, if you weren't starving, you could absolutely make a small meal of the spread, but we ended up ordering a Salumi Plate with our second cocktail that consisted of a billowy burrata, pate, and three different kinds of salumi with sliced bread.
By the time we looked up from our lovely plates and empty cocktail glasses, Adesso had filled up with just a few open seats remaining. The place was filled with a great, vibrant, laid-back energy with couples and friends meeting to catch up and to revel in the playful air of early-summer possibility. For me, much of that possibility lies in many more Apertivo Hours at Adesso. I'll see you there.
4395 Piedmont Ave
(at the corner of Pleasant Valley Road)
Oakland, CA 94611
Dining Hours: Mon-Wed. 5:00 p.m. – 12:00 a.m.; Thu-Sat. 5:00 p.m. – 1:00 a.m.
Happy Hour: Mon-Wed. 5-6pm and 10:30-11:30pm; Thur-Sat. 5-6pm and 11-12pm