Scolari’s Good Eats, Alameda CA
We actually drove loops around Alameda tonight because we didn’t realize that the restaurant where we had intended on eating is closed on Mondays. Twenty minutes of GPSing and googling around the Park Street area finally brought us to Scolari’s Good Eats, an unassuming establishment with one every-day menu and one daily-changing menu, both of which are impressive. Unfortunately the fryer was down for the day so we weren’t able to try any of the famous fries, therefore we “settled” on splitting four items (one from the every-day menu, and three from the daily-changing menu because they looked soooo good). We couldn’t tell you when you’ll be able to see these specials again since a lot of what’s made is done with what’s on hand and in season. For example, when there are fries, instead of plain ketchup each day there is a different flavor of aioli for dipping!
First up was the special BBQ slaw dog. The house-made barbecue sauce was spicy, but sweet enough to keep August coming back for more. The cabbage was particularly crunchy for the vinegar-based slaw, and cilantro was a nice touch. The dog was made in San Leandro by an old gentleman who gets his pork meat from Modesto, so we’re happy for the use of local sources. It had a spicy and savory bite with crispy skin and a good snap. The bun supporting it all was grilled and buttery, from Semifreddi’s like most of the bread products here.
Stromboli is one of the items that you can get here any day, either Classic or “Whitey” (white sauce, goat cheese, you get the idea). We got a Classic with daily house-made marinara, and this was pretty close to how we picture an Italian turnover, even though stromboli is technically from 1950s American cuisine, not Italian of any era. With pepperoni, ham, and salami, the high quality meats weren’t greasy at all and had the taste of fresh spices. The mozzarella was nice and gooey with some stretch like mozzarella should. The crust was crispy but thin enough so that it wasn’t doughy. We’ve only had stromboli at one other restaurant, and so far here has the best one!
A burger with bleu cheese, red onion, arugula, and strawberry jam? Oh yes, August immediately zeroed in on this. The brioche buns are made with a special recipe developed by a baker just for Scolari’s, and it makes a difference – the light but thick bread, split and grilled, was perfect for holding the patty all the yummy burger toppings. Bleu cheese, red onion, and arugula have all been done before, and bleu cheese with strawberries isn’t new, so the leap to put strawberries on a bleu burger wasn’t so hard to make, and it turned out delicious.
Zach’s pork sandwich had tender, thinly sliced meat with a light sear and the same coleslaw and barbecue sauce as the hot dog. In addition, it had mild, gooey white cheddar cheese, which made the sandwich a little more rich in flavor. Same as what was used for August’s, the brioche bun was split and grilled, providing a texture contrast and helping so that the barbecue sauce didn’t soak through and make the sandwich soggy.
Kim, Chris, and JJ, on shift tonight, run a tight ship. Kim at the register graciously took our orders, along with all the others’ in the steady stream of people walking into the tiny shop (it looked busy to us, but the crew agreed that it was a slow night!). Chris and JJ consistently cranked out delectable meals for eager diners, and still found time to be personable and chat with us. During winter hours they’re open until midnight but during the summer, with a bar next door, they crank out fresh food until 2:30 am. If you’re not immediately near Alameda, you could follow Scolari’s wherever they go with their food truck; just like them on Facebook and pop by when the mood strikes you, even late hours at night.