Mutton of a Bygone Era


The mutton the cook Mrs. Patmore so proudly served on the Downton Abbey table is of a higher order rarely available to us, but it will be on the Oliveto menu tomorrow and Friday.


According to Mac Magruder, from whose ranch these animals have come, mutton (sheep over 1 year old) was once prized. But it suffered some unjust criticism during WWI and WWII, when sheep was raised primarily for wool, and some of what was sold as mutton was very old – several years, even. It was a time when all sheep was sold and eaten, due to the food shortages during that period.


After the wars, meat became the primary product again, and wool became secondary, so sheep began to be processed at a younger age. Mutton became rare, and its high regard was lost (a casualty of war).


So what we have here is an uncommon treat. The flavor will be deeper, the omega fatty acid content higher – the sort of meat that was once cherished over a century ago.


We’ve recently received four sheep from Magruder Ranch, one of which is particularly special and delicious. It’s a “wether”, a neutered male that’s been kept in the flock for a year and a half. Magruder’s sheep is generally processed at 6-8 months – a bit younger.


Here’s what we’re planning:


Chef Jonah will be smoking and curing the legs of the wether – like prosciutto – and they will be ready in five or six months. The rest of the wether – along with the three other Magruder yearlings we recently acquired – will be served in a trio upstairs. A portion of leg muscle from the younger yearlings will be cooked rare and served alongside tenderloin or loin and lamb chop.


Tortellini of lamb in lamb brodo will be featured on our menu too.


The first Cintas hit the Oliveto Salumi Platter


It’s been a long wait, but we are thrilled to announce the first California-raised Cintas are hitting the Oliveto menu and the results are spectacular.

If you’ll recall, back in 2012 we giddily reported sprinkler-side on the momentous occasion of their arrival and since then, we’ve been patiently waiting to get our hands on the some of these animals for our house-cured meat program. Finally, this past April, we received two whole animals; one was roasted whole in the Caja China (delicious) and the other was broken down for curing. Prized for their back fat in particular, the Cinta Senese is famous in Italy for the prosciutto it produces. With Front Porch Farms taking such care in the raising of these pigs and providing them an environment in which to roam and forage on a wide variety of feed these NorCal Cintas are truly the first of their kind and in turn so is the salumi they produce with a softer, richer fat that is incredibly flavorful.

Currently on the menu featured on the Oliveto House-cured meat platter:

pancetta stecatta – in this method, instead of hanging flat, the pancetta is folded in half and clamped between two boards, which slows down the drying process & reduces the chances of the the exposed fat oxidizing.

and lonza

 both from these California-raised cintas.

2017-09-12T15:47:12-07:00October 13th, 2014|Events, Whole Animal Butchery|0 Comments

Magruder Lamb on the menu

Mac Magruder's flock getting their graze on

Mac Magruder’s flock getting their graze on

Three beautiful yearlings just arrived from Mac Magruder and are on the current dinner menu. Chef Rhodehamel thinks they may last through Thursday, but these lamb are from the same stock that Patricia Unterman raved about back in 2011 and are expected to go fast.

Due of Magruder lamb: loin and chop with Jimmy Nardello peperonata, eggplant purée, and Castelvetrano olive salsa

2017-09-12T15:47:18-07:00July 15th, 2014|Whole Animal Butchery|0 Comments

This Weekend: Pig Roast!


Two Pigs. Two Nights. One Chinese Box.

Coming up this weekend, Chef Rhodehamel will be roasting a whole pig both Friday (7/11) and Saturday (7/12) night. We’ve got a Cinta-cross from our friends at Front Porch Farm, and a wild boar from Full Belly Farm. Both of these animals average around 80 lbs and are perfect for roasting using La Caja China or, the chinese box.

Served up with roasted corn on the cob, we’ll only have about fifty orders each night, so it’s likely we’ll run out – you’ve been warned.

This Just In: New to the dinner menu


On the menu tonight and tomorrow and (maybe) through the weekend:

Farm egg in carozza with hen confit hash cake, Chanterelle mushrooms, and pancetta-sherry vinaigrette

The chanterelles are lovely autumnal harbingers, the egg gooey and warm, the vinaigrette provides a bright balance, and who could turn down a hen confit hash cake?

What else is there to say? Oh yeah…

this beef has been aging two months and is finally ready…
Charcoal-grilled dry-aged Magruder New York strip with Chanterelle mushrooms two ways, broccoli di ciccio, and sugo
2017-09-12T15:47:35-07:00September 18th, 2013|This Just In, Whole Animal Butchery|0 Comments

Grass-Fed Beef: The Season Begins


Three weeks ago, Oliveto got its first delivery from Mac Magruder’s ranch: a 1,187 pound heifer that has yielded about 800 pounds of delicious grass-fed beef.

Chef Jonah has developed a way of working through the animal, cutting off sections as they reach their peak to ensure highest quality and least waste. This meat found its way onto the menu about a week ago, starting with flank and skirt steak, then a ribeye blowout for Mother’s Day. Next week, expect to see sirloin and New York strip.

If you missed your favorite cut of beef this time, don’t worry — we’ll be getting another whole animal at the beginning of June, and expect to see grass-fed Magruder beef on the menu for the next eight months, animals that Mac will be finishing on irrigated pasture.

Mac is the real deal in a world where a “grass fed” label can be misleading. Watch a video here of Mac Magruder at his ranch with his family and animals.

Morels and Porcini are everywhere on the menu alongside peas, fava beans and asparagus. You’ll even find some bing cherries from Hamada Farm in Fresno.

See Chef Jonah explain a bit about his butchering process with one of last year’s Magruder animals here.

2017-09-12T15:47:43-07:00May 15th, 2013|Magruder Ranch, Whole Animal Butchery|0 Comments

2012 Grass-Fed Beef Season Begins

Cuts featured this week:
Flat Iron: Chef Jonah’s Pick
The Chef believes this to be the best cut of the animal. Not only is it exceptionally tender with great marbling, because it is against the shoulder and close to the bone it also has great flavor. It will appear on the menu starting this Friday, July 13th through the weekend.

Currently on the menu:
Tagliata of Magruder beef with Tuscan kale, fork-mashed potato, capers, and sugo

Carne cruda with Castelvetrano olives, Calab-
rian chili, and parsley

Carne cruda with Castelvetrano olives, Calabrian chili, and parsley

Starting Wednesday, July 11th the kitchen will also be making the bolognese sauce with meat from this same animal.


Late last month Chef Jonah took delivery of our first whole grass-fed beef animal of the season from rancher Mac Magruder in Mendocino County. (Beef season is when the grass is at its peak for finishing cattle.) We’ll be receiving two of Mac’s steers per month through September. We can serve the best beef this way: Mac’s beef is exceptional – even among grass-fed contenders, we are able to dry-age the meat to our own specifications, we get to use the whole animal, and, of course, these humanely raised steers are robustly healthy.

With all the talk about whole-animal butchery, there are very few places that will buy whole beef animals in the Bay Area from our great local ranchers. Only a handful of butcher shops in the greater Bay Area buy whole beef and we believe we are the only restaurant at this time with the facilities and knowledge to buy beef as a whole animal. As a result of such a paucity of outlets, local ranchers face the challenge of a grossly inadequate market for their product.

As part of Oliveto’s It’s Complicated series of forums, we’re planning a September event that will consider that problem and other huge hurdles in establishing a thriving, local, small-producer beef economy with good animal-welfare protocols in Northern California. In preparation for the beef forum, throughout the summer, we’ll be passing along information about what we think those challenges are. Stay tuned! In the meantime, come on down for some of the best local grass-fed beef available.

2017-09-12T15:48:04-07:00July 9th, 2012|Whole Animal Butchery|0 Comments


This Sunday

beefmap type

The Oliveto kitchen received three sides of grass-fed, grass-finished beef last week: one whole animal from our friend Mac Magruder, and an additional side from Bauer Ranch in Covelo, CA. Both of these animals are older, producing meat far more marbled than what we’ve seen in most grass-fed beef.

This is the first time we’ve received meat from Sparky Bauer. He runs a very small operation in Mendocino County that is producing some of the finest grass-fed beef in Northern California.

Chef Jonah will be long braising the shanks in the traditional Italian preparation. On the menu one night only.

Call 510-547-5356

or reserve online

2017-09-12T15:48:16-07:00August 26th, 2011|Whole Animal Butchery|0 Comments

The Steer Is Here


Last friday, the Oliveto kitchen received delivery of one side of a magnificent four-year-old Black Angus steer raised by Jack Monroe, the owner of Monroe Ranch and Hay Farm in Covelo, CA.

This delivery was noteworthy on many levels but to start, we needed a forklift to get it off the truck. The animal’s live weight was close to 2,100 pounds, and it dressed-out at 1,237 pounds. At present, we have two 300 pound quarters aging in our meat locker.

The size of the animal and sheer amount of energy and care that has been put into producing such a beautiful animal is reminiscent of the great fattened oxen fairs found in Piedmont. With that in mind, Chef Jonah has some special preparations in mind. He will be pit cooking (buried in the ground) a whole leg for his Outstanding In the Field dinner coming up in a few weeks. We are putting together a schedule of some beef-centric events at Oliveto that will be happening in next 5-6 weeks and we will be sharing that with you shortly.

At present we’ve got a few of the smaller cuts available on the menu such as:

Charcoal-grilled skirt steak of bua with di ciccio broccoli, new potatoes, and walnut pesto

Located 28 miles east of Highway 101, on the Eel River, Jack’s herd winter in the coastal mountains of Mendocino County and summer in the valley. Jack says, “We herd our cattle on horseback. Our way of life is natural and sweet, and we think that comes out in the flavor of the beef. Support wildlife — keep cowboys in the saddle!”

The animals are always on pasture, grass-fed and grass-finished producing meat that is well-marbled with great flavor. This is honestly some of the best beef we’ve tasted.

2017-09-12T15:48:21-07:00June 13th, 2011|Whole Animal Butchery|0 Comments
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