The Buffalo is Outstanding — More through the weekend

The Buffalo is Outstanding

More through the weekend

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Maggie and I joined Mac Magruder, his daughter Grace and son-in-law Kyle for the buffalo dinner last night. It was also Mac’s first taste of the buffalo, as he’s just started raising them hoping to sell to restaurants. We were all very pleased. We had:
The buffalo crudo alongside Mac’s beef crudo: both delicious,
buffalo is milder and sweeter.

The pasta—Malloreddus with whey-braised Magruder
bison short ribs: Also great.

and the true test…

Bone-in Magruder bison rib chop with Chanterelle mushrooms, D’Anjou pear, sunchoke crema, and saba: By all accounts (every diner in the restaurant) the rib chops were sweet, tender, delicious and perfectly grilled.

Conversation was also first rate, though Mac has plenty to worry about.

They were afraid that they could loose the whole herd to pneumonia due to the Paradise fire smoke. Cattle and particularly sheep are susceptible.

And then for major long term angst, we learned about the Potter Valley Water Project. A portion of the Eel River is diverted to headwaters of the Russian River in Potter Valley via a scheme known as the Potter Valley Project. The Sonoma County Water Agency draws drinking water from the Russian River for sale to several hundred thousand residents of Sonoma, Mendocino, and northern Marin counties. Santa Rosa’s Laguna Wastewater Treatment Plant treats sewage from several communities to tertiary standards and returns some of it to the river by way of the Laguna de Santa Rosa. This entire water system is up for sale—a deal that could not only devastate Mac’s Potter Valley, but also impact Mendocino, Sonoma and Northern Marin Counties. It’s a very big problem.

Despite impending calamities, we had a great night.  

A few of these chops left tonight. We’ll then be moving into New York steak cuts of the Buffalo.

Mac Magruder demonstrates proper technique


Online or Call 510.547.5356

2018-11-29T17:28:00+00:00November 29th, 2018|Coming up..., Events, This Just In, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Magruder Ranch Buffalo

Magruder Ranch Buffalo

On the menu this Wednesday 11/28 through the weekend

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We won’t know the specific cut of meat available until each night.

This Wednesday and through the weekend, we’ll have Mac Magruder’s Buffalo on the menu. Mac has a few of these animals, and is experimenting to see whether people like them, and if they will work out for restaurants. Reports are that the meat is a bit sweeter than beef, and healthier. We’ll have several items on the menu to judge it with:

Crudo of buffalo top round with parsnip, black garlic and juniper

Pappardelle with whey braised short rib and and ricotta salata cheese

Wood fire grilled cut of buffalo

Mac and family will join us for dinner on Wednesday, so come by and say hello.


Online or Call 510.547.5356

2018-11-27T17:13:39+00:00November 27th, 2018|Coming up..., Events, This Just In, Uncategorized|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+00:00July 9th, 2012|Whole Animal Butchery|0 Comments




We continue to work through last week’s delivery from Mac Magruder and Sparky Bauer. We’ll have carne cruda on the menu starting tonight and through the weekend. And on Sunday, for one night only, we’ll have brisket. This will be an off-the-menu special so if you are interested you’ll want to say, “the bear is in the woods” to your server.

Just kidding! But not about the off-the-menu part. So if you show up for brisket on Sunday you will need to ask your server.

Here’s a video of Chef Jonah showing us what is currently aging in the Oliveto meat locker and dropping some corn-fed vs. grass-fed beef knowledge:

2017-09-12T15:48:16+00:00September 1st, 2011|This Just In|0 Comments

This Just In: Fettine with Porcini (say that 5x fast)

A month ago, we took delivery of some vitellone (young beef) from Mac Magruder. We only get these animals about 3-4 times a year and they usually go fast. Primarily raised on mother’s milk and grass-fed on Mac’s ‘ice cream’ pasture, we hang the meat in our meat locker for up to six weeks to help develop the characteristic, more concentrated aged-meat flavors. These thinly sliced loin cutlets will be served with Porcini mushrooms and vin santo, and appear on the menu starting tonight through the weekend.

2017-09-12T15:48:40+00:00June 23rd, 2010|This Just In|0 Comments

Oliveto’s Whole Beef Program

Grass-fed cattle, slaughtered at various ages, complete our list of animals we purchase whole directly from the rancher

Since our beginnings twenty years ago, we have given the sourcing of ingredients the same level of importance as preparation and presentation. We began celebrating those ingredients when we presented our first Dinners for Tomatoes seventeen years ago, and our annual Whole Hog Dinners, begun nearly a decade ago, showed unequivocally that farmer-direct whole animals are essential to traditional pork cookery.
We are now pleased to have added beef to our list of whole animals: pork, lamb, chicken, duck, pigeon, and rabbit. (And except for the biggest fish, such as tuna and swordfish, we are one of only a very small number of Bay Area restaurants who receive fish whole and not fileted by the fish wholesaler.) Chef Canales has a thoughtful relationship with every supplier, which enables him and his staff to understand the entire process of food preparation, including butchery and the characteristic qualities of all parts of each animal. “We only use animals from farmers we know, and of course that includes knowing their practices. Not only is it a more sustainable approach to animal husbandry, but breaking down and butchering animals also opens the door to a world of old recipes and preparations that have evolved over centuries. With our new beef program, we have access to younger animals with natural diets of mother’s milk and/or pasture, new cuts and hanging times, and new opportunities to improvise and create dishes that are completely fresh and exhilarating but are also consistent with basic cooking traditions.”
In keeping with Italian countryside practices, where no animal part goes to waste, we became committed to obtaining all our animals whole, and have just reached that goal. We get whole lambs from Don Watson, all of our ducks, rabbits, hens, and pigeons whole from local sustainable farms, whole fish from Tom Worthington at Monterey Fish, whole hogs from Paul Willis, and now whole beef from Mac Magruder’s grass-fed herds in Potter Valley. Working with Magruder and Sam Goldberger, Chef Canales is developing Italian segmentation of animals by age and size–vitellino (seasonal, and the youngest–3 to 6 weeks old and under 300 pounds), vitello, vitellone (500 to 700 pounds), manzo, and bua (about 24 months old and over 1200 pounds). And none of the animals is fed silage, as irrigated pasture is always available.
Chef Canales had been looking for a source for vitellone and manzo for some time. As always, it took a conversation with a rancher/farmer to make it happen. We’ve learned again and again that when we get more deeply into those things we care about, the results are always exciting and reap new rewards on the menu. And we stay vital by taking on new challenges.
To accommodate the new whole-beef program, we’ve undergone significant reconfiguring and modification of our storage facilities, including installing a full-size meat locker (get a tour).

2017-09-12T15:49:17+00:00July 7th, 2007|Whole Animal Butchery|0 Comments