Up until last Saturday, I thought of bruschetta as a relatively plain dish – tomatoes and basil on top of bite-sized pieces of toast.
San Mateo’s B Street and Vine proved me wrong and helped me gain a better appreciation for the classic Italian appetizer.
The quaint wine cafe has more than 15 combinations of bruschetta to choose from, including Gorgonzola cheese & honey and ricotta with dates & pistachios. Bruschetta lovers should be pleased by what B Street & Vine has to offer.
Dish of Choice
My friends and I ordered the bruschetta to split. Diners can choose four combinations, so we ordered the following: salami with feta and pesto; olive tapenade, cucumbers, tomato and feta; red pepper remoulade with tomato, feta and basil (I obviously enjoy the strong, salty taste of feta); and mango, tomato, cilantro and avocado. A plate of bruschetta ranges from $12 to $16, depending on if you want some the restaurant’s more premium ingredients or gluten-free bread when available.
For dinner, I ordered the Autostrada Panini, made with four Italian meats: soppresata, prosciutto, salami and mortadella. It was dressed with tomatoes, provolone and pesto and served on grilled ciabatta roll.
Guests can also choose sliced sour bread, or gluten-free bread, when available, for $2 extra, according to the cafe’s website. The panini came with a side salad or kettle chips. Trying to be somewhat healthy, I went with the side salad. My entree cost $8.50. Our table also split a bottle of Riesling Kabinett from Germany for $25.
The bruschetta was the standout item of the night. The bread was cut into shareable pieces, was perfectly toasted on the edges and soft and hearty on the inside.
My favorite combination was the salami, feta and pesto. I love Italian meats like salami because they typically have a more distinct bite and peppery taste than regular cold cuts. The pungent taste of feta paired well with the pesto, which was smooth and rich in flavor.
I also enjoyed the mango, tomato, cilantro and avocado. I’ve always liked the creamy texture of avocado, and the mango was sweet and juicy without making the bread soggy.
As for the panini, I thought having four different Italian meats on one sandwich would bog it down, make it messy and be over-the-top in saltiness. But the meats were cut in manageable, thin slices and placed neatly on the sandwich, and there was just enough ingredients without feeling stuffed or dehydrated. Just like the bruschetta, the bread was soft on the inside with just the perfect amount of grilling on the outside.
The Riesling was light and sweet, and the honey and apricot flavors were prominent. It wasn’t quite sugary enough to be a dessert wine, but it was close. If you like your wines more on the sweeter side, this wine is worth a try.
For those who enjoy wine but are also looking for a bargain, B Street & Vine has some good specials throughout the week. Any glass of wine is half-off from noon to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, according to its website. Diners can also get wine by the glass for half-off on Monday nights with a purchase of any entree.
B Street & Vine also has patio dining and live music from 7 to 10 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and 6 to 9 p.m. Sunday. I will admit that the seating we got was a bit tight, but that might be to create more of an intimate atmosphere. Plus, it was a Saturday, which is a popular dining night. The live music was also at the right volume, so I didn’t have to shout in order to talk to my friends. Overall, it was an enjoyable night.