The “California 2.0” at Oak & Rye.
It’s taken me nearly a year to finally make it to Oak & Rye, the much lauded pizza joint in downtown Los Gatos. But it was well worth the wait.
You see, the restaurant does not take reservations unless you come with an army of 10 people. That means you have to play the waiting game. And given how popular the place is, the wait can be extensive.
But finally, I cleared my schedule, and arrived with my husband around 5:30 p.m. on a recent Saturday. Good thing we got there when we did, too, because while we were seated immediately, a mere half hour later the place was packed.
It’s easy to see why. It’s a loud, lively place with creative cocktails and a menu sure to please most any palate. It’s got an idiosyncratic vibe, what with its framed vintage album covers from the Blues Brothers and Culture Club on the wall, not to mention a gleaming bronze boar head mounted as if it’s keeping an eye on the kitchen.
The mascot, perhaps?
Old album covers grace the walls.
Our table was right next to the open kitchen, whose centerpiece is the copper mosaic wood-fired oven.
Osso bucco — a Wednesday night special at Centonove.
Centonove, the newest restaurant to open in Los Gatos, welcomes you with Italian gusto.
Step inside its compact, convivial black and white dining room with splashes of marinara red, and you may hear Executive Chef Carlo Ochetti heartily conversing with customers in his native Italian.
Indeed, Centonove (Italian for “109,” its numerical address on W. Main Street) is like a neighborhood trattoria transported from Italy to the South Bay. Shelves lining a brick wall are stacked with wine bottles, packages of pasta (even gluten-free ones), and big cans of tomatoes to give the feel of an Italian groceria. Small tables fill the main room, which also sports two bar areas — one to enjoy a quick coffee, the other known as the chef’s counter because it fronts the kitchen, including the red-tiled, wood-fired pizza oven.
Executive Carlo Ochetti.
Manning the pizza oven.
That’s where Ochetti, formerly of San Jose’s Il Fornaio, holds court. He chats easily and often with diners at the black marble chef’s counter, asking how everything is or explaining how a dish was put together.