Tucci's has a new middle name, although the old one ("wood-fired") still can be seen above the door. On a recent visit, the Dublin restaurant was packed with a lot of folks who appeared to be enjoying themselves, so think about getting a reservation, particularly if you want to go Friday or Saturday.
I was impressed with the service. The waitperson arrived promptly, paid good attention to us and the food came out nicely paced, even when they were busy.
If only the food, which had its high points, could have matched the consistency of the service.
Appetizers were mostly noteworthy. Butternut squash ravioli-flavored more like Thanksgiving than Italy-came in an ocean of creamy sauce, but was still tasty. Brie and phyllo had cooled enough that the cheese was not so melty, but it sure went well with a sip of red wine. We tried the Outrigger Canoe Combo, a large wooden boat containing delicious grilled beef tenderloin tips and good but somewhat lukewarm portions of sweet potato fries, calamari "fries" and shrimp and shiitake pot stickers.
The star of the appetizer menu, served impressively on a long platter, was the ahi tuna stack-lovely cubes of tuna garnished with avocado, crisp wonton skins, cucumbers and delicious squirts of soy wasabi syrup and sriracha aïoli.
Salads were excellent. The bibb offered big fresh leaves, good toppings and a nice creamy dressing. I also liked the arugula with its goat cheese topping.
The clam chowder, however, was neither of New England nor New York and sort of nondescript. At least it was hot.
Disappointingly, pastas were way overcooked. The spaghetti Bolognese, in particular, had jelled to a lump that had to be cut with a fork rather than twirled. Tsk.
Other entrees were better. The sausage and pepperoni pizza was tender with lots of flavor. The Hawaiian sunfish was tasty and thick, with elaborate trimmings that included salad.
The ahi tuna entree also was notable, although it arrived cool. The veal meatloaf was well-flavored, with a fine gravy (caramelized gorgonzola and shiitake-capicola), but gluey mashed potatoes.
Tucci's offered a number of red wines by the glass (small or large pour) that were lots better (and pricier) than average. Selections change, but I liked everything I tried. If you want just a taste of expensive wine, Tucci's is the place.Tucci's California Bistro
35 N. High St., Dublin.
Price range: Appetizers $6-$18; soups and salads $6-$8; pizza $11-$14; pasta $10-$20; fish $21-$28; entrees $17-$37.
Hours: Lunch, Monday through Friday 11 am to 2:30 pm; dinner, Monday through Thursday 5 to 10 pm and Friday and Saturday till 11 pm; closed Sunday (until the end of April).