Page 60

The Oakland Berkley Book March 2013

Summer Kitchen Bake Shop 2944 College Ave., 981-0538, summerkitchenbakeshop.com. Husband and wife Paul Arenstam and Charlene Reis created Summer Kitchen Bake Shop from memories of summers on Martha’s Vineyard, and that nostalgia permeates their eatery. Light and airy, the place has homey touches such as specials written on butcher paper while the menu is filled with comfort food favorites: fried chicken, spaghetti and meatballs, and soups. The food is uncomplicated, allowing quality local ingredients to shine. The mushroom and leek pizza satisfied with its fresh toppings, while the braised pork shoulder with apples and cabbage could have used a little more seasoning. The half chicken from the brick oven is a delight topped with pan gravy, fresh veggies, and smoothas silk mashed potatoes that were pure creamy, buttery goodness. The fried chicken sandwich rivals Bakesale Betty’s more famous version. Check out a side of garlicky roasted broccoli. Lunch and dinner daily. $$ Zut 1820 Fourth St., 644-0444, zutonfourth.com. Taking over Eccolo’s former space on Fourth Street, Zut has an open dining room with smoky mirrors above the tables, giving the space a French bistro feel. But chef Jim Wimborough’s menu is more broadly Mediterranean. Braised white beans with robust bitter greens and soft creamy goat cheese is a warming start to any meal, ours being the sausage and farm egg pizza. Rich yolks of two over-easy eggs infused the whole pie, blending perfectly with the mild tomato sauce, spicy sausage, and arugula. We continued with the lamb chops—tender loin on the bone with bell peppers, walnuts, onions, and spinach served over wild rice. Thick, rich hazelnut pot de crème with toffee crunchies and tawny port were a perfect finish. Lunch Mon.–Fri., dinner daily, brunch Sat.–Sun. 2345$$$ OAKLAND À Côté 5478 College Ave., 655-6469, acoterestaurant.com. À Côté is a hot spot, but it hardly feels like a pressure cooker. Tables are liberally spaced, servers rarely go bump in the night, and the small dining room is quiet enough to hear whispers over your wood oven–roasted mussels in Pernod. The Rockridge eatery has won a large, trendy following that queues up for the food (moderately priced French-Mediterranean delicacies served small-plates style) and the cool atmosphere. The restaurant’s bar stays open late (10 p.m. to midnight, depending on the day), as does the kitchen (until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays), making this a stellar destination for a très chic night out. Dinner daily. 2345$$ Adesso 4395 Piedmont Ave., 601-0305, dopoadesso.com. Adesso is the brainchild of Jon Smulewitz, the chef/owner of the popular Dopo a few blocks down, but this sleek small-plates lounge has its own cult following. Half of Adesso’s food menu is devoted to the meats produced in-house at Dopo, including five pâtés and more than a dozen kinds of salumi. But just as fun for us was the antipasti small plates, featuring such gems as arancini (fried risotto balls) filled with pork ragu and mini farm egg en carozza sandwiches. The Adesso misti plate is a good way to sample the full range of this beautifully executed Italian menu, which recently added thin-crust pizzas to its arsenal. The bar mixes up inventive cocktails, and also offers a finely curated selection of Italian wines and craft beer. Dinner Mon.–Sat. 25$$ BayWolf 3853 Piedmont Ave., 655-6004, baywolf.com. This gorgeously restored Victorian has been a fixture of the East Bay dining scene for more than a quarter century. The spacious covered patio is a particularly pleasant place to dine, a little roomier than the pair of indoor dining rooms. Experience favors appetizers over entrées, especially the occasional rich, ethereal duck-liver flan. Caesar salad is good, too, as is a carefully put-together selection of antipasti. The menu changes frequently. Desserts are homey and satisfying rather than architectural. Good service and very nice ambience. Dinner daily. 134$$$ Bellanico 4238 Park Blvd., 336-1180, bellanico.net. The husband-and-wife team behind this Italian gem in Oakland’s Glenview combined the nicknames of their two children for the restaurant’s moniker. Just as much love goes into earthy Mediterranean appetizers, house-made pasta, simple entrées, and restrained desserts. Our meal started with perfect wine service, grilled local sardines, lightly breaded fried green olives, and scrumptious meatballs served with salsa verde. Pasta, from short rib and smoked bacon agnolotti, to garganelli with milk-braised wild boar ragu, is of the highest quality to begin with, and then gets expert cooking and seasoning from the kitchen. Servers are attentive once you’re seated, and desserts such as bomboloni (Italian doughnuts) aren’t overpowered by sugar. Lunch Mon.–Fri., dinner daily, brunch Sat.–Sun. 1$$$ Bocanova 55 Webster St., 444-1233, bocanova.com. Bocanova is excitement on wheels, from the big-windowed space right on the Jack London Square waterfront, to the colorful ethnic touches in the warm decor, to the lineup of penguin photos on the wall, to the inventive cocktails and well-picked wines. The mostly small-plates menu offers lots of excitement, too—the dishes that worked for us were bold and interesting— and goes above and beyond to showcase the “pan Latin” flavors of Central and South America. A quinoa, shrimp, and beet salad was earthy-crunchy-meets-calypso, the wholesome grain enlivened by the sweetness of the shrimp and beets, and the fruity zing of an orange vinaigrette. A shrimp ceviche, on dining listings » 58 theberkeleyoaklandbook.com


The Oakland Berkley Book March 2013
To see the actual publication please follow the link above