Tag Archives: Comal

East Bay Restaurant Week specials begin Thursday

Calavera is a Mexican restaurant serving up dishes inspired by the Oaxacan region. Photo: Benjamin Seto
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It’s that time again — time to revel in the prix fixe glory that is Restaurant Week.

In the East Bay, we get more than two weeks of specials between Oakland and Berkeley. Oakland’s Restaurant Week begins tomorrow, Jan. 14 and runs through Jan. 24. Berkeley’s event overlaps a bit, beginning on Jan. 21 and running through Jan. 31.

Participating restaurants offer prix fixe menu specials at lunch and/or dinner. Oakland menus will go for $20, $30, $40 or $50. Berkeley lunch menus will be priced at $20; dinners will be offered at $25 or $35. Menu lengths vary from restaurant to restaurant. … Continue reading »

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Bites: Hopsy, Itani Ramen, Super Juiced, holidays

Hopsy's storefront in Albany. Photo: Hopsy
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Openings, closings

HOPSY UP AND RUNNING IN ALBANY The first-ever beer growler delivery service and growler store launched yesterday in Albany. At its core, Hopsy provides a platform for customers to order draft beer from local breweries directly to their homes. The 10-strong opening brewery list includes Oakland’s Ale Industries, Alameda’s Alameda Island Brewing Co., San Leandro’s Cleophus Quealy, and San Francisco’s Magnolia Brewing. As of this week, the delivery service is only being offered to a limited group of customers who have signed on to the company’s waitlist. Hopsy will add more customers to its delivery list in two weeks. Those who don’t want to wait can purchase “growlettes” to-go from a limited selection of breweries at Hopsy’s store (1173 Solano Ave.). The store will be open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and all growlettes will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis. It is closed on Wednesdays. Hopsy is at 1137 Solano Ave. (between Kains and Stannage avenues), Albany. Connect with the company on Facebook and Twitter.Continue reading »

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Bites: Dominique Crenn, Chez Panisse, Recchiuti…

side view of the Claremont Resort & Spa
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Openings, closings…

DOMINIQUE CRENN OPENING BRASSERIE AT CLAREMONT CLUB & SPA The San Francisco chef, who owns the two Michelin star Atelier Crenn and newly opened Petit Crenn, is in talks with Fairmont Hotels about opening a restaurant in the newly re-branded Claremont Club & Spa, formerly the Claremont Hotel. In a press statement released earlier this week, Fairmont Hotels said the restaurant will open in 2016 and will replace the Paragon. “Chef Dominique Crenn’s elegant neighborhood brasserie will serve a locally sourced seasonal menu, joining the hotel’s three other exceptional restaurants and lounges,” the company wrote. Inside Scoop got ahold of Crenn, who said that she has signed a preliminary contract, but has not finalized the agreement. Regardless, Crenn will not be in the kitchen of the new restaurant. She told Inside Scoop that she will be involved with the restaurant in “more of a curatorial or designer capacity.” Eater SF also spoke with Crenn, who told the website that the new restaurant will be called Antoinette, an “elegant, but casual” restaurant in the style of a French brasserie, serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The menu will be based mostly around seafood and vegetable dishes, but will include meat. Many of the dishes will be large and designed to share, like a whole roasted fish or côte de boeuf. Petit Crenn wine director Courtney Humiston will consult on the largely French and California wine-focused drink menu. Crenn told Eater that she was attracted to Berkeley’s historic dining scene. “I love Berkeley,” she said. “This is where it all started, with Alice Waters and Chez Panisse. I want to be part of something special.” No more details for now, but we’ll keep you posted. Claremont Club & Spa is at 41 Tunnel Rd. (at Claremont Avenue), Berkeley. Connect with the hotel on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.Continue reading »

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Bites: Perdition closes, changes at Oliveto

Barbecue spread at Perdition Smokehouse. Photo: Perdition Smokehouse
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Openings, closings

PERDITION SMOKEHOUSE CLOSES SUDDENLY We were surprised to hear that Berkeley’s Perdition Smokehouse shuttered suddenly this week. While the barbecue itself wasn’t particularly memorable, Perdition did have one of the best tap lists around and an excellent outdoor patio on which to drink them. The East Bay Express had the scoop, but didn’t have many details on the reason for the closure. EBX speculated that the closure was likely tied to former chef Mike O’Brien’s decision to leave the company, which also includes The Trappist, The Trappist Provisions, and Mikkeler Bar in San Francisco, earlier this month. (O’Brien was the chef at both Perdition and Mikkeler.) A source close to the company also speculates that this split was the source of financial strain for the company, enough that it caused the restaurant to close. We have reached out to owner Chuck Stilphen, as well as O’Brien, but have yet to receive any comments on the closure. For now, though, we’ll just have to mourn the loss of that tap list. Continue reading »

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Cali cuisine meets Mediterranean at The Advocate

Blistered squid with padron peppers, yogurt, fried okra, muhammara, and cilantro ($13) at The Advocate. Photo: Benjamin Seto
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By Benjamin Seto/Focus:Snap:Eat

The story: The people behind the successful high-end Mexican restaurant Comal in downtown Berkeley branched out to the tiny Elmwood neighborhood with a splashy new restaurant called The Advocate. (How this name is supposed to make you think of food is beyond me.) Housed in the former Wright’s Garage building, the spacious dining room with wood-fire oven opened earlier this month. … Continue reading »

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8 top East Bay patios for enjoying an Indian Summer

Enjoying chips and salsa on Comal's pack patio. Photo: TKTK
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September, the East Bay’s other summer, is almost upon is. While al fresco dining is a year-round option in our pocket of Northern California, these warm days and golden evenings are the perfect time to take advantage of some of the area’s outdoor dining and drinking spots. And, since El Niño is supposed to give us a long, wet winter (we hope!) it may be a while before patios seem appealing again. Below are eight of our favorite places, but we’re sure we missed a few — leave us a comment if you have a much-loved patio or garden that didn’t make our list. … Continue reading »

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Bites: Bucci’s and The Growlers’ Arms both closing

Calamari from Bucci's in Emeryville, which will serve its last dinner on Sept. 30. Photo: Bucci's/Facebook
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Openings, closings…

BUCCI’S TO CLOSE SEPT. 30 East Coast-syle Italian joint Bucci’s will have its last day of operation Sept. 30. The popular Emeryville restaurant has been in operation for nearly 30 years, serving up classics like spaghetti and meatballs, gnocchi, fried calamari and pizzas to a rapidly changing dining market. Co-owner Amelia Bucci told the Bay Area News Group that she and and the other owners have decided to retire. “[Co-owner] Paul [Camardo] and I are 70-plus, and we’ve been doing this a long time,” she said. “This is a good time to say goodbye.” The E’Ville Eye speculates that the closure also may be linked to the recent increase in Emeryville’s minimum wage. According to the Eye, Bucci’s had raised its prices and added a $2.50 per person service charge to accommodate increased wages. No word yet on what will be headed to the Bucci’s space next; however, its location near the new Branch Line bar, Prizefighter and Rotten City Pizza may likely prove to be a hot ticket for prospective bar and restaurant owners. Bucci’s is at 6121 Hollis St. (at Doyle Street), Emeryville.Continue reading »

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Dinner at Berkeley’s hot new spot The Advocate

The Advocate. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
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If there’s one thing that the two guys behind downtown spot Comal know how to do, it’s create a buzzy restaurant. John Paluska and Andrew Hoffman held the second of two “friends and family” nights at their new, second Berkeley restaurant, The Advocate, in the city’s Elmwood neighborhood, on Thursday night. And already, you just know it’s going to be fun trying to get a table at this place once it opens to the public on Friday, Aug. 7.

Read more about The Advocate and Comal on Berkeleyside.

The 3,400-square foot space at 2635 Ashby Ave. — once part of the old Wright’s Garage — has been transformed into an airy, modern restaurant whose decor has echoes of Comal, but retains its own personality. It seats 100 comfortably with room for about 14 at the bar, where bar manager Matthew Campbell has concocted an intriguing menu of hand-crafted cocktails. Like Campbell, Corin Weihemuller, the new restaurant’s wine director, has come over from Comal to see the new restaurant bedded in. … Continue reading »

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Elmwood restaurant The Advocate to open in July

John Griffiths, executive chef at The Advocate. Photo: Postcard PR
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John Paluska and Andrew Hoffman’s second Berkeley restaurant after Comal will be called The Advocate and is slated to open next month in its Elmwood location, at 2635 Ashby Ave.

The name was chosen because it was also the name of Elmwood’s original newspaper, said Paluska. It also seemed fitting for a restaurant in a city known for its activism. “It’s a tip of the hat to Berkeley,” he said. Hoffman added: “Like Comal, The Advocate is a Berkeley restaurant, very much of its place and its neighborhood.”

The name could also be seen as a tongue-in-cheek reference to the legal battle the owners had to fight to open the new eating spot.

The Advocate will offer a menu of dishes inspired by southern Mediterranean and Moroccan/North African cooking, “all viewed through a Northern Californian lens,” according to the owners. (At Comal, chef Matt Gandin serves refined Oaxaca-inspired Mexican-Californian cuisine.)

Paluska and Hoffman have recruited John Griffiths to be the new restaurant’s executive chef. Griffiths was most recently at The Kitchen in Sacramento, a well-known spot where food is treated as theater and chefs are expected to emcee as well as to cook. Griffiths left The Kitchen in October after 16 months in the job to join The Advocate. The Michigan native was the opening chef at Larry Forgione’s An American Place in St. Louis, and was later executive chef at Truffles in the same city. He has been working with The Advocate team in December 2014. … Continue reading »

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Bites: OVO, Sequoia Diner, Mad Oak and more

OVO Tavern and Eatery. Photo: Kate Williams
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Openings, closings…

OVO COMES TO NORTH OAKLAND OVO, a.k.a. “Oakland’s Very Own Tavern and Eatery,” has softly opened on Martin Luther King Jr. Way in North Oakland. The new bar and restaurant is an official viewing spot for the Golden State Warriors playoff games while it continues to tweak its menu and operating hours. For now, OVO is open only from 4-9 p.m.; owner DeWayne DeGuzman aims to hold a grand opening party at the end of the month. The menu features simple bar food like tater tots, chicken wings and burgers. DeGuzman said OVO will eventually be open in the morning, with breakfast pastries from Gregory’s Gourmet Desserts and Mr. Espresso coffee. The bar has a modest selection of beers, with space for six rotating local microbrews, and a potent-sounding OVO punch (think rum and lots of fruit). OVO takes the place of Bottom of the Ninth Bar & Grill, which opened in 2013 after Looney’s BBQ closed. DeGuzman hopes the restaurant will be a lively community gathering space, and he plans on keeping the concept and menu adaptable to the changing neighborhood. “We’re going to keep it fresh, just like Oakland,” he said. Ovo is at 5319 Martin Luther King Jr. Way (between 53rd and 54th streets), Oakland. Continue reading »

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12 East Bay restaurants make Bauer’s Top 100

The Dock at Linden Street. Photo: The Dock at Linden Street
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Michael Bauer’s list of the top 100 Bay Area restaurants causes a stir each spring. The San Francisco Chronicle food critic has been producing the compilation of his favorite spots for the past 20 years. His choices are typically San Francisco-heavy, but they do include a growing number — 12 this year — of East Bay restaurants.

In a nod to the increasing relevance and excitement of the East Bay food scene, none of the spots cut from the list this year came from our the right side of the Bay.

The two new additions to the East Bay list are both restaurants from James Syhabout. Bauer praised The Dock at Linden Street for its “uncanny skill for matching food to beer” and “unexpected” food combinations. He especially likes Syhabout’s crisp fried cranberry beans, curried lamb riblets with lime pickled chutney, and Caesar popcorn (“the best thing since caramel corn”).  … Continue reading »

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Bites: Starline Social Club, Hella Vegan, Pho Ao Sen

Starline Social Club. Photo: Starline Social Club
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Openings, closings…

STARLINE SOCIAL CLUB REOPENS Oakland’s historic Starline Social Club is once again in operation. The building, on the corner of MLK Jr. Way and West Grand, originally opened as an Odd Fellows Club in 1893; over the past century it has housed a saloon, a dance club, and a social club for the deaf. Until recently, it stood empty. Over the last year, Ramen Shop‘s Sam White and local artists Adam Hatch, Eric Siemens and Drew Bennet, have renovated the space. They finally opened the doors on Wednesday, reports Inside Scoop. This newest iteration of Starline will showcase top-notch food from former Boot & Shoe Service cook Austin Holey, a “creative cocktail” program, and events such as monthly dance parties and live performances. The performance space has been enhanced with a state-of-the-art Meyer Sound system. (The Berkeley acoustics company has most recently re-designed the sound for restaurants Comal and Oliveto.) The club will only be open five days a week, but it will serve food as late as midnight. Starline Social Club is at 2236 Martin Luther King, Jr. Way (at West Grand Avenue), Oakland. Connect with the club on Facebook and Instagram.Continue reading »

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Bites: Continental Club, Wolfhound Bar, more

West Oakland's Continental Club has a new owner, and may be re-opening its doors soon. Photo: Google maps
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Openings, closings

CONTINENTAL CLUB COULD BE GETTING A FRESH START The Continental Club, an iconic West Oakland music venue and comedy club, was once host to countless jazz and blues stars in the 1960s. It was originally opened as a gumbo restaurant in 1947 by owners Curtis and Ross Christy; by the 1950s, the brothers had added a live music component to the restaurant, calling it Ramboogie. In 1961, the duo renovated and expanded the club. From then on, the space was known as the Continental Club. Situated on 12th Street in the Prescott neighborhood of West Oakland, the club fell onto hard times in the 1970s and never seemed to recover. Comedian Pharaoh bought the club in 2010, but shuttered it a few years later. Now, it seems that the club has changed hands once again. New owner Magnolia Entertainment has applied for a liquor license for an eating establishment, which is now pending. We’ll keep you posted as we learn more. The Continental Club is at 1658 12th St. (at Campbell Street), Oakland.Continue reading »

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