Tag Archives: O Chame

Berkeley’s Iyasare: A game-changer for the East Bay

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One bite of Ocean Umami and I was hooked.

This dish, a highlight on the stellar menu at the new Iyasare on Berkeley’s Fourth street, is indicative of chef Shotaro Kamio’s intricate Japanese-American cuisine. Its appearance alone is stunning—each colorful element comes together into a bold, oceanic painting. Yet nothing feels arbitrary or decorative. This plate is artistic “tweezer food” at its best: a single bite brings forth the scent of the ocean and the rich, lingering flavor of seaweed. Tart umeboshi plum gel and salty bursts of soy-marinated ikura salmon roe provide a drumbeat of brightness to the tender, fresh scallops. Slivers of rich uni are matched with brilliantly green chive and extra-virgin olive oils. Pickled wasabi leaf and nori-infused ponzu ground the dish. Even after finishing off each individual orb of roe, I wanted to lick the plate clean. … Continue reading »

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New restaurants Iyasare, Nido in Chronicle’s Top 100

Iyasare
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The phone at Iyasare Restaurant on Fourth Street in Berkeley started to ring a bit more urgently on Friday. Word had leaked out that the Japanese restaurant had been named to the San Francisco Chronicle’s list of top 100 restaurants – one of 20 new places on the list.

It’s already hard to get Friday or Saturday night reservations at Iyasare, a 50-seat restaurant opened by chef Shotaro Kamio and general manager Niall Cantwell just five months ago. When the Top 100 list is published on Sunday (an online version is available now for subscribers) the demand may be even stronger. … Continue reading »

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Yoshi’s chef to take over O Chamé space in Berkeley

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Shotaro “Sho” Kamio, the head chef at Yoshi’s in both San Francisco and Oakland, is set to open his own restaurant in the O Chamé space at 1830 Fourth Street in Berkeley. O Chamé, owned by David and Hiromi Vardy, closed its doors last Sunday after serving a loyal customer base for 23 years.

Kamio gave his notice at Yoshi’s this week, according to Inside Scoop SF which broke the news. He said working there had been a “wonderful experience,” but that it was time to move on to his own project.

Kamio said the wanted to live up to O Chamé’s “amazing history and spirit’ and that he had been collaborating closely with David Vardy on the takeover the the past few weeks. … Continue reading »

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O Chamé to close after 23 years in Berkeley

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Japanese restaurant O Chamé, which has been on Berkeley’s Fourth Street for 23 years, is closing its doors on Sunday July 28.

Owners David and Hiromi Vardy told their staff about the decision to shutter the popular restaurant last week. Reader Nathan alerted Berkeleyside to the news on Monday. “It’s closing after 23 years. By this time next week, it will be one of the best restaurants the Bay Area ever had,” he wrote.

A new restaurant is slated to open in the O Chamé space at 1830 Fourth Street. Berkeleyside will bring you details when we have them. … Continue reading »

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5 Berkeley restaurants make it into Chronicle’s Top 100

Corso Trattoria: one of just five Berkeley restaurants to make it into the Chronicle's Top 100 list
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The Chronicle’s food writer Michael Bauer chose the same five Berkeley restaurants that made it into last year’s Top 100 for his 2012 selection.

The “Top 100 Restaurants” list, which was published yesterday, embraces Chez PanisseIppukuO ChaméRivoli and Corso Trattoria.

Ippuku, known to be favorite haunt of Chez Panisse owner Alice Waters, was a newcomer last year. Rivoli and Corso share the same owners: Wendy Brucker and Roscoe Skipper.

In all, the list, which is in its 17th year, has 15 new restaurants and has dropped the same number, and Bauer notes that a trend this year has been for chefs to embrace the concept of Californian cuisine. Chez Panisse calls itself Northern California/Mediterranean, even though its roots are decidedly French and its branding, with its old Marcel Pagnol movie clips, retains a Gallic flavor. Bauer reports that other Bay Area restaurants — including Solbar, Bar Agricole, Canteen, Gary Danko and Manresa — have switched their allegiance from American to Californian. … Continue reading »

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Ethnic eats in Berkeley from A to Z: Part 2

Thai food abounds in Berkeley. Here a dish from Pin Toh
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Who knew there were so many ethnic restaurants around town?

Last week Berkeleyside chronicled choices from A through I, 32 picks in total, and today, in our second installment covering J through P, we bring you 33 more spots.

Careful readers noticed some omissions, including Cyprus, Dara, De Afghanan Kabob House, and Ethiopia. No doubt there are places missing in the mix here too, so feel free to add any favorites in the comments.

Not every country or region of the world is well represented in restaurants around town. East Bay Express food critic Jesse Hirsch would like to see more Polish and Balkan choices among the glut of sushi spots and curry shops. Hirsch’s two favorite local ethnic places so far — he’s relatively new to town — are featured this week. … Continue reading »

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Ippuku in Top 100, 5 Berkeley restaurants make cut

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And now Ippuku in Berkeley joins the hallowed ranks of the San Francisco Chronicle’s Top 100 restaurants for the first time (published in yesterday’s paper, not yet available online).

Ippuku, which was given three stars by the Chronicle’s food critic and Top 100 compiler Michael Bauer in his October review,  joins four other Berkeley restaurants in the hall of fame — three of which are Top 100 veterans. They are: Chez Panisse/Café at Chez Panisse, O Chamé, Rivoli, and Corso Trattoria. The last two are both run by Wendy Brucker and Roscoe Skipper.

Ippuku was opened in 2010 by chef Christian Geiderman whose purist tendencies extend to not serving wine. Instead, the restaurant specializes in shochu, a Japanese spirit, and offers beer. … Continue reading »

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Alice Medrich’s sweet life

143_Bittersweet Decadence. deborah.jones
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Alice Medrich, the author, is best known for her high-end sweets cookbooks devoted to serious bakers and dessert makers, including the bestsellers Pure Dessert and Bittersweet: Recipes and Tales from a Life in Chocolate. Alice Medrich, the dessert chef and chocolatier, is best known for her influential and ahead-of-its time shop Cocolat. Medrich ran the store, opened on Shattuck Avenue in 1976, for 14 years.

In both careers Medrich earned a reputation for meticulous recipe testing, a commitment to quality ingredients, and originality in her elaborate baked goods.

So some may be surprised to learn that her eighth cookbook is about, well, the humble cookie. Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Melt-In-Your-Mouth-Cookies (Artisan Books, hardcover, $25.95) in fact. And, as is today’s norm for authors of new books, Medrich, 60, is even blogging about her latest work.

Medrich’s foray into food started in her early 20s with a hand-written recipe for the tiny cocoa-dusted chocolate truffles given to her by her Paris landlady in 1973. Truffles were virtually unheard of in America at the time.

She sold the pure bittersweet confections at the Pig-by-the-Tail Charcuterie (since replaced by The Cheese Board Collective, which has a memento to the shop’s past on display in the store). She also carried a sign and took orders for elaborate cakes and desserts that people could pick up at the end of the week. Sometimes, she says now, she needed all week to perfect the recipe. … Continue reading »

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5 Berkeley restaurants make Top 100

Corso use
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Only five of the Chronicle’s Top 100 restaurants in the Bay Area are in Berkeley, the birthplace of the locavore movement and the home of the doyenne of slow food in the United States, Alice Waters.

Of the five chosen ones — revealed in the paper’s annual league table yesterday, one is relatively new. The other four count as veterans in the fast-moving world of restaurants.

The five are: Chez Panisse — naturally, Corso Trattoria,  Continue reading »

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