AlaMar and Sobre Mesa boss Nelson German, a candidate for Season 18 of “Top Chef”, is curating a special dinner with Chef Byron Gomez from April 28th to 29th. Photo: Thomas Kuoh Photography
2 cooks work together on an 8-course menu
Season 18 of Bravo’s “Top Chef” kicked off on April 1st, and we’re excited and relieved that Oakland’s local chef, Nelson German (from alaMar, Sobre Mesa) will advance to episode two – if not even further. We’ll keep cheering him on this Thursday April 8th, but in the meantime, we’re also looking forward to an upcoming dinner he is curating with a friend he made on the set. The German and glasses-wearing chef Byron Gomez from the 7908 Supper Club in Aspen will work together on an 8-course meal at Sobre Mesa on April 28th and 29th. (For those who saw the new season premiere, you’ll remember the two of them doing the first Quickfire Challenge along with Chef Avishar Barua on the same team.) There are two seats every night – 5:00 p.m. ($ 165 per person, Cocktail pairings sold a la carte) and 8:30 p.m. (250 USD per person, including cocktail pairings).
Both chefs will be on hand to share the backstories and cultural influences – Nelson’s Dominican heritage; Gomez was born in Costa Rica – from every dish they bring to the table. Some menu highlights include lobster ceviche, roasted cod with yuca puree and broccolini, Caribbean casserole with foie gras and raw oysters with grilled oyster foam and aji amarillo. Tickets are limited as seats are limited socially distant and indoor with a capacity of 25%; Masks are required. Sobre Mesa, 1618 Franklin St. (on 17th Street), Oakland
Yoshi opens again for sushi and cocktails, but no jazz for the time being
Yoshi’s Oakland will reopen its restaurant on April 8th with its Japanese and Fusion menu and full bar. Photo: Yoshis Oakland
After Yoshi closed on March 15, 2020, the Oakland Jazz Club and Japanese restaurant tried to spin for takeout, but General Manager Hal Campos told Chronicle the restaurant gave up after three weeks and lost thousands of dollars. “People don’t see Yoshi as a take away place. We’re a music venue, ”he said. While Yoshi’s is closed, he launched a GoFundMe campaign that nearly hit his $ 200,000 goal. Now that restaurants can open to 50% indoor capacity and a full reopening is imminent, Yoshi’s is ready to try the food service again even if shows have to wait.
On Thursday April 8th, Yoshi’s will reopen its 220-seat, limited-capacity dining room for sushi and other Japanese dishes, as well as its fully stocked bar. Walk-ins are welcome, but Yoshi’s encourages guests to reserve in advance. The restaurant adds, “In the coming weeks we also plan to add a musical element to your dining experience to bring it back to our Claremont roots.” This refers to Yoshi’s early years on Claremont Avenue, where the sushi restaurant is located for the first time the host was live music. Yoshis Oakland, 510 Embarcadero West, Oakland
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The broccoli melted sandwich is one of the opening menus of the new version of The Lede. Photo: The Lede
The Lede reopens in its own excavations
The last time we heard about The Lede was in August when Chef Carlo Espinas announced the pop-up would be on hiatus. It took only two months for The Lede to transition from a Chef Cal Peternell restaurant in Old Oakland to a bi-weekly pop-up among Espinas at Cafe Encinas in North Oakland. At the time, we figured it would be a short hiatus, not seven months of ghosting, and we feared that time would go on and the pandemic would go on, that this would be a goodbye forever. But this week we’re relieved to report that The Lede is not only reopening, but is taking over the Cafe Encinas space as its own.
The Lede claimed the cozy cafe space on 41st Street last year when Cafe Encinas closed, but Espinas and the crew (full disclosure – Lede’s owner Joaquin Alvarado is a board member of Cityside) took time to to get used to painting and a mural by local artists while trying out menu items. Espinas came up with the idea that The Lede would have a “bar atmosphere” that offers light bites that go well with drinks. In March, he tried snack boxes and take-away sandwiches. At the time, he said to Nosh, “At some point, when we’re fully operational, I’d love to add oysters and small raw treats, ceviches and tostadas, and fun little vegetable salads to go with everything – and hot dogs.”
True to its word, the Lede’s opening menu features two sausages: a vegan Fieldroast pretzel dog ($ 9) and a Butifarra-style pork sausage roll ($ 13). There’s also a broccoli melted sandwich ($ 13), raw oysters ($ 15 for $ 6), snack boxes ($ 25) filled with pickled and cooked vegetables, french fries and dip, and other tasty bites. To drink there are local beer, natural wines and a few cocktails that are “offshoots of classic combinations” and use fresh, seasonal ingredients.
The Lede will reopen on Fridays and Saturdays from April 9th to 10th from 4pm to 8pm with a happy hour with seating on the outdoor terrace. The staff will use the next few weeks to “stress test the kitchen” before extending the opening hours and possibly inviting people. Espinas told Nosh that they will play it by ear to watch how things play out with the reopening and the easing of COVID restrictions. If things continue to go well, he wants to extend the opening times from Wednesday to Saturday to 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the coming days. The Lede, 308 41st St. (near Broadway), Oakland
Ben ‘N Nicks is in new ownership
24-year-old Rockridge Waterhole Ben ‘N Nicks has changed hands, but the new owners told Nosh they wanted to “keep Ben’ N Nicks”. Photo: Damon Styer / Flickr
Back in December 2019, Nosh reported that the Rockridge Ben ‘N Nicks waterhole was almost closed, but then 75-year-old owner Mark Graham had changed his mind after receiving a lot of support from the community. At the time, 1,100 group restaurateurs Ben Seabury and Jon Guhl, who also own The Star and Little Star Pizza, turned to Graham. They were interested in carrying the torch. Seabury now lives in Danville, but he used to live in Oakland and has always viewed Ben ‘N Nicks, which opened in 1997, as a focal point. “We were regulars there. We got off work and went to Ben ‘N Nicks for a drink. It has a special place in our hearts, ”he said to Nosh.
The partners signed a 20-year lease for the bar last spring, but “with COVID we took our time” – they closed the doors for almost a year. Although Seabury said they intend to keep the bar very close to what it always was, they made some changes. While temporarily closed, they improved the kitchen, redesigned the bar, and put the place on the code. They also decided to update the menu, although Seabury assured us that the new menu won’t be too far removed from what regulars already know and love, but with “everything made in house, even the onion rings.” (And in case you’re wondering, no, there will be no pizza.) The beer program will be the same, but drinkers will notice a significant increase in the supply of bakery bars, particularly bourbon. Ben ‘N Nicks can serve guests with a capacity of 50% indoors, but also offers space for up to 16 people on the parklet in front of the door.
While Ben ‘N Nicks opened gently on April 3rd, it has kept its resurgence at rock bottom as it picks up again for its grand opening this Friday. On April 9th at 4 p.m., Ben ‘N Nicks invites the public to drinks and dinner. In the future, the bar will be open daily at 11:00 a.m. (opening hours are still TBD but can be 10:00 p.m. or midnight on weekdays, and midnight or 2:00 a.m. on weekends). Ben ‘N Nick’s, 5612 College Ave. (on Ocean View Drive), Oakland
Berkeley’s Nest of Comforts will be closed
Berkeley’s Nest of Comforts is open for limited outdoor seating until April 18, when it closes permanently. Photo: Nest of Comfort / Facebook
Last week, Nest of Comforts founder Lynette Purves used social media to announce that her one-year-old tea shop in West Berkeley will close on April 18th. Purves opened Nest of Comforts in January 2020 in hopes that the Camelia Street spot would be a place for locals to party over a cup of tea and gather for music, arts and entertainment, but with the pandemic, their plans had to change rotate. She tried homemade tea sets and vacation-themed take-out boxes, and the Nest of Comforts was open for limited outdoor seating, but Purves said the deal was unsustainable. She urges customers with gift cards to use them before the 18th and advises that tea delivery may continue in a certain format in the future. Nest of Comfort, 1019 Camelia St. (on Tenth Street), Berkeley
A “dosa sensation” at the San Ramon farmers’ market
Surya Darshini’s dosa are so popular that the food truck at the farmers market on Saturday in San Ramon no longer takes orders on site. Customers must pre-order for collection in advance. Photo: Harvinder Singh
Dosa aficionados from all over the Bay Area flock to the San Ramon Farmer’s Market to shop for crispy, hearty South Indian crepes from Surya Darshini, a dosa food truck that hits the market on Saturdays. Until March, people waited up to two hours to get a taste, but “because of the long lines and COVID, [Surya Darshini] only switched to pre-orders, ”said the farmer’s market representative, Harvinder Singh, who described the growing demand for the food truck as a“ Dosa Sensation ”.
So why do people go gaga for those special dosas? According to some who visit the truck regularly, Surya Darshini makes one of the best local versions of the dosa or Bangalore style dose – perfectly crispy on the outside and soft, buttery and pillowy on the inside, with just the right amount of flavor filling for those who are Choose theirs with masala or cheese (there is a simple butter version too). One yelper wonders, “I’m not sure which is more difficult [an] Appointment for a COVID vaccination or a dose here. ”
Surya Darshini will take pre-orders on its website at 7:00 p.m., Thursday until 3:00 p.m., Friday (or until it sold out) for Saturday pickup at the San Ramon Farmer’s Market. San Ramon Farmers Market, 6000 Bollinger Canyon Rd, San Ramon
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