Verbena in Oakland?
I have eaten there about four times for lunch, its very close to my office and the service is fast. Everytime has been good, I can't seem to get out of my rut of ordering the lemon chicken with polenta and broccoli rabe. Next time I am really going to order something else.
I hate to play wet blanket here, but I was distinctly unimpressed by my visit to Verbena. It started when they tried to seat us in an isolated corner of the restaurant when the place was half full (and we weren't wearing rags). My wife's spinach salad was pretty good, but my turkey burger was utterly bland. It came out to be about a $40 lunch for two--my main thought was that fab DAT lunches were two BART stops away for about the same price.
My husband and I had dinner there last night. It was completely packed at 7:30 on a Wednesday night - amazing for a restaurant which is very hard to see from the street. I'd say it was 70% large groups (six and up) and thus somewhat noisy and non-romantic, but that may have just been last night.
I thought the food was really good - especially the artichoke appetizer and a skate special. It was not very expensive for the quality, and the service was also very good.
One odd thing: a surprising number of dishes had brussels sprouts - a brussels sprouts salad, brussels sprouts with the main course, etc. I didn't try them - having had a lifetime supply of br. sprouts in an Irish family in the Bronx - but I think that rampant brussels sprouts would be an extremely weird trend.