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Good caterer in the East Bay? (Oakland)

o
oaktown Oct 1, 2006 01:22 AM

I am looking for a good caterer in Oakland area. This is to handle small passed plates for a party of ~40 people. Any recommendations are greatly appreciated.

  1. c
    chompy Oct 10, 2006 11:26 PM

    For our wedding (six years ago!) we went with Shai's in Kensington -

    http://www.shais.com/

    The food was absolutely delicious. Not fussy or precious at all, but lots of flavor. It was kind of a California menu with a Middle Eastern slant - I remember a platter of Baba Ganoosh that was decorated with vegetables and spices to look like a painting...and a perfectly poached salmon. We did have appetizers passed around before dinner, but I can't remember what they were...I was a little distracted.

    1. m
      Maya S Oct 1, 2006 05:00 PM

      I really enjoyed the catered food at a wedding last weekend, so I picked up a card...

      Cynthia Washburn
      510-590-8729
      www.cynthiawashburn.com

      Details are fuzzy but I seem to recall little sips of carrot-ginger puree and flaky pastries filled with duck confit, both very good.

      1. b
        blexo Oct 1, 2006 01:07 PM

        I second Blue Heron

        3 Replies
        1. re: blexo
          o
          oaktown Oct 10, 2006 10:21 PM

          Can you give me a little more detail about your experience with Blue Heron? How big was the party? What was the presentation like? Thank you

          1. re: oaktown
            Ruth Lafler Oct 10, 2006 10:39 PM

            Let's see, it was about three years ago, but IIRC the party was about the size you mentioned, maybe a little smaller 25-30? They passed appetizers and drinks on trays, but they also had food set up on a table in the dining room. I don't remember the specifics of the presentation, but the impression was sort of like a pyramid-shaped cornucopia. Plus the presentation of the individual items was lovely -- I remember bite-sized lemon tarts with candied violets that were both pretty and delicious. What was really amazing was they even though they were staging out of the kitchen, it was still tidy enough for guests to wander into and hang out.

            I've never hired a caterer, but the woman who threw the party is incredibly meticulous about things being done right (how we had dinner for four at the Dining Room at the Ritz Carlton as a make good for some things that were less-than-perfect at a wedding luncheon she held at the Ritz is a whole other story), so their references and her previous experience(s) with them must have been impeccable.

          2. re: blexo
            n
            nja Oct 10, 2006 11:16 PM

            I haven't been to an actual event done by Blue Heron, but I did check them out for my wedding. I was really unimpressed with the food they prepared. In particular I remember a slightly past-its-prime piece of halibut with a starchy cream sauce that was pretty awful. But like I said I've never been to an actual event.

            I was far more impressed with Grace Street Catering in Alameda. Again, this is based only on the tasting and not an event, but the food was outstanding and the staff generally struck as much more "chowhoundish" than at Blue Heron. They were very close runners up for the wedding, though we ended up going with Living Room Events in SF instead.

            -Nick

          3. Ruth Lafler Oct 1, 2006 04:46 AM

            For an actual caterer, I was at a party of the type you described that was catered by Blue Heron Catering ( http://www.blueheroncatering.com/ ) and the food was really good and served very professionally.

            1. y
              YSZ Oct 1, 2006 03:59 AM

              Check out Aubergine - Joan the owner is really nice, likes to cook local and sustainable, and is really creative.

              http://www.auberginecatering.com/

              The front page talks more about their delivery service, but they do a fair amount of event catering too.

              1. g
                Grocers Daughter Oct 1, 2006 03:11 AM

                Cesar has a catering menu that can be ordered for pick-up.

                http://www.barcesar.com/catering.html

                The above link is for their Shattuck location but their Piedmont location probably does it as well. I doubt they do the staff, silverware, tablecloth things though, but you could always ask.

                1. Morton the Mousse Oct 1, 2006 03:08 AM

                  Are you looking for lunch or dinner? Gregoire does excellent lunch catering - sandwiches, salad, soup, etc.

                  gregoirerestaurant.clm

                  1. r
                    recycleit Oct 1, 2006 03:02 AM

                    MarketHall in Rockridge has a catering division. They can also arrange serving staff and silverware, tablecloths, etc., if that is desirable.

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