Silk Road - Jack London Sq in Oakland
Living/working in Oakland presents some challenges if one is looking for a food beyond the basic fare, yet not wanting to visit high end places (such as JoJos on Piedmont or Acote or Oliveto). So when the wife and I found Silk Road, we decided to give it a try. [For the record, we do love the food and presentation of it at Tamarindo, which is 8 long city blocks away, but think the price of Tamarindo is a little too high].
We visited on a Wednesday night. The interior is very nice (as compared to other places around the Jack London area), with a nice lounge and good music. The creativity for design doesnt really extend to the main restaurant area. The tables and chairs were very basic. The restaurant was not crowded at all, so getting seat was no problem. The server was nice, but probably in her first job in high school. Now on to the important stuff, the chow:
We decided to skip the crab stuffed roll (a big mistake) and ordered the Indonesian satay salad. It didnt come with chicken; instead it came with a grill sausage/kebob type mixed meat, accompanied with a mixture of salad items (lettuce, mangos, and fried rice noodles) that were drenched in a mayo heavy sauce. The wife said it was OK, but I didnt eat a second bite. We ordered the Canton Seafood Sweet and Sour. The scallop and prawns were cooked perfectly (the chefs French training showed itself), and we both liked the accompanying stir fry mixture of vegetables and rice. The dish worked well.
For dessert we ended with a so-called peach pie (that had some peaches) but the crust was a cross between uncooked dough and granulated sugar. The peach pie was topped with a homemade banana ice cream, but the delicate taste was covered with the bad pastry dough and accompanying fresh strawberries.
This place is headed in the right direction and does provide an interesting option for the location. Parts of all dishes we tried showed the potential of really good, creative cooking. But than again most dishes also lacked either a balance of spices or foundation to present the chefs creativity. We will reserve our final judgment after our second visit, when we try a few other dishes. So if you are in the area, its worth a try. You might be delightfully surprised, but then again it might be a good surprise.