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Apr 21, 2008 03:55 PM

Two meals in the East Bay...where would you go?

I'm in town for a few days and can do one lunch and one dinner in the East Bay. Haven't been here a lot recently, so would love any tips on the new hot spots. Am going to try Sushi Sho tomorrow night, but still have a lunch and dinner open on Wednesday.

Prefer California cuisine or Asian type stuff. Anything I can't get in Ireland, really!

What's the best around that I can do with limited reservation lead time?


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  1. Wood Tavern is my favorite restaurant in Rockridge, North Oakland area. (Borders Berkeley) They're pretty popular but if you're dining alone you can grab a seat at the bar, but even that can be a wait if you get there during peak time. Not so hard grabbing a seat early or later in the evening.

    1 Reply
    1. re: singleguychef

      I tried to go there late last week about 9:40- they were completely full, even at the bar. Amazing. I'll try again sometime, maybe earlier in the week.

    2. Try Chez Panisse Cafe (upstairs) for either lunch or dinner, I've had good luck with short term reservations there midweek. You could also try Pizzaiolo, in the Cal-Italian family (dinner only). Wood Tavern is a great place on College Ave in Oakland, I'd call them too for a reservation (lunch or dinner). One of my favorite Asian spots in the East Bay is Champa Garden, and you don't need a reservation there (I don't think).

      2 Replies
      1. re: JasmineG

        Second on all of those. I'd do Wood Tavern for lunch since they don't have the pastrami sandwich at dinner.

        Dopo's also great, in the Oliveto vein. No reservations.

        1. re: Robert Lauriston

          Went to Wood Tavern for lunch today (ended up in the East Bay for an extra few days). Sat at the bar with a friend and we split a pastrami sandwich and a bbq pork shank sandwich with a grilled asparagus starter. The pork was nice, but the pastrami was fantastic. Was really glad I made it here. Tomorrow morning I go back to Dublin to the land of boring and bland. Wah.

      2. Noticed in your profile, you like some Oakland Korean spots -- you can try Sura or Ohgane

        3 Replies
        1. re: kc72

          Yep, used to live in Oakland before I moved to Dublin. My first port of call is definitely Sahn Maru--going there tonight!

          1. re: Lina

            Love to hear your report! One other new Berkeley spot with some favorable reports (especially the burger): Maritime East (in the spot that was formerly Zax Tavern) Places:

            3915 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94611

            5008 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609

            4293 Piedmont Ave, Oakland, CA 94611

            Champa Garden
            2102 8th Ave, Oakland, CA 94606

            Chez Panisse
            1517 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94709

            Wood Tavern
            6317 College Ave., Oakland, CA 94618

            4869 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609

            Sahn Maru Korean BBQ
            4315 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609

            Maritime East
            2826 Telegraph Ave, Berkeley, CA

            1. re: Lina

              I'm a big Sahn Maru fan, but Sura is my #1 Oakland Korean pick at the moment. 20 panchan plus egg custard last time I had dinner there! Food is more delicate and lightly spiced than at other places, but it is excellent.

              I'd also second Wood Tavern for lunch. I would also highly recommend Brown Sugar Kitchen for a lighter Californication of Soul Food. Only open for breakfast and lunch. I'd do lunch on the early side, as they are struggling to handle their sudden popularity. Should definitely be a change from what you'll find in Ireland.

              Brown Sugar Kitchen
              2534 Mandela Pkwy, Oakland, CA 94607

          2. If you really crave Chinese food, you should head over to the Ranch99 plaza where they have Daimo for your regular HK style meal and Asian Pearl for dim sum as well as Great Szechuan for hot spicy Chinese.

            Daimo Chinese Restaurant
            3288 Pierce St, Richmond, CA 94804

            Great Szechuan (closed)
            3288 Pierce St, Richmond, CA

            Asian Pearl
            3288 Pierce St, Richmond, CA 94804

            1. Quick report--did Sushi Sho which was amazing. Had read all of the warnings here on Chowhound so was even more polite than my usual polite self, and we were treated really well. The chef was very funny, if there was something we hadn't tried he gave very specific instructions on how to eat it, when, how and specific location on sushi to dip in soy sauce, etc. The more memorable pieces we tried were the raw scallop (I actually had a dream about it, it was so good), toro, smoked raw salmon that they make themselves (this was interesting, it tasted exactly like cooked smoked salmon but was raw, sort of a mind-bender) salted cod (strange and took a solid 20 minutes of instructions and warnings before we were allowed to eat it, I thought it was going to be much more frightening after all of that buildup), and amazing sea urchin. Topped it all off with eel and egg which they make themselves. Was the best sushi I've ever had.

              Sahn Maru was also fantastic. Frankly, I was almost expecting it to be bad because I can't believe a place like that could be so consistently good. I really don't care about anything other than the soft tofu soup. However, as of last year I've tried it at all of the local joints and theirs is so much richer and interesting. I've spend the last year trying to perfect making it myself, and even got the recipe straight from Sahn Maru. (Thanks to the Curmudgeon for that one!) Still can't get it quite to their level, but I'm getting there. This visit did not disappoint. They were also really nice--they remembered me even though I haven't been there since last March and gave us free beer. :)

              Am going to Sura tonight, thanks for the recommendation!

              3 Replies
              1. re: Lina

                Thanks for reporting back

                Sushi Sho
                1645 Solano Ave, Berkeley, CA 94707

                1. re: Lina

                  How about posting the Sahn Maru soon dobu recipe on Home Cooking?

                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                    I hadn't posted it because I was sort of unsure of the ethics of situation. I'm fairly certain that they gave me the recipe because I was a regular customer and because I was leaving the country. I'm not sure if they would have given it to me if I had been planning on posting it online. That said, it's not too different from many of the other recipes I've found. I'm in the process of "perfecting" it. I've had to make some changes to the original, so once I'm completely satisfied, maybe I can post that recipe on the board.