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Aug 15, 2008 12:04 PM

Grand Ave. time warp

I walked up Grand from Lake Merritt yesterday and noticed that past the busy part there are some serious time-warp places. Anybody ever eat at the Grand Oaks or SeƱor Nero's? My friend said the Alley has a decent steak dinner for the $10 price.

The Alley
3325 Grand Ave, Oakland, CA 94610

Senor Neros
3601 Grand Ave, Oakland, CA

Grand Oaks Restaurant & Sports Lounge
3701 Grand Ave, Oakland, CA 94610

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  1. Robeert - SO true about that Grand Avenue corridor. We've eaten at Sr Nero's and it's not bad. I have friends who do enjoy the Grand Oaks Restaurant, but the exterior is so dreadful, we've never taken the chance. The Prime Spot (Grand/Mandana) has a very good prime rib and does good chops/steak. Again though, the exterior and the interioris so dreadful, most people won't enter.

    3 Replies
    1. re: doxxie lover

      Prime Spot's awning looks fairly new, and their Web site refers to it as "an exciting new business." Maybe they changed hands?

      Prime Spot Bar and Grill
      3417 Grand Ave, Oakland, CA 94610

      1. re: Robert Lauriston

        Read the place link for information on the opening of Prime and the closing of Mikado

        1. re: Robert Lauriston

          Prime Spot opened pretty recently, I think it used to be a Japanese restaurant. Their prime rib is pretty good and it's a decent deal at about $18 with mashed potatoes and vegetables.

      2. Oh man, I could look out of the window of my office to see the Grand Oaks every day for 7 years. The edifice mocked me, reminding me of my wedding rehersal dinner, arranged by my in- laws who think Banchero's is the cat's meow.

        I've only done Sr. Nero's once since they moved down from Montclair and it was not good. One of my brothers-in-law designed Milano (been there longer than Nero's), but I've still never eaten there. I miss the place that used to be in the Victorian house before the taqueria. The bread pudding was to die for.

        1. Is Imp's (Imperial diner or something) still around? I remember hanging out there back in the day or days...

          1. The
            Alley is amazing for the fun singing and old-school coolness, as well as one of the best mixes of ages and different types of folks, however although I have not actually eaten the food, I have observed it on people's tables and it looks like it probably tastes like a 10 dollar steak, edible but a little gristly if you catch my drift. It may be great, however.. you never know.. I actually keep meaning to try it. Do try the place out though because it is the type of place that is sadly disappearing off the face of the American scene; cheap, and fun, not too "ironic" or "hipsterized" either.

            1. I've been to the Grand Oaks for dinner on several occasions. Very old-school and homestyle. They have an early bird special from 5:30 - 7:00PM (maybe 7:30PM, I can't remember) for $9.95 that's pretty generous in terms of food as well as overall choice of entrees. Their prime rib is not part of the happy hour IIRC, but it's pretty darn good and you get a lot of meat and sides with it.

              Decor is utilitarian, though they do have a patio for smokers. They have a full bar and several TVs in the bar area. It's a comfortable neighborhood kind of place with lots of regulars as diners as well as barflies........

              1 Reply
              1. re: Eugene Park

                On a whim, my family decided to try the Grand Oaks for dinner over the weekend. We've lived in the area for 30+ years and never thought the place could possibly have good food. But friends of ours recently mentioned they've been going since the place first opened. They claimed that reservations are often needed on weekends. Well, with such info our curiosity got the better of us and we checked it out.

                Upon arrival, just after the early bird specials were over, we were the 2nd group of diners. Not a good sign, or so I thought. During our meal, we only saw maybe 2 other groups come in for dinner. But after our experience, I suspect that many folks pass on this restaurant due to the looks of the exterior. Too bad... the food speaks for itself.

                Although service was a bit slow, it provided us with the opportunity to relax and enjoy conversation over piping hot fresh bread & easily spreadable butter. I hate it when the butter arrives fresh from the fridge and is difficult to spread. I also can't stand cold and/or stale bread. When we asked for a refill on the bread basket, the next roll came out not quite as piping hot -- as if it hadn't spent quite enough time in the oven, possibly because they pop it in the oven it just as you come in through the door.

                Our party of 4 placed 2 orders of roasted lamb, and 2 orders of prime rib. Our soups of the day, clam chowder, was pretty decent. I found a few nice-sized clams in mine, as well as hearty chunks of potato. Both entrees came with sides of mashed potatoes as well as the usual assortment of veggies. Due to the look of the exterior, we weren't expecting much in terms of quality, so we were pleasantly surprised when our entrees came. Portion sizes were quite generous, considering the price. My whole rack of lamb was quite juicy and hit the spot. Although the other person who also got the lamb didn't care for the sauce used (portobello plum sauce), she plans on a return visit for the lamb but to request sauce on the side. Prime rib portions were much bigger than I expected, but it might have been because the cut came bone-in so it looks larger on the plate. Although I thought the prime ribs didn't retain enough of its natural juice, we were provided with ample au jus. The horseradish also didn't appear to be from a white powdered mix. Overall, the service -- albeit a tad slow in the beginning -- was fine. Our server came by to check on us several times once we'd received our entrees.

                Although we were full from the meal, we decided to split a chocolate fudge cake topped with walnuts & served w/ whipped cream on the side. A nice ending to a very decent meal.

                If you go and order the baby back ribs, please keep in mind it takes 45 mins... at least that's what we were told when one of us attempted to order that.

                Grand Oaks Restaurant & Sports Lounge
                3701 Grand Ave, Oakland, CA 94610