Chop Bar in Oakland: recommendations?
After daveena mentioned in another discussion that the newly opened Chop Bar has some of the best sandwiches she's ever tasted (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/661388#5121863 ), I thought I'd start a new thread for people who have eaten here to share what they've tried and liked. I haven't been yet, but their roasted pig on flatbread, with a kick-ass condiment spread, was the best thing I tried at the recent Eat Real Festival (though this is not on their regular menu, apparently). I'm thinking about checking it out for dinner tonight, so I'm wondering if there's anything really excellent on the current menu that I should be sure to order.
The sandwiches on the lunch menu sound great. Any thoughts? Anyone tried the brunch?
The dinner menu also looks very appealing to me, but, as daveena said, it's a little bit all over the place.
Has anyone been for dinner? The different sections of the menu are slightly confusing. There are "snacks," which seem to be a variety of little appetizers and salad-type things. The bacon, garlic and parmesan popcorn ($3) jumps out at me as something that could be really amazing or really terrible. Sounds like a tasty bar snack to me, though.
Then there are "tablas," which seem to be larger appetizer plates for sharing--a charcuterie, their take on a seafood platter (with shrimp ceviche, tuna tartare, and gravlax), etc.
And then, there's a section of "cazuelas," which when I looked it up on Wikipedia is a kind of soup, but on this menu, they seem to be more small plates and side dishes? Prices range from $5 to $9. The Louisiana Shrimp ala Diabla ($8) sounds good--I wonder if this is more akin to the spicy shrimp at Fonda or the BBQ shrimp at Angeline's (both of which I love).
Finally there are four options for a main course, ranging in price from $12 to $15 (very reasonable!), all of which sound quite good. What have people tried and like/disliked? The gnocchi? The chicken and dumplings?
Sounds like ordering a few small plates and one main course to share might be a good way to go for two diners. Thoughts on portion sizes?
How about the wine on tap? Very intriguing idea to me, so I'm curious what people's impressions are.
If someone else knows how, or has the appropriate access, to create a new Restaurant listing for this, that'd be great. For now, I'll just list the address/website.
247 4th St., #111, Oakland, CA
Went for lunch / brunch.
I was craving a burger and had heard good things so tried it. Great beef flavor. Griddled Acme kaiser roll, good choice except the top tends to break apart along the segments. Bacon, avocado, and aioli's a nice (if messy) combination. Not really my style of burger but satisfying and a good value at $12, especially with a huge arugula salad and big piece of excellent pickle.
Had a few bites of chilaquiles, they were better than most I've had in Mexico. Good half-crunchy texture, delicious tomatillo sauce, lots of scrambled eggs.
Me and a bunch of other food bloggers went to chop bar on a Dishcrawl recently. Here is a full graphic representation of what was ordered. The burger, of course. The ribs were amazing in this sweet apple glaze. And OH MY the winner was the gnocchi.
247 4th St, #111, Oakland, CA 94607
Had another nice dinner here tonight. They're doing Dungeness crabs every day for the rest of the season; tonight it was served cold ($16 for a half, $25 for a whole) with a lettuce salad, some garlicky rye toast, and a parsley aioli. Nice and fresh-tasting.
We also had the pork ribs, a Brussels sprouts rigatoni, and a side of kale. Everything was good, but, aside from the crab, the pasta dish was especially good - the sprouts were sliced, and there was goat cheese in it.
I noticed that they've done away with the "cazuelas" portion of the menu, though most of those dishes are still available. Probably people just ended up finding that confusing.
Grilled Pork Banh Mi - Vietnamese style pork sandwich with cilantro, chilies, and Thai basil aioli with crunchy pickles on the side
It is an interpretation of a banh mi ... a good one. A soft torpedo roll, totally cut in half had a super tender, expertly-spiced pork tenderloin. On the side was a sliced fresh jalapeno and pickled juliented carrot and daikon (I think) sticks with bits of ginger and a half dozen cilantro leaves scattered about. Some of the carrots were casually strewn over the pork.
It is not on the large side but enjoyable. I liked eating the carrot sticks on their own.
I also has a nice hot chocolate while waiting for my take-out order.
I got a cup of Roaster Coffee Co coffee to go. It has that Four Barrel or Ritual taste to it. It can be ordered drip. There is also a coffee bean of the day in addition to the house blend.
The Chronicle just did a review
Chop Bar is a treat in Jack London Square
Thanks for keepin this in chowhound radar, abstractpoet. I wanted to try it but had forgotten.
I asked about the price for the Sundday supper. They said it would depend on what they were cooking that week but it would be in the $20 - $30 range and not exceed that.
247 4th St, #111, Oakland, CA 94607
The Burger (pretty much the best restaurant burger I have ever had)
The Yucatan Chicken (excellent)
The Tri Tip/ Flat Iron Steak and Jo Joes (good to excellent)
Halibut (very good)
Desert: all have been great
Coffee: very good
I have liked about 85% of the items I've tried. Whole hearted recommendation in my book.
We went to chopbar for dinner last night, its not a big place it has 8 or 9 table inside, the bar and some benches outside. At 7 there was only one other table with people but when we left before 9 there wasn't an open table.
I went with my parents and we shared bar snacks , starter plates and each got a main, We had the pepitas and house cured olives, the olives were especially good I thought and were served in a cazuela with a chile.
For starters we had the romaine lettuce salad with stone ground mustard dressing, louisana shrimp and the pork ribs. No one at the table liked the shrimp which I think had to do with the quality of the shrimp and not the sauce. The salad was fresh and suprisingly large but nothing special. The pork ribs were fantastic, you get three ribs the ribs were tender, well spiced and the apples that were baked with them were great!
For main dishes we got their chicken under a skillet with peperonata, flat iron steak and the fusili. The fusili was not good and the pasta was undercooked but the chicken was fantastic it had a crispy skin, the chicken was moist and every bite was tasty.
We tried the weekend brunch today and were pretty disappointed. The menu is kind of ho-hum; not a lot of options that really caught my fancy. I ended up ordering the Niman Ranch ham and Vermont cheddar frittata, which somehow tasted pretty similar to a run-of-the-mill omelet using any generic ham or cheese. They can't toss in some herbs or something? Some onions? The only thing it tasted like was salt. The frittata itself was not particularly fluffy--it was actually kind of dry. And the home fries that came on the side weren't particularly crisp or well-seasoned.
My wife fared a little bit better with the corned beef hash. This was done in pretty much the identical style as the one served at 900 Grayson, with largish cubes of meat rather than a true hash. But pretty much every component of the dish--the meat, the potatoes, the eggs--was a notch or two below 900 Grayson's version.
We liked the one dinner we had at Chop Bar, so again, this was pretty disappointing. With so many better options in the East Bay, we probably won't venture back for breakfast/brunch--unless it turns out that we somehow just ordered all the wrong things.
Maybe the chilaquiles would have been OK? The "Eggs ala Cazuela"?
We went for dinner tonight. Got there at a little after 5:00 and they weren't serving dinner yet (just snacks and one sandwich option), so we walked down to J.L.S. and back until the beginning of their dinner service at 5:30.
It was a nice evening so we opted to sit in the open patio area. Nice space. Not very big, though--maybe 10 tables in the whole place? Mostly two tops, it seemed. The patio area is nice for a slightly bigger group if it's a nice day, and there are a lot of seats at the bar.
My wife and I just shared a few small plates/appetizers:
The charcuterie ($12)- mostly Fatted Calf items (a couple of salamis, some kind of pate), housemade pickles (not bad), some whole grain mustard, some baguette slices, and the prosciutto-style Kentucky ham that Robert mentioned in another thread. The ham was definitely the star here--deep smoky flavor, with some nuttiness to it too. Really, really good.
Louisiana shrimp ala diablo ($8)- five decently sized shrimp, great flavor, a nice char on them. A few lime wedges to squeeze. Might have been good with a little bit more kick (wasn't really spicy at all), but I still liked these a lot.
Pork ribs slow cooked in apple cider ($9)- four meaty ribs. Not fall off the bone tender--a little bit more bite to them, but not in a bad way. The apple cider glaze/sauce was really tasty. Came with a few slices of apple that were stewed in the sauce too.
Green beans with capers and garlic ($5)- We just wanted some vegetables to balance things out. These were solid enough, not great. Somehow not garlicky enough for me even though there were lots of whole cloves of garlic. Good value though.
I had a glass of one of their wines on tap--some kind of red Rhone blend from Preston. Great deal at just $6 a glass. Wife had their agua fresca of the day--apple cinnamon. This was just OK, I thought. Very light and refreshing, but not enough apple flavor.
For dessert, we share a Mexican chocolate pudding. Very good--we cleaned the bowl.
All in all, it was a nice meal, and the service was friendly. For small-plate, tapa-esque dining (though obviously a different style of food), I enjoyed this a lot more than any of my recent meals at Cesar--and it's definitely a much, much better value.
We'll be back to try their lunch and maybe some of the main dishes on the dinner menu next time.
Just came from lunch, had the ham and cheese panino. It was fine but I was expecting something more...artisanal, I guess. It was a basic panino on an herb slab, tasty but underwhelming for $8.50. And the side green salad was sort of a sad joke. It was literally - literally - four small pieces of lettuce with a few diced tomatoes in a very salty vinaigrette. I mean come on, if you say it comes with a salad it should be more than two bites. The ironic thing is that had I known the salad would be little more than a garnish, I would have ordered a side salad for $5 (and then I would probably gripe about the combined price...). With all that said, it's unfair to judge given that they just opened. It's a cool space and the service was friendly, if still getting into the groove. I'll definitely give it another shot.
re: Robert Lauriston
re: Robert Lauriston
"Cazuela" is Spanish for "casserole." In some geographic areas/countries it can mean soup. For example: In Chile "cazuela de ave" is a soup made with chicken and vegetables and "cazuela de vacuno" is a soup made with meat and vegetables. In México "cazuela" usually refers to a clay pot, so any dish made in a clay pot can be a cazuela.