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Jul 17, 2012 01:54 PM

Stag's Lunchette [Oakland]

Newly opened in Uncle Dougie's space 362 17th St. Downtown Oakland. Shifting small selection of sandwiches and some salads. Anyone been?

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  1. They had a short list of sandwiches/salads (6 the day I was there) including a vegan reuben but possibly no actual pastrami based sandwich that day. I had a pulled chicken sandwich which was delicious (spicy jalapeno cole slaw) served with a small side salad for $8. However the bread did not stand up very well to the filling, though it was tasty. They also had some pastries (from outside sources) including Starter Bakery Kouign Amans.
    It reminds me a little bit of Farley's probably because one of the guys at the counter used to be at the Farley's on Grand. Good new option for lunch, wish there were a few more tables for 1-2 people rather than for 4, or had a more communal feel.

    3 Replies
    1. re: jhinky

      Thanks for the first mouth report, jhinky. Looks like the daily sandwich offerings are posted on its FB page,

      And it's one of the places to get a Baron Baking bagel.

      1. re: Melanie Wong

        I just had the Baron's everything bagel with cream cheese, tomato, lightly-pickled red onion, capers and excellent cream cheese at Stag's ($3.50).

        The bagel was very, very good- the deep-brown, firm exterior gives toothsome resistance on the way way to a dense, chewy, deeply-flavorful interior. I haven't had any of the others of the recent crop of new bagel purveyors in our area, but this was easily the best bagel I've had around here. The whole package came together very well.

        A BLT that was not on the menu was offered as well.

        The transformation from the lost, lamented Uncle Dougie's could not be more complete- lots of wood for a warm feel.

        I'll probably go back for lunch- the large crock of house-made pickles is already calling my name...

        1. re: Pius Avocado III

          This morning I enjoyed their Baron's bagel with scallion cream cheese, smoked trout, tomato, pickled onion, and capers ($8). Really enjoyed everything about it--the trout was both tasty and plentiful--nice but not overwhelming smokey flavor. The bagel itself is definitely a winner--haven't had a Baron's before, and it did seem more like the bagels of my Boston area youth than anything else around. Definitely a great way to start the day today.

    2. I went back at lunch today for the pastrami sandwich ($10)- Bassian Farms brisket, house kraut, Emmental and dressing on toasted levain.

      The pastrami was juicy with just the right amount of fat, but could've used a heavier cure and/or more smoking for my taste. That said, the high-quality beefy flavor shone through clearly. I was asked if spicy was OK, which it was, and there was definitely a lingering heat from the from the light-orange dressing standing in admirably for the usual Reuben Russian or 1000 Island. The sandwich had just the right amount of well-melted cheese, but I would have welcomed more of the kraut- its flavor was largely buried in the mix. The last bite or two of the first half of the sandwich was mainly bread, so I redistributed the meat a bit for the second half.

      It came with a small amount of lightly-dressed mixed greens and a couple olives. I added a pickle for $1. It was a very fresh, bright, juicy pickle (it actually squirted at me); the almost shelf-stable appearance of the interior and the fact that it was oddly hollow inside did not detract from its ability to serve as an admirable foil to the rich sandwich.

      It was good, but not as good as the Trappist's, though the Trap is now only serving theirs in the evening.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Pius Avocado III

        Had a bite of the pastrami earlier in the week. I rather liked the level of cure - just the right amount of salt for me and I am a salt fiend. I had the porchetta and it was delicious - nice grind on the stuffing and perfect bun. Can't wait to go back and have my own pastrami. Will have to get a pickle too.

      2. Went back today for some lunch experimenting. Brought home a pastrami sandwich, a meatball sub, and a grilled cheese with bacon chutney with the idea that 2 of us would share bites of all three.

        The pastrami sandwich was h.e.a.v.e.n.l.y. Loved the spicy dressing, which may be their housemade habenero/sweet potato sauce. Before I took the first bite I wished it had a bit more meat, but in fact it was a really fine balance of ingredients. This is a messy, juicy combination of textures and flavors--the sweetness and smokiness of the meat, mixed with some spice from the sauce, a tiny tang from the kraut, then well-griddled bread and melted cheese and well, it's just something that I will need to work to forget about because it would be terrible for my health to eat it as often as I would like.

        The meatball sub was filled with three golfball sized meatballs that had a solid but tender texture and a bit of heat from an unknown source. Really tasty. The meatballs were layered with a generous portion of mozzarella (homemade?), ricotta, tasty tomato sauce, and plenty of basil leaves. We both tasted one meatball while the sandwich was still warm, but most of this sandwich did not get eaten until several hours after it came home, due to the fact that I could not stop myself from eating all of my pastrami and my husband was full from his grilled cheese. Though the bread had become a little soggy, the whole thing stood up surprisingly well. This is a great sandwich.

        I never got a taste of the grilled cheese, but it was declared "really great" multiple times by my husband, who is not a man who has much to say about the food he eats.

        The only disappointment in the entire meal was the pickle. It was a dollar for a small whole pickle, which I would not begrudge if it was good. It wasn't crispy, yet the brining seemed somehow a little undone. I think this is a product that needs some fine tuning.

        They are carrying pastries from Starter, including their almond croissants and Kouign amann for $4 each. I really like this place, though I wish they had something to sit on besides bar stools (I just really prefer a regular chair) but it's certainly a minor quibble.

        1. Went for the first time at lunch and it was busy. Looks like the foodies have discovered this place because most of the people there didn't look like the typical office people I see around my area.

          I ended up getting the Chicken and Mint sandwich (there were maybe five sandwiches on the menu today?) and it was huge for $8. Strips of tender chicken breast tasted really organic and fresh, but did make it a bit hard to eat because they were such large chunks that they kept falling out of my bread. It was a complicated sandwich with a variety of condiments, such as pickled radish and heirloom carrots, pickled fennel, basil and mint aioli and poached garlic. You don't taste all these flavors, but they come in bursts here and there depending where you bite. I was impressed by the bread, which was like a ciabatta, so chewy but had a nice savory taste to it with bits of salt that I could taste. Came with a simple side salad of field greens. Cool place but definitely getting crowded. I got there around 11:45 and there were already three to four groups of people and then by 12:15 p.m. there was a line and pretty much no tables to sit.

          Looking forward to trying the pastrami. (FYI, I did see yesterday's menu had a tofu sandwich option.)

          1. Had lunch there on Wednesday for the first time around 2 p.m. Think they are open until 3 p.m. so later = less crowds. Had a chicken salad special and also a small side kale salad and both were really good. The kale salad had hazelnuts and a lemony dressing and the chicken salad was huge with tons of greens and a good amount of really moist chicken. Plenty of seats at that hour. And it's quite a change decor-wise from the Uncle Dougie's days that's for sure!