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Aug 6, 2012 07:06 AM

Miss Ollie's - Oakland

Sarah Kirnon, former chef of Hibiscus and Front Porch, is doing occasional pop-ups gearing up for opening Miss Ollie's in Swan's Market this fall.

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  1. The pop-up this past Friday nite at Stag's as part of Oakland Art Murmur was wonderful: her signature fried chicken was a hit. I also enjoyed the salt cod with roasted veggies and ackee.

    Great in-gathering of people there for a party. But don't go if you're in a rush.

    Oh, and the zing of her housemade hot sauce...brilliant.

    2 Replies
    1. re: escargot3

      Official opening is today at 11:30 am. I'm sorry to miss the fried chicken today, but I'll try for curry goat tomorrow. Menu for the week includes:

      Tuesday: Fried Chicken 12
      Wednesday: Curry Goat 12.50
      Thursday: Oxtail 12.50
      Friday: Fish Friday AQ
      Chopped salad/hearts of palm, cucumber, avocado, radishes, hen egg, crispy shallots 8 / 10
      Creole ham/sweet potato salad, olives, capers, aioli 7.50
      Lamb patties 3.50 / 6
      Salt fish & ackee/ plantains 7 / 14
      Sancocho/cassava, carrots, green bananas 9
      Piri Piri pork shoulder/ field greens 9
      Doubles/curry chickpeas, squash, bara bread 4 / 8
      Rice & Peas 3.50
      Plaintains Garlic Oil 4.50
      Buttered Sweet Potatoes 3.00
      Pikliz 2.50
      Greens 3.00

      1. re: j mather

        It's actually not in Swan's Market proper but at 901 Washington, the space on the corner that I think was most recently Jesso's.

    2. I've been to Miss Ollie's twice now (both on Saturdays for fried chicken), and I absolutely love what they're doing there. All of the food that I've had has been great: the first time I was there the chicken came with black eyed peas, greens, and two hush puppies, and the second time it came with plaintains and an avocado salad with a carrot slaw. Along with four pieces of perfectly fried chicken, it's a crazy steal for $11. I also had some of the red beans and rice (delicious), the salt fish salad (unusual and great), and the creole doughnuts (fantastic, and perfectly fried). Everything I've had is really delicious, and wow do they know their way around a fryer, but the fried chicken is really some of the best in the Bay Area. Perfectly crispy on the outside, lots of flavor, well seasoned and well cooked on the inside, and with that little heart of jerk seasoning that Sarah Kirnon is known for. Oh, and the housemade hot sauce is great too -- lots of heat, and the kind that works well with their food, but interesting flavor as well.

      I can't wait to go back to try the fish friday (has anyone tried it?) and the Oxtail. The service is also super friendly, which I really appreciate in a new place, and the space is low key and comfortable. I'm glad that there are so many good spots coming to that little corner of Oakland.

      1. Went Saturday night at 9 (dinner hours Friday and Saturday are 5:30-10:30, no reservations) and they had stopped seating new parties. Apparently they got slammed early and ran out of food.

        Nice to see they're doing well, but if you want to be sure to get in, maybe go on the early side.

        1. They now have their liquor license and a full bar.

          22 Replies
          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            Visiting CH-er grayelf was just there and loved it. i can't wait to try this place, slated to go mid-June. anyone tried the Bul Jol? I'm a chili head - is really super hot?

            1. re: mariacarmen

              I've had some pleasantly spicy dishes she's made but nothing super hot except the pepper sauce.

              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                thx. good to know i can adjust with the sauce if need be.

                1. re: mariacarmen

                  Bul Jo was not hot at all but quite tasty. Make sure you go on a day when they have the fried chicken. And don't miss the pickle plate either : -).

                  1. re: grayelf

                    I am going next Tues. with my coworkers for my birthday- really looking forward to it and will report after, glad to have the tips:-)

                    1. re: karenfinan

                      I am sure you will enjoy it as it really has that ineffable combo of great food, lovely staff and comfy vibe that seems to work for a wide range of patrons. When we were there early on a Saturday evening, the bar was full, the tables had happy people at them and the servers, 'tenders and greeter made it seem like a party at someone's house. I did find my one taste of the pulled pork a wee bit on the sweet side but that could be my palate. Loved it and would be there once a week if I lived in the Bay Area.

                    2. re: grayelf

                      we're going this coming Tuesday, after all - it looks like we can get the chicken - it's on the regular menu... i think i want one of everything!

                        1. re: karenfinan

                          i know, i saw that! i'll look out for the bday girl and say hey!

                          1. re: mariacarmen

                            Very cool! It will be great to meet a poster I've been reading for a long time:-)

                2. re: mariacarmen

                  No, not hot. Sarah's coconut habanero sauce is delicious, but not that spicy either.

                  The fried chicken is most days now, I think.

                  Don't miss the ackee. Drinks were good too.

                  1. re: Windy

                    ok, too bad about not that spicy, but it all sounds delicious regardless.

                    definitely getting the ackee! thanks!

                    1. re: mariacarmen

                      The sauce that was on the table Thursday was spicier than any house-made hot sauce I've had in any restaurant, including the habanero salsa El Huarache Azteca serves on request with the barbacoa.

                      It wasn't quite as hot as the bottle I bought at Hibiscus, but that stuff is so hot that if I added more than a teaspoon to a big pot of stew some people would find it inedibly hot. Which is why I still have half the bottle after I'm not sure how many years.

                      1. re: mariacarmen

                        Sarah posts highlights from the changing menu on her Facebook page. Ackee wasn't on the menu last week, but who knows. The oxtails look great too.

                        The cocktail with rhum agricole and walnut bitters and absinthe was very refreshing.

                        I don't eat a lot of fried chicken and didn't like the version she made at The Front Porch. But the pieces we had at Miss Ollie's were worth every calorie. Stuffed with an herb mixture.

                        1. re: Windy

                          thanks for the FB tip. the ackee is on the regular lunch menu.... hoping it's there when we go. but heck, i'll go again, after all these stellar reports.

                          I liked the chicken at Front Portch, although I didn't think it was "the best ever." this one sounds amazing. as does that cocktail. i can't wait.

                          ETA: hmmm... wasn't able to find a FB page for Ms. Ollie's, or for Sarah Kirnon....

                          ETA Again: i don't understand this Bauer review - he seems to love it but gives it 2.5 stars? truly, i don't read bauer reviews, so maybe i'm just unfamiliar with his standards.


                            1. re: mariacarmen

                              click on the 'f' at the bottom of the Miss Ollie's website.

                              edit: nevermind. Robert posted the URL

                              1. re: mariacarmen

                                just a guess, but bauer appears to apply the same star rating to places whether they're mid-priced neighborhood spots or fine dining with ten people involved with every plate leaving the kitchen. he's no liberal when it comes to giving even three stars to a place, and for most of us in this area the value of his opinion varies with the type of cuisine and target clientele of a place.

                    2. Had a fabulous lunch there today. I went with 5 coworkers and we all had the fried chicken. We also had pickled veggies, pickled eggs, and the creole donuts. The chicken came with green beans, rice and "peas" ( beans) and carrot salad. I thought everything was tasty. The carrot salad was not sweet, which I really appreciated. The pickled veggies were excellent, and included okra - a fave of mine, beets, cauliflower and asparagus. The chicken was perfectly done, one white piece and one dark, with a little less crust than I like- personal preference- but cooked perfectly. The herbs under the crust were a great touch. I also enjoyed the atmosphere. It was lunch time and lively, but we could still hear each other easily. Oh and I really loved the hot sauce- hot but not too hot, and very tasty. A great place to celebrate my birthday! Only disappointment, didn't see Mariacarmen- were you there?

                      7 Replies
                      1. re: karenfinan

                        I was there, but for dinner! i didn't realize you were going for lunch (i work in the City, I can't go for lunch). belated happy birthday!

                        We got there around 7:45 p.m., got seated right away. for cocktails, we ordered the salty dog, made with Jamaican Ting and Hendriks - really nice and tart. For dinner, we ordered the pickles (which we loved), a fantastic salad with a soft-set hardboiled egg, fried oysters (incredibly good - crispy, creamy, and non-greasy, and we got two each), frisee and perfectly cooked shrimp in a delicious vinaigrette (a stand-out dish for me), the pholourie (so perfect. not dry or doughy, just right, especially with the tamarind sauce.). We also got the chicken, which we loved - i too loved the addition of the herbs, gave each bite such freshness. my only wee complaint - it was fried a little dark for me, i prefer a little more golden, but other than that it was really, really good - very tender and juicy and flavorable. splashed with a good amount of the bottled habanero sauce - which is hot but edible. and the accompaniments were great too: potato salad made with aioli, capers and parsley (what a wonderful, rich, tart and creamy combo), and the carrot salad with golden raisins (agreed, not too sweet, very refreshing). and even though we were stuffed, we could not resist the ackee and salt cod. i have to say though, that this highly touted dish was not my favorite. maybe i was just too full by then, but the ackee didn't have a ton of flavor (just texture), and the salt cod was almost indiscernible (i think it was flaked, and maybe that's typical). it wasn't bad, it just wasn't the greatest. mostly it tasted of the plantains and sweet peppers, which were good.

                        service was great, loved the space. and a bargain for such quality food. I'll definitely go back.

                        1. re: mariacarmen

                          Was the ackee a special? I didn't see it on the menu. Next time maybe try the bul jol if you are hankering for bacalao and you loved the phoulorie. The salt cod on that dish was indeed flaked but it was very discernible. Just no heat in the scotch bonnets. The deep fried bread is great, along with the avocado sauce that is not mentioned on the menu description.

                          1. re: grayelf

                            it was on our menu last night. the menu online was not the menu we had. i will definitely try the bul jol sometime.

                          2. re: mariacarmen

                            Ha! good thing I didn't go table to table, saying " ARe you Mariacarmen?

                            1. re: karenfinan

                              and i was looking around at all the tables to see if anyone looked a year older!