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Jan 18, 2013 01:14 PM

Duende in Oakland

So, Paul Canales new place, Duende opened officially in Oakland this week. My friends are already praising it to the rafters (and I'm mad that I couldn't join them).

Who can give us the chowhound version?

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  1. Spanish / Basque menu looks good. Ten wines on tap. Full bar.

    There's a link to yesterday's menu buried on the reservations page.

    1. Pretty place with a lively atmosphere. Good noise control, at least along the west wall where I was sitting. Tried a bunch of tapas.

      Trotters and cheeks ($8.50) were fried cakes, crunchy on the outside and unctuous on the inside, similar to items I've had at Bocadillos and Incanto. Remoulade or something similar was a nice foil to the rich meat.

      Pork tongues and ears ($10.50) were braised and served warm with a frisée salad and a spicy sauce.

      Sobrasada ($11.50) was sort of similar to 'nduja, sour and a little spicy, tasty.

      Stuffed piquillos ($12.50) were surprising, filling was lamb with currants and pine nuts with Moorish seasoning, juicy and meaty.

      Buñuelos ($11.50) were mostly shrimp loosely held together by a tempura-like batter, very nice.

      Some very good wines on tap. I particularly liked the Andrew Lane Napa Gamay, which I see from Googling is true Gamay Noir from Napa, not "Napa Gamay" now called Valdiguié.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Robert Lauriston

        Like most of those reporting on this thread, I was very pleased with the food and service on my visit with hubby and two friends over the holidays. However, must disagree on the 'good noise control', at least on our visit. We also sat along the west side, and it was impossible to even hold a conversation. Given the quality of the food and the drink options and the style of the place, that otherwise encourages lingering, that was a real disappointment. There was a show upstairs that (Sunday) night, and I think we happened to go on a night when the show was particularly loud and jarring. Since there is often music Sunday nights, I'd check the line up and ask questions about the nature of the band before going back.

      2. It's got a really nice coffee and wine shop attached to it too. And, bless their little hearts, it opens at 7:00am every day so I can pop in there on my way to work.

        Spanish only wines available in store or for takeout by the bottle. Great pitstop for a night out or for arriving really early to a reservation.

        1. Good food and communal atmosphere inside. The lighting was rather low and several people were using the light from their iPhones to read the menu. Small but extremely flavorful portions--to simplify, it's gourmet tapas, so it's to be expected.

          Absolutely amazing interior! High ceilings, exposed structural members, dark wood tabletops, unique lighting fixtures.

          Txiperones: salad with fried whole baby squids (crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside), delicate frisee, a gooey runny egg yolk, and a tomato-based dressing. Mixed all together, the crunchy-gooey-salty mash up was quite an exciting opener.

          Perbots farcits: half salad, half stuffed pepper dish. An herby, earthy mix of arugula, pine nuts, and shaved onion tossed in olive oil, next to two charred peppers concealing cumin-spiced lamb inside. The contrast in textures but the match in flavor turned a simple bite into a memorable dish.

          Albondigas: four pork meatballs, each 65% leek and green garlic, so lighter than usual. The broth was full of umami; comes with bread to soak it all up.

          A few local beers on tap, but otherwise a good selection. Ici ice cream was featured on the dessert menu--Canales' wife owns Ici.

          4 Replies
          1. re: acetaminophen

            I went in last night for drinks after dinner and the bartender said the kitchen had broken down a pig that afternoon and the chef was making headcheese.

            1. re: acetaminophen

              sounds great - 4 of us are going this Friday. One eats only fish/seafood - are there enough options?

                1. re: acetaminophen

                  thanks, that helps - looks like it should be no problem.

            2. I understand they have sherry brandy. I had it years ago in Barcelona. It was great. I mean to go try it soon.

              1 Reply
              1. re: zenki

                There are any number of brands of Brandy de Jerez available here . . . what kind are you looking for?