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Miss Ollies in Old Oakland now open for dinner

Starting tonite, Miss Ollie's will also open for dinner. (Lunchtime has been quite successful -- and often sold out.)

Opening menu includes:
"West Indian Tripe Salad, Pepperpot Stew, Jerk Quail and much more..."

It's a great place to hang out and enjoy spicy food.

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  1. enjoyed the fried chicken tonite, as usual. and "the Martinique" -- an island cocktail that was refreshing but not especially sweet.

    Really hot hot sauce. Easy parking. Great Oaktown crowd.

    16 Replies
    1. re: escargot3

      how hot is the hot sauce? is it house-made or a brand? are we talking habanero, ghost pepper, or something else? maybe i should just go see for myself :)

      1. re: hungree

        The hot sauce is a family recipe, made with scotch bonnets and maybe habaneros. Very spicy, but with real depth.

      2. re: escargot3

        Not sure if we had the same thing but if it's the golden hot sauce in the big bottles that you can grab for your table, it hardly had any heat, but was v tasty, nice acid. Or maybe some are mild? The rice and beans were unseasoned but came alive w the sauce.

        1. re: rubadubgdub

          The housemade hot sauce in the vinegar bottles is usually Scotch Bonnet peppers and so spicy that a tiny bit is a lot. I've been working on the same bottle for going on four years and it's still a third full.

          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            Ours really was not hot. I probably added 1TB or more to the rice. I don't eat a lot of spicy foods either.

            1. re: rubadubgdub

              Definitely not the same as the old stuff, then. A tablespoon of that would be enough to make at least 20 servings very spicy.

          2. re: rubadubgdub

            The yellow stuff in the bottle was tasty, but it's not the house made hot sauce, which I asked for. As Robert saidd, it's killer sauce.

            1. re: rubadubgdub

              I asked Sarah Kirnon if she was making the hot sauce milder, she said sometimes she uses local habaneros that aren't as hot as she might like, but that she was just got some scotch bonnets and that batch will be very hot.

              The "milder" batch I tried last night was spicy enough to cause serious pain if you splashed it on like Mexican salsa.

            2. re: escargot3

              I also enjoyed both but the chicken will escape being a favorite bc there was cilantro under the skin. Crust was great though, really crunchy and served piping hot. One thing of note is that the online menu didn't resemble yesterday's dinner offerings. I'm guessing that the full menu is intended to describe the scope of what they plan to offer but not daily.

              1. re: rubadubgdub

                yo rubadub, that's so interesting that you tasted cilantro. i was with someone who hates the stuff, but didn't experience that flavor in the chicken last nite. they almost "inhaled it" with glee. i myself thought it tasted of sage.

                perhaps another month's activity could be for one of us to accurately identify all of the ingredients in Miss Ollie's fried chicken.

                1. re: escargot3

                  I was just there,Chef Sarah gladly discussed the flavorings in her chicken. I am sure if you ask she will tell you.
                  By the way, Food was great. I also did not find the hot sauce in the Vinegar bottles that strong, delicious but not super picante.

                  1. re: chefj

                    Either she's using a different recipe or she's making more than one kind of pepper sauce. The old recipe had some huge percentage of Scotch Bonnets and is dangerously hot.

                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                      we're talking about 2 different sauces. The bottle that was available for the tables is not house made. I forget the brand, and tho not full-on hot, it was nice. I was not familiar with it. The one you're talkin' about, Robert, is the house-made sauce. That's the killer.

                      1. re: escargot3

                        I was wrong. I just read MB's article and see that Miss Ollie's is making that coconut vinegar sauce in the bottle on the table. It's true: It ain't got the kick.

                  2. re: escargot3

                    It wasn't so much that I tasted it but I saw the sprig under the skin (also there last night). It definitely wasn't a sage leaf. Maybe chefj can tell us what s/he learned.

                    1. re: rubadubgdub

                      wow, that;s amazing, rubadub. just shows that even people who are hyper-sensitive to the spice can be able to enjoy if it's in the right environment of other flavors.

              2. The place felt lively and fun and not too noisy when we arrived for dinner. Host friendly and promised a 15 minute wait for a table. We hung out at the bar, where my husband got a cava, I got a draft beer. We were seated close to the time they had promised--although first one and then two and then three tables became available, cleaned, re-set--and people weren't seated immediately (small matter, but seemed part of a bigger picture, as the evening unfolded).

                After we were seated, we waited. And waited. Difficulty flagging staff. At least one of other tables seated at the same time had their first courses. Finally, the host responded to our flag, very apologetic and took our order and said my gem salad would be comped by way of apology.

                And then a long wait for salads. Salad. Only my husband's fried oyster salad arrived. The oyster salad was terrific--oysters fresh & perfectly fried, frisee et. al. and dressing great complements to them. A first-class starter.

                Still no gem salad. I flagged down the host. She offered to comp new drinks for both of us. My husband said yes to another cava, I declined more beer. The gem salad arrived and was not great--over-dressed, and the dressing was overly acidic; and the components were either too delicate--hearts of palm--or too vinegar-y--olives--to come together to a dimensional whole.

                A minute after the gem salad, the fried chicken we had both ordered came--and it was great--beautifully cooked and seasoned. And a crazy amount of food--and for $12. A not very interesting, one-note slaw the only accompaniment.

                By this time, the music and ambient noise seemed louder (too loud for us to talk comfortably, but we're old and crotchety on this score). Asked for the bill. The second cava was comped. The gem salad not. We just paid and left.

                Wanted this to be more perfect than it was. But maybe they're still working out the wrinkles.

                1 Reply
                1. re: sundeck sue

                  Sounds like they didn't have the waiters' stations sorted out properly so everyone thought it was someone else's job to take your order.

                  1. re: sundeck sue

                    His raves about the food would seem to justify more than the two and a half stars he gave it.

                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                      I had the same thought. I don't think it's a 3-star experience re food/service/ambience, so don't quibble w/ the 2 1/2 star rating. But I first wondered why the narrative didn't convey that w/ (for example) some less enthusiastic comments. Then thought that maybe the point is that it's a great representation of a 2 1/2 star meal and isn't aspiring to be 3 stars. That said, I realize we're back to the whole difficulty of star systems for reviewers and restaurants both.

                      1. re: sundeck sue

                        If a rave like that ("impeccable ... could be in a Chez Panisse pop-up ... perfect combination ... inspired foil ... makes her grandmother proud ... everything looked, and tasted, so good") doesn't deserve at least three stars for the food, what does? He gave Trick Dog's food three stars and didn't rave about it quite as much.

                        Two and a half stars overall seems reasonable given the bare-bones amenities.

                        1. re: Robert Lauriston

                          I agree. I read it looking for a negative comment and there wasn't a single one.

                      2. re: sundeck sue

                        queue SF friends wanting to make the "trek" to try this place

                        1. re: sundeck sue

                          I only read the first line of the review since I don't subscribe to the Chron. Bauer is right, the chef has an exceptional touch on the FC. It is all that. Everything is well prepared and a good value. $60 (excluding tip/tax) can feed 4 people. Only downer...service can be slow and uneven but they're friendly.

                        2. Had a salad with fried oysters, medium-boiled eggs, shrimp, and frisée, quite nice, especially the oysters. If they ever have plain fried oysters on the menu it will be hard to pass up.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Robert Lauriston

                            I'm with you on that, Robert. I thought the oysters were impeccable.

                          2. can anyone compare Miss Ollie's fried chicken to brown sugar kitchen's fried chicken? one better than the other?

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: majordanby

                              going by the food, the two chefs might have different palates or perhaps different ambitions, and to me the foods are not very comparable. T.Holland's cooking is more americana-conventional. many people want that in a dish like fried chicken. island cooking, applied to our ingredients here, more vibrant seasoning in general, touches of creative whimsy give Miss Ollie's foods for my tastes more flair and personality.

                              1. re: moto

                                But the fried chicken at Miss Ollie's is also better than BSK's based on conventional measures: crispier skin, juicier meat, and far less greasiness.

                            2. We decided to head over the bridge and enjoy the hot weather last night in Oakland and got there around 5:00, starving, but they open at 5:30 so we hit Rosamunde for an order of French fries for the 5 year old and an Imperial Stout and a sour beer for me. Really nice sitting outside, that area of Oakland is so pleasant on a hot evening and I’m a sucker for eating outside since its such a rarity in SF. First, the fried chicken here is the best I’ve ever had and I’ve been to Bauer’s favorite Strouds in Kansas City, Maverick, Little Skillet, etc. Piping hot, crispy, juicy and bold herb flavoring, dipped in a little of the hot sauce, I couldn’t imagine any way to improve on this recipe. Also had the Phoularie, Oakland Salad with fried oysters, Salt Cod and Ackee – all excellent. They really have a way with the fryer, the Phoularie had a totally different batter than the chicken or oyster, but each was fried perfectly. Excellent cocktail with rum, lime, walnut liquor I think – can’t remember the name. Since we ate so early and were so enamored with the chicken we decided to get an order to go for a later night snack. Service was excellent up to this point, but this took a while since it was crowded by then, so probably wouldn’t wait to order this again. Really great meal, one of the most interesting menus in the area, I don’t know of any place like it. My wife and I honeymooned in Tobago, and the flavors really brought me back there.

                              1. I had a bowl of the mannish water (goat soup), kind of reminiscent of a Mexican caldo. One of the best under-$10 dishes I've had in recent years.

                                1. Last night I had two standouts that I wanted to rave about. 1) jerk shrimp - I could smell each order as it went by to other tables, and it wasn't the flesh I smelled, it was the juices in the head. When we got ours I not only sucked all the juices out of the head, but then proceeded to dissect the head to make sure I didn't miss anything. Flavoring was spicy and perfect.
                                  2) potato salad, this was a side dish for the fried chicken. No vinegar in this version, and some might opine that it is under salted. Whatever the salt level was, the potato flavor was fantastic. I am a rice person and don't really like potatoes, so this was an eye opener for me.

                                  The only spoiler of the night was the pacing of the meal. I usually go early when they are less busy but last night we went during prime hours. Waited forever for the fried chicken to arrive and then our chicken was cold by the time we received the accompanying side dishes. However, the food was flawless.