From East End to Analog
This month, we’ve been eating pizza at East End, reimagined simplicity at Gather, basics at Basic Café, deliciousness at Chowhaus, and vegan and veggie stuff at Analog.
ITALIAN — You owe this to yourself: another visit to East End. Heralded early on for its bubble-blistered, thin-crusted wood-fired pizza and then praised for shrugging off those pizza-centric trappings, this Park Street mainstay stays hella busy. We were lucky to get in on a Thursday without a reservation. No wonder with chef/partners Paul Manousos and Jacob Alioto keeping the classic and specialty pies delicately awesome, the charcuterie ever-intriguing, and the Cal-Italian style seafood, chicken, pasta, and fish surprising, bold, and fresh. Don’t miss the $1 oysters all day Tuesdays and happy hour specials daily from 2-6 p.m. Or the local beers. Or the artisanal cocktails, apertifs, and digestifs. Serves lunch and dinner daily, except Mondays when closed. 1650 Park St., Alameda, 510-263-9630, www.EastEndAlameda.com. CC Full Bar Reservations Wheelchair Accessible $$-$$$
CALIFORNIA — Gather’s new chef, Tu David Phu, is reimagining simplicity at this omnivore-friendly, fork-to-table restaurant where the menu changes daily. Tonight brought towering salmon tartare, dreamy South-of-France-style chickpea panisse, a chilled-corn bisque, and a wonderwork of fruit, nuts, bread, and cheese. This is fare that’s not crazy-fancy-complicated but breathtakingly simple, complexly simple. That is mastery: to take basics, deconstruct them, re-examine them, revere them, and then reimagine them with impressive expertise, Phu’s forté. “The simpler a dish is, the more complicated it can be to make and serve,” he says, carrying the proviso to what comes out of his kitchen, from pizza and fried green tomatoes to seasonal ratatouille. It’s a welcome pleasure in an era when so many chefs overuse butter, sea salt, duck fat, ghost peppers, cream, and the like. Phu’s dishes are so subtly flavored as to fill one with (a) relief and (b) reverence for his restraint. Serves dinner daily, 5-9:30 p.m.; weekday lunch 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m.; and weekend brunch 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m. 2200 Oxford St., Berkeley, 510-809-0400, www.GatherRestaurant.com. CC Beer and/or Wine, Reservations Wheelchair Accessible $$-$$$$
CAFÉS AND COFFEEHOUSES — In the mood for something basic? This neat Emeryville addition, tucked into the Bakery Loft developments on Adeline Street, has you covered, a.m. and p.m., with a picturesque patio to boot. There are scones, muffins, bagels, and cookies for the morning grab-and-go set. For sticking around, the repast is as simple as yogurt, oatmeal, and fruit or as complex as buttermilk fried chicken, classic benedict, and huevos rancheros for breakfast. Sandwiches, flatbreads, soups, pasta, and salads, as well as sweet treats, make this cute little café, where you swig coffee or wine and beer, a sweet spot for lunchtime or afternoon socializing or for even getting a little work done. Serves breakfast and lunch only Tuesday, Wednesday, and Sunday; serves dinner Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. 50000 Adeline St., Emeryville, 510-547-1466, www.BasicCafe5000.com CC Beer and/or Wine Reservations Wheelchair Accessible $-$$
AMERICAN — For too long, Oakland Hills residents have had to settle for what we could call “Montclair good,” which Chowhaus eclipses. Food-and-drink-wise, Chowhaus is the best thing to happen to the Village in a long time, thanks to offers like tacos stuffed with crispy pork belly and beautifully executed salads of watermelon, cantaloupe, ribbons of fatty tasso ham, padron peppers, and queso fresco. A Chowhaus is akin to the roadhouse chop bars of West Africa and the gasthäuser of Germany, both important as community gathering places. This Chowhaus could become that for Montclair with its convivial space and startling variety of food based on locally sourced, seasonal ingredients and “haus”-made everything else. This is a place for serious eating and snacking—with an added sophisticated but whimsical approach to comfort food. Serves 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Tue.-Sat. and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. 6118 Medau Place, Oakland, 510-339-3995, www.ChowhausOakland.com CC Full Bar Reservations Wheelchair Accessible $$-$$$
Analog Suds & Grub
VEGAN & VEGETARIAN — Healthy vegan and vegetarian options in downtown Oakland until 2 a.m. with good beer. What a concept—and one we love! Analog offers a well-rounded selection of hefty sandwiches on Acme bread, priding itself on using ingredients from local purveyors, including Woods Bar & Brewery, Hella Vegan Eats, Dough & Co., 13 Moon-Saloon, and Timeless Coffee, or making them in house. The sandwich lineup includes sometimes not-so-immediately recognizable creations, like the Italian Stallion, which is an Italian sub, and a Reuben that really tastes like pastrami. Analog is sure doing cool stuff with seitan, tofu, and other vegan staples. The space is small, dark, and nothing to write home about, but look around and do stick your nose into the VHS selection, the 45s in the jukebox, and the Nintendo, a nod to technology gone mostly by the wayside. Serves 5-10 p.m. Monday and 12 p.m.-2 a.m. Tuesday-Saturday, unless Analog runs out of bread, which happens too often. 414 14th St., Oakland, 510-858-5964. www.AnalogOakland.com CC Beer and/or Wine Wheelchair Accessible $$