ou won’t find a newish restaurant in Oakland more refreshingly free of conceptual pretense than Mockingbird, a modest enterprise on the western edge of Uptown. With a culinary lineage worthy of world-class humblebrag from wife-and-husband chef/owners Melissa Axelrod and William Johnson, who paid their culinary dues at high-profile San Francisco eateries, Mockingbird offers a homey but refined menu: Zuni-like roasted half chicken, steak frites, pork sugo, Spanish-influenced seafood fideos, and orecchiette pasta. We were impressed by the salads, duck liver mousse on lavash, and Brussels sprouts, and we can recommend the chicken pot pie, mini cheeseburgers, and seared pork tenderloin arrived. Ingredients and combinations change as frequently as a mockingbird’s tune, based on what Axelrod, Johnson, and Casey Mondry, who takes the lead in the kitchen, secure from the market and suppliers. Order just about any of the Italian-, Mediterranean-, and French-tweaked preparations of red meat, seafood, or foul, without hesitation. It’s a BYOB place, which significantly lowers the total bill. Serves dinner Tue.–Fri. 5:30 p.m.–10 p.m.