Tuesday, November 24, 2009
B - A Second Letter Can "Be" First Rate!
Last week the BH and I found ourselves on our usual "lunch block" - an intersection that offers a choice of many of our favorite haunts, where we can simply let the mood strike us as we walk and just pick one. Today we picked B. B was one of the earliest additions to this revitalized part of Old Oakland and in its original form it proffered soups, salads, sandwiches and roast chicken. The menu was reliable but not terribly inspiring.
We hadn't been in maybe ten months, and I have to say that on this return visit I was delightfully surprised to see the revamped menu. There were all sorts of new additions --- cheese plates, mixology, and wonders, oh my!
Drinks. Two, please. My husband's drink, the Paloma, of course, was a refreshing combination of Tequila and fresh grapefruit juice. The cocktail was well-blended and he loved it. Mine was called a "Love On" and it was this lovely combo of Skye vodka, pineapple juice and a fluffy cloud of Raspberry puree floating on top, with a lovely cherry-red heart staring up at you. It was sweet, almost a little too much, but overall I enjoyed it. And it was so so pretty!
We began with a Cheese Plate, choosing the Marin Triple Cream and the Manchego. We also had one of the charcuterie selections, a Sopressata from Fra Mani of Berkeley. I thought the portions were sufficiently generous, not as big as Franklin Square used to provide, but not the table scraps served up at some places. We both enjoyed the selections, finding them all mouth-watering good.
For lunch I ordered the Pear Salad with Chicken. As you can see from the picture, the slices of chicken were generous, basically a whole chicken breast sliced over fresh greens. The greens , pear and walnut of the salad itself was lightly dressed with a really tasty champagne vinaigrette and overall the dish was perfection. Just what I was looking for. The chicken meat was moist, but not underdone, and had a lovely savory taste to it that may have been from their wood ovens.
My better half had the Mussels with House Made Sausage, White Wine Sauce and Crostini. They looked delicious and he seemed to enjoy them. I tasted a bit of the sauce on some bread and it was balanced and seasoned well. Success!
We needed to get back to work, so we passed on dessert. Overall, we were thrilled to discover what felt like an entirely new restaurant. Attention to detail, variety of offerings, all of it up to date and well-executed.
Check it out and Bon Appetit!
499 9th Street
Oakland, CA 94607
Table size: adequate
Dining time: Lunch hour do-able
Noise level: moderate to a bit loud, but didn't bother us. Sound levels never got "echoey" or unnerving.
Cost: moderately pricy