|Beer. They have Beer!|
Yesterday I had the pleasure of dining again at Hawker Fare, James Syhabout’s recent addition to Oakland’s gloriously vibrant dining scene. The magic in the kitchen is wonderfully realized by Chef Justin Yu, ably assisted by Sous Kelly Ng and Josh Brigham.
I’ve been to Commis, his inaugural effort that managed to garner Oakland its very first Michelin Star. (Score one for Oaktown). Imagine my delight when I heard the genius behind this premier establishment was opening a “Thai street food” venture in my own backyard. (Hawker Fare is on Webster Street in Oakland, right on the corner of Webster and 23rd). I quite literally work right across the street. I am soooo lucky.
|Green Beans sauteed in bacon and |
sprinkled with sweet chili paste.
|Mussels in magic broth|
They’ve added beer to the menu!!!, so I had a Singha with my lunch and BH had the vanilla creme soda.
The BH had the Mussels Starter. The crustaceans themselves were moist and beautifully seasoned, floating in a creamy broth that resembled thom kha gai (chili coconut broth, lemongrass, mint, cilantro). It was a blissfully well prepared version of one of his favorite all time treats. If you’ve ever tried mussels, you know it’s all about the broth. The tiny mouthfuls of seafood, the bread, all have to be dipped in the broth. When the broth is ambrosia, well that’s what makes the dish good.
BH had one of his Hawker usuals, the Beef Short Rib done “satay” style, with a coconut milk marinade and then grilled. Its got a lovely savory peanut sauce and a few grilled scallions to balance it out. He loves it. I’ve tasted it, and I heart it too.
|Isn't she lovely?|
and she tasted GREAT!
This is a first rate eatery. The staff is helpful, knowledgeable about the food, and very professional. Diners will get "Commis" treatment and brilliantly prepared simple fare, all on a fast casual budget. We ordered half the menu, including drinks and the bill was just about $50 with tip. Ordinarily we can get out of Hawker without spending more than $30 for lunch. Now that’s a good deal.
I say go for yourself. Check it out, bring a loved one or a good friend, and make a memory of your own.
2300 Webster Street
Oakland, CA 94612
Phone: (510) 832-8896
Owner: Chef James Syhabout
Exec. Chef Justin Yu
Table size: adequate
Noise Level: If I could come up with any criticism, it is that the music is too loud for those of us who have any hearing loss. But they are lovely about seating us away from the speakers.
Postscript: Everyone knows the first rule of credible journalism is impartiality in reporting. One is not supposed to have any interest in the facts falling one way or another. A good writer will report those facts and let the reader come to his or her own conclusions. Sadly, these days anyone who is remotely aware must recognize that internet journalism often isn’t journalism at all. When you are reading articles about food and restaurants, particularly those that purport to give you the valid opinions of others, consider the source. Yelpers are just as often trying to garner attention for themselves as they are trying to inform a diner about where to eat, or what that experience might really be like.
If sites like Yelp are to be at all useful (and I would argue that their use is limited at best, given that all contributors are encouraged to be funny or cool or smarmy, rather than insightful or informative). Remember that any good statistician will tell you to throw out your outliers. So negative quotes must be weighed against the majority. Just sayin’
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