New restaurants continue to pop up throughout Oakland and Berkeley this month, with a hearty dose of comfort food and a charitable restaurant component on the hustle bustle of Telegraph Avenue—kudos that the effort is from a Bay Area native son.
Craft cocktails are an integral part of the dining experience at a new Grand Lake spot from chef Charlie Hallowell – all the better when paired with wood-fired grilled items and flatbread (and definitely no pizza!). Penrose has been a closely watched project, and Hallowell has his share of food and booze fans. There’s also a new Korean-Japanese spot in the hot-as-ever Temescal, meaning you can score that order of hwe dub bap and curry ramen in one fell swoop, gobble gobble.
In the Grand Lake area, chef Charlie Hallowell opened his third restaurant Penrose which has fine cocktails and wood-grilled friendly fare: fish, meat (bone-in ribeye), and seasonal veggies (Brussels sprouts that are already becoming legendary). Hallowell’s ever-popular Boot & Shoe Service may be across the way, but this venture does not have a pizza focus—flatbreads are the closest thing you’ll find. Raw beef and lamb are presented via carpaccio and tartare method and there is also varying seafood crudo. Cate Whalen is GM slash bar manager, and the drinks are reportedly strong and aplenty. Take the party elsewhere on one day of the week: for now, Penrose is closed on Tuesday and does not accept reservations. 3311 Grand Ave., Oakland; (510) 444-1649.
Pizza is definitely part of the fun and spirited scene at the Italian-themed Trabocco restaurant at the South Shore Center in Alameda. Look for fresh pasta and risotto dishes, antipasti, seafood, insalate and wood-fired NY steak, herb-y half chicken, and a hearty pork chop. 2213 South Shore Center, Alameda; (510) 521-1152.
The ever-morphing Temescal dining scene has a new kid on the block in the form of Copan, where Korean-Japanese favorites round out the menu: think hwe dub bap (korean sashimi salad), fried dumplings, pork katsu, flour noodle tofu soup, bibimbap and ramen. The restaurant is run by Micha Oh and the team behind Ohgane, and is in a building that housed Sura, the Korean BBQ restaurant. Murals have been added to the refreshed décor and the drink scene is a beer and wine affair. 4869 Telegraph Ave. at 48th St., Oakland.
Berkeley’s Telegraph Avenue has a new 50-seat all day comfort food option in the way of Bleecker Street Bistro, which is in the old Ann’s Soup Kitchen & Restaurant space—a popular post-study hang for Cal students through the years. The new restaurant is from chef and Bay Area native Jason Kwon, known for his culinary prowess at Joshu-ya Brasserie. Salivate at a wood-topped country farm table over Kwon’s buttermilk fried chicken for dinner, with other options ranging from country-style meatloaf sandwich to gourmet burgers and beer-battered fish tacos. Fresh bread daily is standard and fair trade coffee is the house brew, with an added feel-good bonus of knowing 10% of the eatery’s receipts are donated to build orphanages via Build Hope International. 2498 Telegraph Ave., Berkeley; (510) 692-6938.