Two Top Chef alums serve up bold Spanish-inspired tapas at Shakewell in Oakland’s bustling Grand Lake neighborhood.
In the exhibition kitchen, a grand wood-burning oven steals the show and cooks up a house favorite: calamari negro (Bomba rice with squid ink, piquillo peppers, and pickled chiles, pictured above). Baked in clay pots, the dish is similar to paella.
Among the 12 classic and seasonally rotating cocktails, the Adonis (sherry, sweet vermouth, orange bitters, and lemon peel) is a bold, modern drink that goes down smooth.
Small, passable plates dominate the menu and encourage family-style dining. Opt for deviled quail eggs with pimentón and serrano ham (pictured here) or chef Biesty’s famous fried cod and potato croquetas.
A Higher Bar
With a gorgeous backsplash of Mediterranean wallpaper, the bar is Shakewell’s focal point. Couples mingle at the jam-packed communal table or lean against custom-designed bar stools while sipping housemade sangria. Spanish dance hits blast over the speakers.
The delectable braised pork shoulder is served with green tomatoes—an unexpected sour garnish—and carrot habanero sauce. Save room for dessert in the form of much-lauded churros and flan Catalan.
Tim Nugent is a busy man. As general manager, he chats it up in the dining room. Behind the scenes, he crafts such yummy pastry recipes as pecan sour-cream coffee cake. Meanwhile, chef Biesty churns out the savories, including octo-dogs (which are just what they sound like!) from Shakewell’s brunch menu. Next year, the duo plans to open a taqueria and tequila bar nearby on Lakeshore Avenue.
This article was published in 7x7's October 2014 issue. Click here to subscribe.