Rick Hackett and Meredith Melville, owners of Jack London Square’s Bocanova, have opened a new restaurant in the neighborhood. It’s called JACK’S OYSTER BAR & FISH HOUSE, and, as the name suggests, it’s all about seafood. Peter Villegas, whose previous experience includes La Mar and Campton Place, is the executive chef, and the menu includes classic seafood dishes like clam chowder, a lobster roll in a housemade pretzel bun (which we mentioned in this 7x7.com piece on new lobster rolls!), and fish and chips. There are also modern classics, like a charred octopus dish with potatoes and piquillo pepper, or squid ink carbonara with bone marrow. Non-seafood choices include a burger and T-bone steak. Take a look at the menu here.
There is a full bar, with a focus on refreshing drinks that play nicely with seafood—think tallboys like the herbaceous “Dill-icious” with blanco tequila, lime, St. Germain, cucumber, dill, and soda. The wine list features a large selection of sparkling wines from around the world, along with local wines on tap, and there is also a selection of local beers.
The space—from architect Michael Guthrie and interior designer Ann Rockwell—has seating for 100. There is a 20-seat raw bar, with custom seating from Berkeley’s Wooden Duck, and banquettes in the main dining area. A semi-private dining room is available for groups up to 36. A collage-style mural on the back wall celebrates Oakland’s waterfront, and outdoor seating offers a view of the bay. Hours are 11am-10pm daily, with reservations for dinner after 5:30pm. 336 Water St. at Franklin, Oakland, 510-271-7952.
Speaking of Jack London Square, it looks like a big new project will be landing there in October. It’s called PLANK and is a dining space and event venue clocking in at 50,000 square feet, indoors and out. It comes from Los Angeles-based Trifecta Management Group and will include entertainment like bowling, bocce ball, video games, and an outdoor beer garden. There will also be food options, offering a wide range of selections for many tastes. 98 Broadway at Embarcadero West, Oakland.
There’s a new hangout in North Oakland we’ve been tracking for quite awhile, CAFÉ UNDERWOOD, and we’re happy to report Dominick Scala has opened its doors. Scala is a former bartender from Dogwood and a freelance writer (hence the hat tip to the famed typewriter in the name), so he understands the kind of third place-meets-coworking space people seek.
There is great coffee from Highwire Coffee Roasters (and there’s also nitrogen-infused, cold-brewed coffee on tap—Scala says it comes out like Guinness, mmmm), Italian-influenced sandwiches, and a rotating selection of housemade and seasonal items like grits, frittata, baked pasta, eggplant Parm, and garbage bread (stuffed with meat and cheese), charcuterie and cheese plates, and yes, there’s WiFi. There will be plenty of outlets, and instead of having to leave your computer at your table to reorder (always a gambling or annoying moment when you have to pack up), servers will come to your table to take your order. And when it’s time to shut the laptop and hang with your friends, there’s quite a curated selection of local beers (including Ghost Town) and wine (like Donkey & Goat).
You’ll find indoor and outdoor seating, plus a mezzanine with rentable chair space (or you can book the entire mezzanine, which has room for about 20). There are many handcrafted touches, from the welding to the woodwork and tiles. Oh, and on the weekend, they had some live music in the evening, and served until 1am. Open Mon-Thu 7am-10pm, Fri 7am-1am, Sat 8am-1am, Sun 8am-5pm. 308 41st St. at Broadway, Oakland, 510-995-6660.
TAIWAN BENTO, the Taiwanese-style restaurant we reported on in June, is now softly open, until their Friday August 29th grand opening. They offer Taiwanese-style bento boxes, with options of proteins and sides. While they are softly open, the menu will be limited and the hours will be weekdays 11:30-2:30pm; once open, look for wider menu selections and expanded hours. 412 22nd St. at Boradway, Oakland, 510-250-9858.
If you’re looking for a fun Labor Day but don’t want to cook, check out the second annual Labor Day Barbecue at HOMESTEAD on Monday September 1st. The buffet-style menu includes baby back ribs, corn on the cob, potato salad, mixed greens, baked beans, and housemade popsicles for dessert. The buffet is $30 for adults and $15 for kids, with beverages available at the bar. Note that they accept cash only. 4029 Piedmont Ave. at Glen, 510-420-6962.
The interior at Jack’s Oyster Bar & Fish House. Yelp photo by Michael R.