1915 San Pablo Ave., Oakland, CA | 510.788.6217 | website
I finally made it over to Hopscotch Restaurant in Oakland to check out their weekend brunch, which begins at 10:30 am. It is a cozy retro diner on the fringe of Oakland’s uptown neighborhood that serves modern American food with a Japanese sensibility and some badass and beautiful cocktails. Chef Kyle Itani studied at the CCA (now Cordon Bleu) and worked under Shotaro Kamio at Yoshi’s and Ozumo, and was selected as a Rising Star Chef in 2013 by the Chronicle, who also rated the restaurant with 3 stars. I had only been for happy hour once and to their epic Meatball popup last year and was really intrigued by the glowing descriptions of the whimsical interpretations of diner standards by chef Itani.
I’m an early riser so Mr. K and I got there right when they opened and we scored a bright window seat. Our server began by asking if he could start us with any cocktails. We considered this but went with coffee as we had errands to run and things to accomplish, sigh… When I saw the Yonsei Oyster ($5 ea) on the menu, which is a briny oyster topped with sea urchin, salmon roe drizzled with citrus soy ponzu, I ordered one for each of us. They are an unusual way to start breakfast, but really woke up our tastebuds and made us wish we had started off with cocktails and a platter of these.
I couldn’t resist ordering the Kimchi Fried Rice and Soy Sauce Eggs with a slice of pork belly ($16), the jidori eggs were cold but gorgeously jiggly and the exteriors were lip smackingly infused with soy. I’d go back for the eggs alone! The fried rice was full of crunchy kimchi and the comforting flavor of soy and a rich patina of oil that perfectly complemented the opulent eggs and the luxurious slice of pork belly. Super totally decadent and delicious.
Mr. K had the breakfast platter Veggie Scramble ($15) with shishito peppers, caramelized onions, manchego cheese and toast with green salad and served with cast iron skillet potatoes.
Oh my. Those potatoes were incredible, decadent and rich in a creamy sauce then topped with melted cheese and fresh chives. I helped Mr. K finish every single bit of those delectable taters.
They had a dessert menu, which I looked at but was so completely stuffed that sadly, I had to pass… I am definitely coming back for the fried chicken and burger and I love that their list of wines begins with the mantra, “I will not drink bad wine” repeated three times.
I can’t believe I waited so long, it was so good, so much better than anything I’d had in a long time and we go out for breakfast a lot. It was expensive though, close to $80 after tip and we didn’t have cocktails… And I can’t wait to go back!