95 Linden Street, Oakland, CA | 510.338.3965 | website
I recently met my friends Christina of East Bay Dish and Brenda from Bites & Bourbon for drinks and some excellent snacks at The Dock, a newly opened collaboration between James Syhabout (of Commis Restaurant, Hawker Fare, and Box & Bells Eating House, who is Oakland’s only Michelin starred chef) and Linden Street Brewery’s Adam Lamoreaux who is known for his bespoke beers. The restaurant has the same address as the Brewery, and it was a bit confusing as to what was where. On the far left corner of the building is the Campovida tasting room which shares a common entrance to the 65-seat restaurant. The Beer Shed is on the far right side of the same building with indoor and outdoor seating and serving a limited bar snacks menu. The hostess cheerily pointed me in the direction of the cozy beer shed where I quaffed a refreshing Linden New Oakland Glow for a happy hour price of $4 which I greatly enjoyed.
We chose to sit outside to enjoy the lovely weather and to take advantage of the natural lighting for photographic purposes. From our table we could watch the mesmerizing flow of traffic going by on 880 and the huge loading cranes in the far, far distance.
This is the Linden Hop Candi ($7), which is stored in a cask. It was a golden elixir that had the faintest flavor of candied orange peel and caramel, with a strong herbal fragrance that wrapped itself around my taste buds.
Our server Erica was an absolute doll and was very enthusiastic about the menu. She skillfully helped guide us into committing to our order, as we were having a hard time deciding. She had bright red hair with a big black silk flower tucked behind her ear, and we envied the fine pen assortment in the pocket of her Dickies apron.
We unanimously voted on the Kohlrabi, Hearts of Palm Salad ($10) finely julienned, topped with bits of crisp pigs ear, peanuts, sambal, palm sugar. Crispy, crunchy, tart, salty, sweet and spicy, this hit all the right sensory spots.
Next we dove into the Fried Onion and Fennel Petals ($10), coated in a black lager and rye batter, caraway salt, dill, trout caviar dip. I was utterly transported, the crispy beer batter had a lovely airy crunch and I immersed myself in the sensation of fried onion and fennel petals. These are much easier to eat than rings, small enough so you don’t have to double dip, and the perfect shape to scoop up the incredible dip.
Yum, that dip was like a dream… cool rich creme fraiche, pungent dill and those gorgeous orange orbs that burst with briny abandon in your mouth. I am a lover of all things chips and dip related, this was filthy rich and kinda glamorous at the same time. Oh and did I mention that most of the items on the menu are meant to be shared and to be eaten with your hands…
Another dish we had to try was the Falafel Waffle ($13), an inventive twist where the chickpea batter is cooked in a waffle iron then topped with merguez sausage, lebni (strained yogurt), and garnished with pickled onion and dressed parsley. The dish was meaty and full of exotic spices and compelling flavors and textures but was a bit small to split three ways…
The Poached Egg Bordelaise ($13) had a lovely bouncy runny egg served with sliced and roasted sunchokes and trumpet mushrooms, which were a bit on the dry side. It was delicious, but I would have liked some kind of vehicle to put the delicious mixture on, say crackers or thin olive oil brushed bruschetta… At some point during the ensuing feeding frenzy, Christina said, Wait! What happened to the marrow? And indeed, we all stopped to ask the same question, then we remembered that it was in the vinaigrette… but the sad thing is that no one noticed.
Our lovely server Erica sold us on the Steamed Clams ($15) + rice ($2), which were cooked in a bacon, shoyu broth, with fresh kimchi, chrysanthemums, and garnished with garlic chive and arugula. I couldn’t stop scooping up spoonfuls of the savory broth, rooting around for the bits of bacon and clam.
We were still a little peckish and ordered the Linguica Corn Dogs ($10), big meaty chunks of spicy linguica covered with a sweet cornmeal batter and fried to a perfect burnished brown crisp. This came with taco truck escabeche (the ubiquitous pickled carrots, onions and jalapeño), and a zesty lime crema, although I would have been perfectly happy with mustard.
There was one dish that we all thought we could make at home, and were therefore less excited about – the Caramelized Cauliflower ($8) saffron honey, cured black olive vinaigrette, which was too sweet for my taste.
We originally were going to order a sundae, but our server Erica really impressed upon us that we needed to try something from the pastry menu. Also, Adam, the brewmaster had stopped by our table and also sang praises for the pastry chef who lives mere blocks away from the restaurant (I totally forgot her name…) I am unable to state which was my favorite, they both were rapturous manifestations of how to prepare summer fruit. Apricot Blueberry Frangipane Tart ($7), with apricot creme fraiche.
Strawberry Hibiscus Pie ($7) was topped with a scoop of vanilla bean kool whip, I loved the filling it was rich and creamy, an ethereal fruity custard that made my toes curl when I bit into the flaky crunchy crust.
and the soft serve ice cream ($2) just demands your attention… and complements everything!
Planters filled with lovely succulents abound.
The spacious dining room looked inviting and cozy.
We all agreed that the Dock was worth a return visit, I am partial to the west oakland location, for supporting local enterprises, but the food speaks for itself… inventive and delicious bar/finger food that really is a cut above the rest!