Jack’s Oyster House, Oakland

by foodhoe on November 11, 2014

336 Water Street, Jack London Square, Oakland, CA  94607 | 510.271.7952 | website


Mr. K and I celebrated his birthday last week with a delicious and enjoyable seafood feast at Jack’s Oyster Bar in Jack London Square.  I was so excited when we heard that the owners of Bocanova were opening a new seafood restaurant in Jack London Square. You know I love the squishies from the sea.  The raw bar features a variety of oysters, clams, mussels, peel-and-eat shrimp and chilled lobster, and an array of dishes including crudos, ceviches, salads, sandwiches, and entrees.  Checkout the Seafood Bucket filled with oysters, clams, mussels, shrimp and lobster.


It is right next door to Bocanova, sharing the same awesome view, the same restrooms and even the pastry chef.  The beverage program features a full bar serving handcrafted cocktails, a selection of local wine and beer on tap, as well as bottled sparkling wines from all over the world.  The interior is casually elegant and cozy, since it was dark out and a bit chilly we opted to eat inside.


I loved the seafood themed artwork which was painted on the walls. On the back wall along the kitchen is a wheat-paste mural, created by Oakland designers Becky Carter and Michael de La Torre, with textured layers depicting sea creatures, constellations, and the respective Oakland-SF cityscapes connected by the bay bridge.


We began with oysters, we asked our server to make a selection of her favorites, and were introduced to our new favorite, the Shigoku (the four very round shells in between 6 and 9 o’clock).  Meaty and bright are words that come to mind, you must try these if you see them on the menu!  These were served with a trio of sauces: a classic mignonette (red wine vinegar, shallots and cracked black pepper), a spicy cocktail sauce with wasabi, and an incendiary orange sauce made with habanero peppers.  Mr. K liked the heat from that sauce in particular.


I noticed on their Instagram feed that they had fresh sea urchin, and managed to get the last order available.  A beauty isn’t it?


And this is what we were served.  Fresh live urchin ($26) covered in green apple celery goop.  And we could only find two pieces under all that mess and it was very bitter.


I had drooled over this lone shot on Yelp, and had envisioned a moment of sea urchin bliss… not green apple dessert…

Uni on squid ink cracker - drool...

photo from Yelp.com posted by Joanne D.

The meal instantly redeemed itself with the Kampachi Tiradito ($14) the thick slices of amberjack were velvety and richly infused with the citrusy yuzukosho, interspersed with crunchy thin slices of jalapeno peppers and gorgeous globes of briny trout roe that burst in your mouth like a kiss from the sea.  We wished there were more of the highly sought after crunchy rice crackers…



We loved the Pickled mackerel with red curry, yogurt and daikon radish, it was an intensely flavorful dish, an exciting merging of the flavors of Japanese (pickled mackerel and the daikon) and Indian (curry and yogurt) cuisine.


A refreshing iceberg salad with bacon, tomatoes, grapes, red onion and blue cheese.  Tasty and on the small side.


The Baked sardines with radish and salsa verde ($12) were dry and full of tiny bones.  We liked the flavors but not the textures and were glad this was served alongside the chowder.


Clam chowder ($9) with bacon, smoked potato, thyme, was richly flavored with a light texture and all of the vegetables were fresh and still had their original textures and flavors.


We were stuffed, but had to soldier on with dessert since it was Mr. K’s birthday!  Chocolate malted fudge cake with caramelized marshmallow, sans bananas ($8).  Small and intense but yummy, I loved the toasted marshmallow!


Here are photos of lunch we had last month when Mr. K’s uncle Gus came to visit.  We got there early and got to sit at the highly coveted patio, which I highly recommend –  the view is uplifting.


We split a dozen oysters, with 6 being the featured oyster of the day ($1.50 ea), for every oyster sold 25C will be donated to the watershed project


Seafood Salad ($15) with crab, shrimp, sea snails, calamari, beets, pickled tomato, brown garlic, lemon, olive oil.  This was beautifully presented and delicious, everything was tender and flavorful and tasted very good mixed with the thin slices of fresh vegetables in the light lemony dressing.

jacks - seafoodsalad

Dungeness Crab Cake ($14) was served with a delicious sweet corn puree, a small fresh corn salad, and a little bit of popcorn.  A fun and delicious presentation.


I had to order the Lobster Poutine ($15), which was crazy decadence in a bowl.  Gorgeous steak cut fries topped with chunks of lobster, bacon, scallions and mornay sauce sprinkled with ethereal shavings of dried bonito fish and sliced green onion.  It’s like Okonomiyaki poutine!


Mr. K and I split a small order of the Charred Octopus ($22)  which was served over roasted piquillo peppers, potatoes, pimento.  The tentacles were charred and blistered, adding a delectable texture and flavor


Casey and Gus each ordered the Maine Lobster Sliders ($21), which were served in housemade pretzel rolls and served with their excellent fries and a small bit of creamy jalapeno slaw.


I couldn’t resist ordering the Carrot Cake with Caramel Corn and popcorn ice cream ($8) for dessert.  It was fun to eat and had such interesting flavors.


I think I prefer lunch outside because it’s just so magical in the sun (and you can get the oyster of the day until 6 pm)!  The entire Jack London Square complex has finally turned the corner with enough new restaurant occupancy that it was positively bustling last Friday night!  For literally the past decade, we have watched the slow transition from ho-hum old-school chain restaurants (Tony Romas, TGIFridays, El Torito, Old Spaghetti Factory) to new and mostly local restaurants with exciting menus that feature local products and amazing talent in the kitchen (Lungomare, Forge Pizza, Haven, Bocanova, Miette’s Patisserie, the Plank and Jacks Oyster Bar).  There is a festive party atmosphere in the air and people were out having a good time.


Jack's Oyster Bar & Fish House on Urbanspoon

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Carolyn Jung November 12, 2014 at 9:05 pm

So glad to see Jack London Square reaching its potential with so many new tenants. It’s always been such a gorgeous spot. Sounds like now there’s even more of a draw than just the view. The food looks beautiful. But yes, don’t smother the fresh uni. That’s a crime. 😉


Jane November 13, 2014 at 6:55 pm

Happy birthday to Mr. K! Thank you for this most helpful post – I have a Groupon I’m dying to spend. Looks like I’m getting that lobster poutine!

BTW, there’s a 20% discount off local Groupon deals that ends tonight. Just in case you want to go a 3rd time. http://www.groupon.com/deals/jack-s-oyster-bar-fish-house


foodhoe November 13, 2014 at 8:33 pm

Hi Jane!

Excellent, I’m going to try for that discount! Super cool!


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