A brunch and a dinner at Nido in Oakland

by foodhoe on March 8, 2015

444 Oak St Oakland, CA   | (510) 444-6436 | website


Mr. K and I recently discovered Nido Kitchen & Bar in Oakland, located in an industrial area west of 880 on the edge of Jack London Square.  Its bright colors welcome you into the whimsical interior that combines raw and finished materials: the bar and planters are made from reclaimed wood and pieces of corrugated shipping containers hang on the walls, and on the wall behind the bar are beautiful handpainted tiles from Mexico.


Sylvia McCollow established Nido (which translates to Nest in Spanish) in 2013 in an area that has an increasing number of excellent restaurants opening (I’m so glad to see this area finally gaining momentum). McCollow takes her mother’s traditional Mexican recipes and interprets them with a farm-to-table philosophy.  In this article she says that she is a home cook and not a trained chef, although she had a brief internship at Chez Panisse after moving to the Bay Area and deciding to open a restaurant.   She and her co-chef, Jose Ramos, formerly of Nopalito in San Francisco, serve a seasonally changing menu of dishes common to Mexican cuisine using her family’s recipes and inspiration from Mexico’s central and Pacific coast.  Locals and critics alike have embraced Nido, it made it onto the SF Chronicle’s list of top 100 restaurants in the Bay Area last year, as well as being recommended by the 2015 Michelin guide.


Last week we got there early to beat the lines for brunch and enjoyed a refreshing Michelada ($7) Mexican beer topped w/ house-made tomato mix, lime and the glass was rimmed with a spicy mixture of dried chilies and salt.  They have two styles, one made with Pacifico and the other with Victoria beer, we tried one of each and both were delicious, kind of like fizzy bloody mary’s.


We shared a bowl of Pozole de Chile Negro y Pollo, a seductive soup made with chile pasilla negro, pulled chicken and purple hominy cooked from scratch.  It comes with a bowl of thinly sliced cabbage, radish, onion, chunks of avocado, minced chile and jalapeño to mix into the soup, and a wedge of lime which makes the flavors crackle.


It’s a soul satisfying bowl, full of flavor, the fresh crunchy vegetables provide excellent textures.


Rolled up in brown paper is a warm housemade tortilla that is tender and deliciously corny.


I cannot resist Chilaquiles when I see them on the menu, and so I chose the Chilaquiles Parranderos ($16), which our server said roughly translates to chilaquiles for the reveler, which helps one recover after a night of partying.  It was kick-ass, one of the best plates of chilaquiles I’ve encountered.  The triangles of fried corn tortilla were still crispy and coated in a spicy roasted tomato-habanero sauce, topped with crumbled queso fresco, avocado and onion, the creme fraiche was served on the side.  The magnificent chilaquiles were flanked by slices of grilled flank steak and two fried eggs which were cooked just how we like them, the golden yolks are oozy but not too runny, adding velvety richness to the chilaquiles and steak.


Mr. K ordered the Entomatadas con Huevo Estrellado ($10), a plate of fried eggs, corn tortilla, fried black bean, queso fresco, cream fresca, onion & salsa de chile morita.  We hailed a woman over to ask about the chile morita and it was Sylvia McCowell herself.  Although she didn’t introduce herself at the time, she explained that the chile morita is a smoked jalapeño, much like a chipotle but red and more fiery. The morita is red because if a jalapeño is left on the vine long enough it will eventually turn red, much like tomatoes start out green and then turn red.  Nestled underneath the spicy tomato based sauce were three crispy fried corn tortillas filled with cheese, reminiscent of enchiladas, but different.  It was an outstanding combination, the black refrito beans mixed in with the runny egg yolks and the delicious entomatadas.


I had an online deal for dinner too, so I’ll share that meal here too.  We got there around 6ish and there was already a small crowd in line before us.


At night the strung lights add a festive air and draws your attention to the beautiful mural on the rear wall of the dining room.


We only had to wait about 10 minutes for a table and were seated at a cozy two-top in the middle of the room.  Mr. K ordered the Enselada Cesar ($10), a lovely salad composed of hearts of romaine, avocado, toasted pepitas, bread crumbs, cotija de cabra & meyer lemon vinaigrette.  It was a little spicy and super flavorful.


It was cold so we shared a steaming bowl of Caldo Xochitl ($7) chicken soup, snow peas, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, carrot, avocado, rice, queso fresco and spicy chipotle adobado.


I ordered the Asado de Bodas ($29) from the daily special menu, tender slow cooked pork that has been stewed with ancho chile, orange zest and spices, served with azufrado beans, favagreens, rice, avocado, queso fresco, onion, and serrano chile.  The pork was lusciously tender and infused with mouthwatering flavors, everything on the plate was so delicious.

nico chicken

Mr. K had the Pollo Sobado con Mole Negro ($23), a half chicken that has been rubbed with ground chiles moritas and other spices, then roasted until juicy and succulent, cooked in an amazing Oaxacan black mole sauce with carrot, and chubby dumplings made from blue ballet squash and topped with epazote.  This dish made #6 on the 7X7 list The Big Eat Oakland: 50 Dishes to eat before you die with good reason… I’m still drooling over that mole sauce.


We enjoyed both meals and are definitely returning to check out the seasonal offerings at dinner and of course for their fantastic breakfast dishes.

Nido on Urbanspoon

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

grace March 10, 2015 at 10:10 am

oh, man, i love this kind of food! so jealous of BOTH of your meals.


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