The idea behind Box and Bells, chef-restaurateur James Syhabout’s third restaurant in Oakland, is a simple one: He wanted to create a place that would serve the kind of super-rich, indulgent, meat-centric food that chefs cook for each other, and that they like to eat on their days off. As such, the restaurant definitely isn’t a place for calorie counters. Take Syhabout’s award-worthy fried chicken dish, a riff on Japanese karaage served with raw oyster mayonnaise, which provides decadent richness and an echo of the sea in every bite. Or the eight-ounce petit filet: an absurdly tender steak smothered with a tangy, umami-packed crayfish béarnaise — layers upon layers of fat and flavor. Even the vegetable dishes came topped, variously, with fatty meat drippings and inch-thick bacon lardons. Our advice? Have a light lunch. Go for a run. This isn’t the kind of restaurant where you’ll want to exercise restraint.
Hours: Wed.-Thu. 5:30-10 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 5:30-10:30 p.m., Sun. 5-9:30 p.m., Sat.-Sun. 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m.