Thursday, February 11, 2016

Mid-Week Menu: Antoinette Opens, Hawker Temporarily Suspends Lunch Service, and Blue Bottle Launches New Food Menu

By Luke Tsai
Thu, Feb 11, 2016 at 11:58 AM

click to enlarge Dominique Crenn (via Facebook). - ED ANDERSON
  • Ed Anderson
  • Dominique Crenn (via Facebook).
Welcome to the Mid-Week Menu, our roundup of East Bay food news.

1) Earlier this week, Dominique Crenn, the latest big gun to hit the East Bay restaurant scene, unveiled her first project on this side of the bay, Eater reports. Located inside the newly rebranded Claremont Club & Spa (in the former Paragon spot), Antoinette (41 Tunnel Rd.) aims to be a French brasserie with a luxurious bent (not to mention an amazing panoramic view of the bay). And whoa if the opening night menu — posted here by Inside Scoop — doesn’t have some seriously eye-popping dishes: roasted monkfish tail for $95? A whole duck with foie gras and abalone mushrooms — meant to serve three to four — for $200? The brasserie also offers versions of French classics such as coq au vin ($29) and salade Lyonnaise made with mangalitsa lardo ($15).

Crenn, best known for her Michelin two-starred restaurant Atelier Crenn, drove the concept and designed the menu. But chef de cuisine Justin Mauz, another fine-dining vet, will be the one running the kitchen at Antoinette day-to-day.

2) Good news and bad news for lunchtime regulars at Hawker Fare (2300 Webster St., Oakland): Inside Scoop reports that the Uptown Oakland rice bowl slinger will temporarily suspend lunch service while chef James Syhabout uses the kitchen there to work on developing recipes for his upcoming Hawker Fare-themed cookbook. The silver lining is that in the coming month, he’ll host a “pop-up lab” lunch at the restaurant each Friday, starting on February 26. On a first-come, first-serve basis, customers will be able to buy a single dish cooked by Syhabout himself — whatever recipe he happens to be working on that week.

click to enlarge New food offerings at Blue Bottle.
  • New food offerings at Blue Bottle.
3) Having ended its short-lived partnership with Tartine Bakery, Blue Bottle is now expanding its food menu on its own, Eater reports. For now, the only East Bay location offering the new menu — which includes more substantial dishes such as Belgian waffles, eggs and cauliflower on Firebrand toast, and a breakfast sandwich — is the W.C. Morse location at 4270 Broadway in Oakland.

4) Berkeleyside Nosh has a profile of SoDoI (“So do I”), a self-styled coffee “tasting house” that recently opened near campus in Berkeley’s Telegraph Channing Mall.

5) Elsewhere in Berkeley, Endless Summer Sweets (2370 Shattuck Ave.) is open, Inside Scoop reports. The restaurant specializes in foods you’d normally find at the county fair — funnel cake, corn dogs, and so forth. That means that along with The Snack Shack — the subject of my review this week — there are now two restaurants that prominently feature corn dogs in the vicinity of the U.C. Berkeley campus. 

6) Preserved, a popup store for the DIY food crowd, has announced that it will be opening a permanent brick-and-mortar shop in Temescal — at 5032 Telegraph Ave., in a space next door to Bakesale Betty formerly occupied by a hair salon and women’s clothing store. The new shop will open on March 4.

7) Hopsy, the Albany-based beer growler delivery service, has now added on-demand delivery — via the Caviar food delivery service — for a limited selection of its craft beer offerings.

8) Here’s an unconventional Valentine’s Day event: a CUESA-sponsored tour of three prominent grain-centric businesses in the East Bay.

9) Finally, this week I wrote about Oakland’s new draft proposal for a city-wide mobile food policy that would greatly expand the areas where your favorite food truck or churro cart would be allowed to operate.

Got tips or suggestions? Email me at Luke (dot) Tsai (at) EastBayExpress (dot) com. Otherwise, keep in touch by following me on Twitter @theluketsai, or simply by posting a comment. I'll read ‘em all.

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