by Luke Tsai
Daniel Patterson’s Oakland outpost, Plum, is the latest local gastronomic darling to turn the attentions of its talented chefs — to say nothing of its sous vide immersion circulators and Pacojets — toward that most maligned of meals: the weekend brunch.
Anthony Bourdain, that curmudgeon of the culinary world, has written that restaurant brunches are “a dumping ground for the odd bits left over from Friday and Saturday nights” and “punishment block for the B-Team cooks.” Fortunately, the Bay Area is chock full of restaurants that fly in the face of that kind of thinking — Canteen in San Francisco and Oakland’s Camino immediately come to mind. And at Plum, where Chef Charlie Parker has been heading up the kitchen since December, the brunch menu is just two weeks old and perhaps a work in progress. But the food, already, verges on magical.
My wife ordered a side of bacon to eat with her French toast — and at Plum a side of bacon ($4) means two sizable slices of braised pork belly, redolent with Sichuan peppercorn. Coffee was $3 for a French press pot of Blue Bottle, which was plenty to keep the both of us adequately caffeinated for the course of our meal.
The best part about the brunch at Plum? For now, anyway, it seems you can walk in without a wait, though I doubt that lasts. Make no mistake: This might be the best brunch in Oakland.
Plum is open for brunch from 10am-2pm on Saturdays and Sundays. Reservations can be made through PlumOakland.com or by calling 510-444-7586. The restaurant is located at 2214 Broadway, Oakland.