Best Veggie Side at a Restaurant

Brussels Sprouts at Mockingbird

There are many, many things to love about the youngish Uptown Oakland bistro Mockingbird: The fancy-pants design aesthetic that belies its neighborhood-restaunt prices; the BYOB policy; the impossibly friendly waitstaff; the goddamn duck confit. But the best thing about the whole place is also one of the most surprising: its masterful treatment of a widely maligned, often afterthought-ed, entirely unsuspected vegetable. Chef Melissa Axelrod — an alumna of San Francisco's Delfina and Ottimista — takes a generous handful of fresh Brussels, fries them to crispy perfection, dusts with herbs, and serves them with a pungent blue cheese sauce and a bright lemon aioli. The result is salty, crispy, and intensely savory.

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