Beer lovers, and lovers of food that goes well with beer, take note: The Dock at Linden Street (95 Linden St., Oakland), the highly anticipated collaboration between James Syhabout (of Commis, Hawker Fare, and Box & Bells) and Linden Street Brewery's Adam Lamoreaux, finally opened for business on Tuesday, June 3.
Located next door to Linden Street Brewery, the business is divided into two parts: The Beer Shed — a super-casual beer garden with indoor and outdoor communal seating and a limited menu of bar snacks — and The Dock, a 65-seat sit-down restaurant. As an added boon, there's also a parking lot with room for seventy cars.
The building sits in a sparsely developed section of West Oakland that Syhabout calls the "new frontier." In the 1890s, the building apparently served as a loading dock for the Westinghouse Electric Corporation, helping to power the entire East Bay. Today, the nearby Port of Oakland — where shipping containers arrive from locations as far-flung as Japan, South Africa, and Peru — is a fitting symbol of Oakland's diversity.
Syhabout said he wanted the food at The Dock to speak to that melting pot of cultures. "Every country you go to, no matter where you are in the world, there's food that goes with beer," he said. "That's how I approached the menu. It's a collage of international flavors that pair well with beer."
So the menu offers soft-shell crab sandwiches; jerk chicken wings; popcorn that tastes like Caesar salad; and pumpernickel-crusted onion rings served with a sour cream, dill, and caviar dip — a beer-friendly twist on a cocktail-party canapé. Yakitori-style corn on the cob, served with miso, nori butter, and togarashi (chili pepper), is a nod to Japanese izakaya fare. A dish Syhabout has dubbed the "falafel waffle" — chickpea batter cooked in a waffle iron rather than fried, and served with Merguez sausage, lebni (strained yogurt), and an herb salad — points toward the Middle East.
Syhabout has tapped Raiden Brenner, the sous chef at Box & Bells, to head up the kitchen, but the restaurant's globally inspired opening menu — every item on which is set to cost less than $20 — is mostly Syhabout's creation. All of the dishes are designed to be shared, and many are meant to be eaten with your fingers.
Beer-wise, there are ten taps — all local brews curated by Lamoreaux — and two seasonal cask beers that Lamoreaux will create in collaboration with the chef. Christ Aivaliotis, the bar manager at Box & Bells, created the cocktail program, which features thoughtful beer-and-shot combinations and $40 punch bowls that are big enough for four to six people to share.
Berkeley's Norikonoko (2556 Telegraph Ave.), a tiny, charming Japanese restaurant that was shut down by a fire last October, is finally ready to reopen.
Owner Noriko Taniguchi said she's aiming to open officially by the middle of June, but the restaurant will likely have a quiet soft opening in the next week or two.
According to Taniguchi, Norikonoko looks "brand new" after a fresh paint job, but the restaurant's homey atmosphere — including all the little tchotchkes that she has collected over the years — will remain the same.
The home-style Japanese cooking will stay the same, too, though the menu will be pared down. Taniguchi and her husband, Takumi, are eliminating most of the robata grill items and about half of the small-plate options. But all of the most popular items — the ramen, the udon, the pork curry, the onigiri (rice balls) — will still be available. Also, about 90 percent of the new menu will be gluten-free.
"We want to concentrate on the true Japanese taste," Taniguchi said.
Soccer and Salumi
East Bay soccer fans hoping to take in this summer's World Cup matches at a local watering hole won't need to settle for cheap beer and generic chicken wings. Acclaimed salumeria Adesso (4395 Piedmont Ave., Oakland) recently announced that it will screen all 64 games of the month-long tournament, which kicks off at 1 p.m. next Thursday, June 12, when Brazil takes on Croatia.
Manager Chad Downs said the restaurant will be open special hours in order to screen the games, whose start times range from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Adesso will feature a special menu for the occasion: two sandwiches (meatball or sausage and a vegetarian option) and a $4 Linden Street Brewery draft beer, plus the restaurant's usual selection of salumi, pâtés, salads, and Roman-style pizzas. There will also be match-specific cocktail specials — so, for instance, when Brazil and Mexico square off, customers can get festive with $7 margaritas and caipirinhas.
The US Men's National Team's opens its campaign against Ghana at 3 p.m. on Monday, June 16. Downs said he's keeping his fingers crossed that the squad will defy all odds to make it out of the so-called "group of death" and into the second round of play — just in time for Adesso's Fourth of July barbecue.