Brunch Time At The Incomparable Clove and Hoof
What’s better than a neighborhood artisan butcher shop that takes care to sell sustainably raised beef, pork, lamb, chicken, rabbit, and duck?
One that also spotlights its prime products in delicious dishes for brunch, lunch and dinner.
Clove and Hoof in Oakland is such a place. The light-filled, hip butcher shop and restaurant is owned by John Blevins and Analiesa Gosnell. It’s the kind of place you wish every neighborhood could be so lucky to have.
The casual spot gets crowded at brunch, so be warned that you may have to wait in line. My husband and I lucked out when we arrived on a Sunday morning, right before the crowds. You order at the counter, find a seat, and wait for the food to be brought out to you.
The C&H signature burger ($14) is a whopper, weighing in with two four-ounce patties, caramelized onion jam, pimento cheese, chopped romaine, bread and butter pickles, and pickle mayo — all wedged inside a soft potato pepper bun.
Be sure to get plenty of napkins because this is a dripper — loaded with deeply beefy juices.
The fries ($5) are not only hand-cut but fried in beef fat for extra flavor. They are the perfect balance between thick and thin, and full of crunch. Pickle mayo comes on the side to dunk in, but ketchup is also available at the front counter.
The fried chicken and waffles ($14) here has to be one of the most inventive around. The boneless thigh is super juicy with a fish sauce caramel drizzled over. The tender, crisp waffle wafts with the scent of lemongrass. A smidge of foie gras butter and smoked curry maple syrup are unexpected flavor bombs, as is the cilantro and persimmon sprinkled over the top.
Yup, I can’t say that I’ve ever had a breakfast waffle garnished with cilantro before. But this dish is definitely more savory than sweet, which is actually a very nice change of pace from all too many saccharine brunch offerings.
This is food that’s full of brash flavor and color.
And when you’ve enjoyed the last bite, do check out the butcher counter. We ended up not only paying the tab for our brunch, but also buying a 1.9-pound bone-in aged rib eye at $26 per pound to take home. Blevins ages the beef — even the ground stuff — for 35 days before he sells it.
With salt and pepper, it went on the grill, emerging smokey, with a concentrated beefy taste that lingered on and on.
If only this place were in my ‘hood, I’d be a regular for sure.
More Places To Check Out in Oakland: Duende
And: Ici Ice Cream
And: Itani Ramen