With so many independent restaurants to choose from in the East Bay, why drive to one in the Oakland hills in a fancy hotel?
Because at sunset the view is killer.
And it’s a chance to experience history.
You can’t miss the sprawling, castle-like structure when you glance toward the hills. It’s as imposing as it is impressive.
Even if you’re not splurging on a night’s stay at the luxury hotel, you can still enjoy a meal at the restaurant with its open kitchen, clubby atmosphere and bank of large windows.
Arwi Odense, hotel executive chef; Joey Hattendorf, Limewood executive chef; and A.J. Thalakkat, executive pastry chef, all joined the property less than two years ago.
A few weeks ago, while on business in the East Bay, I dined solo here, paying my own tab at the end, though, the chef brought out an extra dish for me to try.
Sit back with a Basil Smash ($16), a refreshing blend of Hangar One vodka, Saint Germain, basil, fresh blackberries, and lime that was like a sip of the garden.
Hamachi Crudo ($17) had an influence of Southeast Asia with its nuoc cham that added a vibrant salinity to the yuzu aioli accenting the slices of raw fish. A touch of crunch was provided by puffed wild rice.
Beet salads may be a dime a dozen these days, but the Roasted & Marinated Baby Beet Salad ($15) with whipped goat cheese got a nice jolt of muskiness from truffle vinaigrette. Puffed quinoa took the place of croutons. Instead of the sweetness of the beets taking over everything, there was a nice pronounced earthiness at the forefront.
The skin on the Wild King Salmon ($33) was text-book perfect, as crisp as a potato chip. The surprise of endive marmalade was a nice accompaniment that added a bitter-sweet jamminess.
At this time of year, who can pass up Spiced Pumpkin Toffee Pudding ($10) for a sweet finale? Not I. The moist cake, like a British steamed pudding, embodied autumn’s warm baking spices of cinnamon, cloves and allspice. The naval orange and mascarpone ice cream tasted just like a beloved creamsicle.
Best yet, unlike so many swank hotel restaurants in San Francisco, valet parking at this Berkeley institution is a mere $5.