Capone's Speakeasy Review: Handcrafted Libations and Modern American Small Plates (Alameda)

Capone's Speakeasy - Alameda

A visit to Capone's Speakeasy in Alameda is like traveling back in time to the Roaring Twenties. There's a vintage bar within a historic building with bank vaults from the 1920s and a wait staff dressed in flapper dresses, feather headbands and fedoras.

Capone's Speakeasy - Alameda

Patrick and I were invited to a hosted dinner to check out the menu and cocktails and we had a very nice time. General Manager Matt Lienhard, who previously worked at Eureka! in Berkeley, was kind enough to greet us and give me a quick tour of the place. The great handcrafted cocktails, mellow and casual vibe, and comforting food options left us quite happy. 

Before I start reviewing the food, here are four things you should know about Capone's: 

  1. The site that is home to Capone's Speakeasy is a locally historic structure that was built in 1888, expanded in 1920 and, until now, had been a bank.  There are some really cool bank vaults in there! 
  2. The menu is created by Chef King-Kostelac, a native of Kansas City who graduated from the California Culinary Academy. His professional experience includes stints at Town Hall Restaurant (San Francisco), California Cafe (Palo Alto), and Eureka Restaurant & Lounge (San Francisco).
  3. You can expect live entertainment in the form of a DJ or bands who specialize in swing, jazz and blues. 
  4. There's a dress code three days of the week from Thursday to Saturday evenings beginning at 7pm. 

The Cocktails

Capone's Speakeasy - Drinks

The cocktails are priced around $12 to $13 each, so it's a bit on the pricey side. Is it worth it? It really depends on what you get, but I can say that there wasn't a cocktail that we didn't enjoy on our visit. It's not easy to find sophisticated drinks that are nicely crafted in this area of the East Bay and Capone's Speakeasy does a great job at it with attention to detail. We tried three different drinks, all of which I'd recommend: 

  • The Alcatraz: Dickel Whiskey #12, Combier, Fresh Lemon Juice, Ginger Beer
  • Al Capone: Templeton Rye, Grand Marnier, Champagne, and Bitters
  • Blood and Sand: Johnnie Walker Red, Sweet Vermouth, Luxardo Cherry Puree, and Fresh Orange Juice

The Food

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Capone's Speakeasy - Artichoke

Carciofi Alla Giudia ($11)

The Roman artichokes were simply prepared but fantastic. The hearts were delicious and tender to bite, nicely fried.  

Capone's Speakeasy - Pork Belly

Sizzling Pork Belly & Seared Scallops ($20)

We really wanted to like this dish, but we thought the marinade on the pork belly was overpowering and the scallops were a bit fishy. The lettuce numbs the flavors down overall when eating it as a wrap, so we can't taste much of anything but vinegar, which I assume is a part of the marinade.  

Capone's Speakeasy - Sliders

Capone’s Sliders & Chips ($16)

The sliders were fine, but not something we'd order again because they were a bit on the dry side and we weren't feeling the dollop of blue cheese. However, the potato chips were amazing, thick and crispy. Possibly the best potato chips we've ever had at a restaurant and even better when paired with our favorite item on the menu - the mac and cheese. 

Capone's Speakeasy - Mac and Cheese

Mac and Cheese ($7)

The mac and cheese at Capone's is full of cheesy goodness and it's deliciously gooey, too. It's made with cavatappi pasta disguised as elbow macaroni at first glance, then dressed in American cheddar, gruyere, and parmesan bread crumbs.  Midway through the dish, a great idea rushed into my head. We took some of the potato chips that came with the sliders and used it to scoop up the mac and cheese to combine two good things into one. My goodness, it was an amazing combo! The thickness of those chips held the cheesy pasta very well, sort of like a fancy version of nachos. 

Capone's Speakeasy - Crumble

Crumble ($7)

I had to stop myself from finishing the entire crumble myself because it was so good. This wonderfully fragrant and warm cinnamon-bourbon crumble is full of butter and sugar. It definitely satisfied my sweet tooth. 


Final Thoughts

Capone's Speakeasy is a nice new addition to Alameda and I'm excited to see how they evolve. Our entire visit was complimentary, but we would return again during non-dress code hours (because a dress code isn't our style) to enjoy a few cocktails and to enjoy some mac and cheese and potato chips, which I hope they never take off their menu. 

Thanks for dinner and cocktails, Capone's! 


VISITING CAPONE'S SPEAKEASY

Location

1400 Park Street, Alameda, CA

Website

www.caponesspeakeasy.net

Hours

  • Tuesday to Wednesday: 4 p.m. to 11 p.m.
  • Thursday: 4 p.m. to 12 a.m.
  • Friday and Saturday: 4 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.
  • Sunday: 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Parking

Street parking is free after 6:00 p.m. and there are several nearby lots.

Phone

(510) 522-2391

Capone's Speakeasy on Urbanspoon

Tasting Table's San Francisco Lobster Rumble 2014 presented by Lexus - Event Recap & Winner Announcement

Photo Credit: Aubrie Pick

Photo Credit: Aubrie Pick

Last night 8 different lobster rolls went claw to claw at Tasting Table's Lobster Rumble in San Francisco presented by Lexus. The moment we walked into the event pavilion located at Fort Mason, we were instantly greeted with humans dressed as lobsters walking around and a wonderful fragrance of buttery toasted bread. There were several stations set up where all the restaurants were passionately battling it out to win the title of the best lobster roll.

The idea of Lobster Rumble is to make your way through each station/restaurant to eat a lobster roll (or as many you want to your heart's desire since it is all-you-can-eat) and vote on which roll you think is the best. Thanks to Tasting Table I was able to attend and cover the event as media with friends, Sandy of Foodhoe, Christina of East Bay Dish, and Ben of Focus:Snap:Eat.

The Event Execution & Lines

Lobster Rumble SF - Fort Mason

I was impressed at how well the event was executed. The event team checked people in as soon as they lined up before the event began so attendees could get in as quickly as possible to feast. We were at the event as soon as the doors opened and were able to grab the lobster rolls without any -or much wait. It was maybe 1.5 hours into the event where we encountered lines for the last four stations, but that didn't take more than 5 to 7 minutes to get through.

The Lobster Roll Review

Here's what I thought about each of the 8 lobster rolls that I ate, ranked in order from favorite to least favorite:

Photo Credit: Aubrie Pick

Photo Credit: Aubrie Pick

Old Port Lobster Shack in Redwood City: I love the simplicity of their lobster rolls and the amount of  claws and lobster meat filling inside of a warm and toasty buttered bun. The lobster was lightly dressed in light mayo, salt, pepper and lemon. 

Farallon - Lobster Rumble

Farallon in San Francisco: My buttery goodness. I've never tasted a lobster roll so rich. It was absolutely delicious. I loved their unique dressing that consisted of mayo with celery seeds and arugula. You can bet that I'll be dining here soon! The bread to lobster ratio was a bit off as you can see, but the bread was so damn good that I didn't mind. 

Anchor & Hope - Lobster Rumble

Anchor & Hope in San Francisco: The lobster is very succulent with wonderful natural juices of the lobster preserved. The infusion of lobster roe sea salt was lovely and so was their delicious buttery toasted bread. Anchor & Hope is one of my favorite places to grab a lobster roll and this night just proved how much more I love them.

Photo Credit: Aubrie Pick

Photo Credit: Aubrie Pick

Willi's Seafood & Raw Bar in Healdsburg: I enjoyed the fresh nice chunks of lobster. They served it with garlic-butter, fennel, and a sriracha aioli. I thought the garlic-butter was a bit overpowering, but it was still a very delicious lobster roll that I would order. The bread to lobster ratio was perfect.

Waterbar - Lobster Rumble

Waterbar in San Francisco: Waterbar kept it simple with drawn butter and a side of chips and sweet pickles. It was a very tasty lobster roll.

Jack's - Lobster Rumble

Jack's Oyster Bar & Fish House in Oakland: The lobster roll at Jack's is served with a tarragon hollandaise sauce that made the lobster mixture a bit too wet, so the organic flavors of the lobster was lost. There was too much bread for the proportion of lobster given. I've had the lobster roll at Jack's a couple of times before and loved it but it wasn't represented as well at Lobster Rumble.

Franks - Lobster Rumble

Frank's Oyster House and Champagne Parlor in Seattle: I called this the potato salad of lobster rolls because that's how it tasted. It wasn't a traditional lobster roll but instead a lobster salad roll. I wasn't as impressed and felt like the lobster taste was lost in this mixture.

Photo Credit: Aubrie Pick

Photo Credit: Aubrie Pick

Local Mission Market in San Francisco: This one was very different and they considered it as a lobster kimchee banh mi. Unfortunately, I didn't get any lobster in my roll, so their roll ranks last place for me.

There was one roll station left that I didn't try because I was too full at this point and because it wasn't a lobster roll.

My Vote & The Winner

Photo Credit: Aubrie Pick

Photo Credit: Aubrie Pick

My favorite lobster roll in the Bay Area is made by Old Port Lobster Shack and my feelings were no different at the Lobster Rumble. I tried 8 lobster rolls and they were still my favorite, so my vote went to them. It was no surprise to me that Old Port Lobster Shack turned out to be the winner! Congratulations, Old Port Lobster Shack!

Making Room for Dessert

Biscuit Bender - Lobster Rumble

When we completed the lobster rolls feast, we moved on to the desserts!  The event ended sweetly with a scoop of delicious brown butter ice cream (one of my favorites) from Humphry Slocombe and a dreamy cinnamon bun biscuit from Biscuit Bender

Final Thoughts

Overall, I had a blast and there was never a time where I felt like the food was going to run out, so I was truly able to enjoy my time socializing with friends and people watching. To be able to indulge in this much lobster in one night was a dream come true. I hope Tasting Table runs this event next year so I can do it all over again.

Thanks so much for the invite, Tasting Table!

Be sure to check out Sandy's review and Ben's review of the event, too! 

First Look: Sachio's Ramen Shop! Review at Seismic Joint - Pier 15 (San Francisco)

Sachio's Ramen Shop! Seismic

Chef Sachio Kojima, known for Seaglass, has launched a new lunch-only ramen bar operating out of the Seismic Joint, located at Pier 15. I heard about this yesterday on Eater SF and immediately went to check it out today.

I arrived right when they opened at 11am and was pleased to see no line. I put in my order and received the ramen in less than 5 minutes.

Sachio's Ramen Shop!

The Ramen Review

Sachio's Ramen Shop! Shoyu with Chashu

Shoyu Ramen with Chashu ($9.50)

The ramen comes with two slices of thin pork, soft boiled egg, bamboo shoots, seaweed, green onions, green beans, and shitake mushrooms. The egg was lovely and the ramen noodles were tender to bite with a nice level of chewiness. The broth was enjoyable, but lacked seasoning and richness. The pork slices were thin, a bit on the dry side and lacking fat. The green beans didn't add much to the ramen experience, however the bamboo shoots and shitake mushrooms were sweet and flavorful.

Overall, I enjoyed it for what it was and I was very happy to try it, but I probably wouldn't go back unless I was in the area looking for something quick to warm me up.


Visiting Sachio's Ramen Shop!

The Menu

Sachio's Ramen Shop Menu

Hours

  • Tuesday - Friday: 11am-3pm 
  • Saturday - Sunday: 11am-4pm

Location

Pier 17, San Francisco, CA 94111