Shakewell Review: A Must Visit for Brunch (Oakland)

I honestly can't believe that it has taken me this long to finally visit Shakewell, a cozy and stylish Mediterranean restaurant in Oakland that's been open for two years. Patrick and I were invited over for brunch on Sunday and we can't stop raving about all the outstanding food we ate. 

Their menu stands a part from your standard brunch spot with options like shakshuka (Moroccan baked eggs), falafel cakes, fried chicken and churros, smoked salmon flatbread, and my favorite mushroom toast with red hawk and truffles. If you're a traditionalist, you'll be happy to see typical options as well from local bagels from Authentic Bagel Co. to eggs, bacon and crispy potatoes. Patrick and I shared three dishes and loved them all: 

A visit to Shakewell is worth it for this mushroom toast alone. It is one of the best things I've ever put into my mouth. Rich and indulgent mushroom toast with funky creamy and oozy red hawk cheese, Himalayan truffles, melted leeks, and chives. Each bite is full of bold flavors. It's buttery, nutty and subtly sweet from the melted leeks and caramelized mushrooms. It is to die for. 

So many places offer chicken and waffles, but I've never seen any place offer chicken and churros. You'll want to order this because it's pretty remarkable. The chicken breast is marinated in yogurt, rubbed in spices then deep fried. Served with crispy airy churros that have just the right amount of dough in the middle, drizzled with a sweet buttermilk syrup. I only wish I had more buttermilk syrup to dunk my churros in. Also, you should know that I absolutely hate chicken breast, but their breast was so freakin' moist that I couldn't help myself from loving it

The mac and cheese is cheesy, gooey, and creamy. Full of rosemary ham, brussels sprouts, bechamel and parmesan, topped with crumbs and scallions. It's well worth the food coma that put me to sleep. 

I must not forget to mention their cocktail options. I absolutely loved my mango-passion agua fresca (really was more of a spritzer) and Patrick loved his Lakeshore Cooler, a concoction of hanson cucumber mint organic vodka, cocchi americano, lime, and dill syrup. 

Shakewell makes the kind of food that we both love to eat and are willing to travel for. Simply fantastic food with bold flavors, beautiful and bright spacious dining room with quick and friendly service to boot.

Shakewell is truly one of the best brunches I've had in Oakland. I can't wait to come back for more, especially for dinner (their wood-oven paella sounds incredible!). 

By the way, Shakewell is offering some awesome weekday deals:

Family Style Tuesdays: Served every Tuesday night, the Fried Chicken Dinner feeds four to six people, and includes two buttermilk-fried organic 38 North chickens along with two sides, pickles, cornbread, and three sauces. For those who arrive before 6 p.m., churros with buttermilk syrup are on the house.

We Drink Wine Wednesdays: Every Wednesday night, diners receive 20 percent off every bottle of wine, and the corkage fee is waived.

Buck a Shuck Thursdays: Every Thursday from 4 to 6 p.m., shucked oysters are only $1 apiece at the bar.

Thank you so much for having us as your guests, Shakewell team! 


Visiting Shakewell

Location

3407 Lakeshore Ave. Oakland, CA 94610

Website

http://www.shakewelloakland.com/

Phone

(510) 251-0329

Hours

  • Brunch Saturday & Sunday   10:30a.m. - 2:30p.m.

  • Happy Hour @ bar Tuesday - Sunday   4:00 - 6.00p.m. 

  • Lunch Wednesday - Friday   11:30a.m. - 2:30p.m.                 

  • Dinner Tuesday-Saturday   5:30 - 10:00p.m.              

  • Dinner Sunday   5:00 - 9:00p.m. 

  • Closed Monday

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The Morris Review: Does It Live Up To The Hype? (Potrero Hill, San Francisco)

My friend Ben of Focus:Snap:Eat is always on top of the latest and most talked about San Francisco restaurants, so last month he suggested we check out The Morris over in Potrero Hill. The Morris has been getting a lot of hype from the media and one Eater article in particular sold us: 6 Reasons Why The Morris Is the Industry’s Favorite Opening of the Year

Ben (Focus:Snap:Eat), Sandy (Foodhoe) and I arrived on a Thursday at 6pm and the restaurant was already nearly full. The space is small and dim, but polished. I loved the open kitchen. You can tell there was a lot of thought behind the details in the space, decor and table settings from the denim napkins to the engraved knife, and even to the projected movies in the restrooms. The setting would have been perfect if it weren't for the loud noise level forcing us to compete with others in order to have our own conversation.

The evening began with cocktails and a lovely charcuterie board of pate de campagne, spicy headcheese, duck liver mousse, and a rabbit terrine accompanied by pieces of toast, mustard, picked vegetables and pomegranate seeds. 

Next up were small bites-- crispy pork trotters and chicken and foie gras dumplings in a dashi broth. I loved the crispy pork trotters, fun crispy exterior with rich tender meat served with aioli. The chicken and foie gras dumplings were very disappointing, the chicken was so dry that it resembled tuna and none of us tasted foie gras in our individual dumpling. 

For our first course, we shared the trout crudo with green apple and almond and the beets with blue cheese and pistachio brittle. The trout crudo was overall pleasant, but the salmon pieces were too thick to chew. I absolutely hated the second dish, the beets were flavorless, the blue cheese was made into some kind of disgusting purée that was pungent and overpowering. I love blue cheese, but I didn't understand what was going on there. The menu is a bit deceiving in its listing of pistachio brittle as the three main ingredients because we barely even noticed it. 

For our main course, we shared two dishes: the rock cod with pumpkin and chicories and their most popular dish the smoked muscovy duck over root vegetables. 

The rock cod was cooked very nice and even had nice crispy skin, but unfortunately it lacked terribly in seasoning. I wasn't a fan of the pumpkin and chicories either-- the flavors just didn't work for me. It also didn't help that the vegetable purée underneath the cod looked like baby vomit. 

The smoked duck was what we came for and after hearing so much about it, our expectations were high. The Morris brines their Muscovy duck for 24 hours and leave it to air-dry for four days before smoking. Overall, the smokey flavors of the duck were lovely and the skin was nice, on the crispy side. It was a huge disappointment for me that some cuts were either overdone or very hard to cut through (we all agreed they needed better knives), resulting in an unpleasant chewiness. I'll pass on the $48/$96 price tag and continue to smoke my own duck for a fraction of that price with a better texture. 

The Morris Review - Donuts

Our meal ends with buckwheat donuts with a whisky creme anglaise and chocolate pudding with salty cookies, which we all enjoyed.

I really wanted to love the food, but too many things were off that night. I won't be back. 

Read Ben's recap of our evening at The Morris here: http://focussnapeat.com/a-review-of-the-morris-in-san-francisco/

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Recipe: David Lebovitz's Persimmon Bread

Persimmon bread is something that I look forward to making when it's persimmon season. My friend John introduced me to this boozy persimmon bread recipe from David Lebovitz  two years ago and I've been in love with it since.

A photo posted by Brenda Ton Linkous (@nerb) on

Patrick brought home a couple of boxes of beautiful sugary hachiya persimmons from work several weeks ago and they're ripening up so fast that we just can't keep up with the pace of consuming them all before they go bad. So, I scooped out the pulp of all the ripe hachiyas, used some to make this bread and stored the rest of them in individual containers to freeze. It's great because we now have hachiya pulp that we can enjoy year round without waiting for the next season to come - and without waiting for them to ripen up (which we all know takes forever). 

This persimmon bread is originally from James Beard, but adapted by David Lebovitz. The version I'm sharing below is how my friend John makes his, which incorporates two types of sugar and requires soaking of the dried fruits in orange juice overnight so it prevents the bread from drying out. The results - buttery and moist with just the right amount of booze. 

Persimmon Bread

Two 9-inch (23cm) Loaves

Using the higher amount of sugar will produce a moister and, of course, sweeter bread.

Adapted from David Lebovitz / Beard on Bread by James Beard

Ingredients: 

  • 3½ cups sifted flour
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 cups white sugar and 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup melted unsalted butter and cooled to room temperature
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
  • 2/3 cup Cognac, bourbon or whiskey (I used Old Taylor bourbon)
  • 2 cups persimmon puree (from about 4 squishy-soft Hachiya persimmons)
  • 2 cups walnuts or pecans, toasted and chopped
  • 2 cups raisins or diced dried fruits (such as apricots, cranberries, or dates) soaked in fresh orange juice over night

Directions: 

  1. Butter 2 loaf pans. Line the bottoms with a piece of parchment paper or dust with flour and tap out any excess.
  2. Preheat oven to 350ºF (180ºC) degrees.
  3. Sift the first 5 dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
  4. Make a well in the center then stir in the butter, eggs, liquor, persimmon puree then the nuts and raisins.
  5. Bake 1 hour or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Storage: Will keep for about a week, if well-wrapped, at room temperature. The Persimmon Breads take well to being frozen, too.

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