First Look: Box & Bells Serves "Staff Meals" (Review) [CLOSED]


I've been waiting for Box & Bells to open for a while since news hit the press that James Syhabout and Benjamin Coe were planning a new restaurant. I admire and love James and his two restaurants, Commis and Hawker Fare, so I was pretty excited. James wanted a place that focused on creating staff meals for the public; unique meals that restaurant staffers indulge in and create for themselves. Benjamin's focus for the restaurant is very meat centric and has southern influences representing his Missouri roots. Having experienced staff meals from friends who worked on the line, I thought the restaurant concept was fantastic. I was confident that the food would be delicious and I was right. Patrick and I had dinner there last Friday and loved it.

The food combinations were delicious, creative and complimentary. The ambiance was dim, low-key, and casual but lively. The cocktails were nicely crafted. Surprisingly, the food arrived less than 15 minutes after we ordered it, which truly impressed me. Box & Bells definitely made a great impression on me and is now one of my favorite local restaurants to dine at. In fact, I'm having dinner there again next week with some new friends. 

There are no photos due to the very dim light but here's what we ordered:

COUNTRY HAM OF THE DAY hush puppies & maple butter - We loved this combination. The ham tasted like a Spanish jamon; salty, nice, thin, and had a layer of fat. The hush puppies were flavorful & nicely fried. Dipping the hush puppies into the maple butter and wrapping thin ham around it is a genius idea. 

PÂTÉ DE MAISON gherkins & pickled onion - The pate was very nice; good texture and really nice pickles to go along with it.

CABBAGE SALAD apples, currants, tarragon & walnuts - Refreshing, crisp, and just the right amount of acidity. 

FRIED CHICKEN raw oyster mayonnaise - This was a very interesting combo because when you dip the chicken pieces into the mayo, it mimics the taste of fried oysters instead of chicken. I really enjoyed this but thought it was a bit over salted. 

SEA SCALLOPS corn spaetzle, capers & brown butter, chervil - The scallops were so buttery and sweet; perfect texture. The corn spaetzle was good but wasn't a favorite. However, it made for a great combination. 

ROASTED CELERY ROOT meat drippings, rosemary - I've never had such a great celery root dish anywhere else (other than my husband's slaw). The meat drippings made for a rich flavor. 



Box & Bells, 5912 College Avenue. Oakland, CA 94618


Open Wednesday – Sunday
Closed Monday and Tuesday

Box & Bells on Urbanspoon

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