Teni East Kitchen is a Burmese restaurant that recently opened in May on the corner of 40th and Broadway in Oakland's Temescal district. My friend Ben of Focus:Snap:Eat recently wrote a great post about Teni East Kitchen, so I was really excited to check the place out especially after finding out that the owner used to manage Burma Superstar locations. I haven't seen my friend Manali of Taste in the Life in a while, so we planned a dinner date to catch up along with her wife Melissa.
There are some very good Burmese options in the east bay, but this one has a unique California feel. The menu has a great variety of dishes, but there's only two dishes out of the five I tried that I would recommend- the roti with lentil curry and bone-in duck curry with a side of coconut rice. The flaky, doughy texture of the roti is fantastic and the duck curry was flavorful, mild, almost fall off the bone. If it had a bit more time to cook, it would have been perfect. Regardless, it was still satisfying and even better over fragrant, savory and sweet coconut rice.
I enjoyed both the delicate kale tea leaf salad and the light and refreshing pea shoots salad, but the portion sizes were a huge turn off especially when sharing across three people. For a couple of dollars more at competing Burmese spots in Oakland, you'd get more than just a handful of kale leaves. It was delicious, but not worth $9.
The beef cheeks curry had a wonderful flavor and was visually appealing, but disappointingly the meat was tough and in need of an extra 20 minutes or so of braise time. I've cooked enough beef cheeks to know that it's no good until it's tender enough to pierce through with a fork.
Overall, Teni East Kitchen has a lot of potential and there is an interesting variety of dishes with good flavor. Based on what I had during this meal, it's just not quite there yet and I'm not compelled enough to go here over Rangoon Ruby or Grocery Cafe.
Visiting Teni East Kitchen
4015 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94611
- Lunch 11:30a–3p
- Dinner 5p–9:30p