I’ve been having such wonderful foodie adventures all over the place, it was so lovely to turn around and visit a highly-rated restaurant right here in Oakland. Commis is Oakland’s first and only Michelin-starred restaurant. Its tasting menu is priced at $85/pp, and with a seat at the chef’s table in the center of the dining room, the experience proved all the praise well-deserved. You have to call for the chef’s table, but of course Jesse worked his magic and we found our way onto their books!
The restaurant has no sign– just a clean exterior with the address clearly marked. The interior, at our early 5:30 seating, was still well-lit with natural light.
We kicked off with carmelized onion financiers and herbed toast topped with trout roe. Second up was a Pacific Coast oyster topped with a light foam.
We were seated at the chef’s table where we could watch as a handful of chefs prepped every dish in the restaurant. Pictured on the left is owner and chef James Syhabout. Below, they prep a bed of albacore tuna over stewed eggplant, topped with a mint broth and delicately decked out in succulent leaves (placed piece by piece with forceps) that were surprisingly tasty.
Perfectly seared scallops topped off with wild apple blossom honey.
Some fresh bread with a side of butter– and I recognized those Heath bud vases as soon as walked in the door.
I love a slow poached egg, and this one was certainly one of the prettiest I’ve ever seen. It was presented with just the yolk and its sweet and savory spices, and then the server poured a warm potato soup over it, which was both visually stunning and absolutely delicious.
Folding up the ribbons of summer squash to go with the Northern Halibut confit, padron pepper, and ash. And on the right, a tisane of button mushrooms, which was a bit too funky and one-dimensional for my tastes.
While the vegetables definitely played an exceptional role in this tasting menu, it wasn’t all pescatarian– the final savory course was duck on duck– an amazingly beautiful duck breast with a duck sausage and figs and elderberries. Mmmm, figs and duck. Always a winning combination. Also, I love that mini copper pot.
And then it was time for dessert! A wild plum and marigold float, and a beautifully-presented nectarine biscuit with ice cream. And finally, a biscuit with celery seed, raspberries, and fruit jelly candies.
And after it all, they presented us with a printed menu of the entire tasting course. How lovely! This was a wonderful meal, absolutely deserving of all the praise it’s been receiving. Definitely check it out over on Piedmont Avenue in Oakland– the chef’s table seating is a must!
Anna Wu is a wedding and portrait photographer based in San Francisco but often jetsetting around the world. Follow her on facebook for more photography and travel adventures.