AS B-Dama [Oakland]

B-Dama is a little restaurant found within Swan’s Market in Oakland. I usually wander around here if I’m driving back towards SF and don’t feel like anything in the nearby Chinatown. I believe the owner of B-Dama is under the same umbrella as Geta the nearby Piedmont avenue restaurant.

In any case, I’ve only really been to this restaurant during their dinner hours and often times missed a few special dinner items as they ran out.

Anywho, a few items I usually get:

I think it depends on the chef, but I am rather fond of their fish nabe (some others really like their Hari Hari nabe but I’ve never been able to find it on the menu). Within the dashi broth, there are usually shitake mushrooms, beech/shimiji mushrooms, cellophane noodles, tofu, napa cabbage, and a pretty hefty chunk of fish (whatever they have that day), with copious green onions. The dish is relatively light but I’m always happy to have that hot broth on a cold day (well… I tend to like soup dishes anytime of the year… so eh).

Another item that I like to order if others are around (or I’m feeling gluttonous) is the chicken karage.

Their chicken karage is with whole parts of the chicken so watch out if you’re expecting nuggets. Fresh out of the fryer (if you sit at the bar, its fun just watching them fry, cook, and just chop things.

If they run out of the nabe, I tend to default to their udon dish as a substitute. Their plain udon is just veggies with the dashi broth (extra 2 dollars with chicken). Ingredients are similar to the fish nabe, just a little seaweed and seasame with crispies (and no cellophane noodles…).

If you’re wondering about vegetables, they do have some brussel sprouts. I personally wasn’t a huge fan of the dish as I thought it was too salty at times. Brussel sprouts were crisp, I just wish the salt was dialed back a smidge.

If I’m not mistaken, I had a grilled striped mackerel that night. I thought they did a fine job on it. Pretty simple, as it was just salted. A squeeze of the lemon helped put a little acid in the dish. The grated daikon with a little soy sauce is a nice addition, though I honestly can’t quite if it really adds sweetness to the fish.

Anywho, most of the main meal items that I ordered are pretty simple and towards the blander side of eating. Nevertheless, I still enjoy catching a simple meal at B-Dama. Be warned, I do find that the cooking speed can vary and at times they seem to take a while longer than most places.


Thanks for the review!

Noticed any change lately at B-Dama after the chef decamped to Utzutzu?

You know what’s amusing about that is I’ve never actually seen him cook when I was there lol. And looking at when they started Utzutzu that was around 3 years ago… and I do remember eating at B-Dama at least 3/4 years ago but I never really thought things changed too much. The main issue with what I tend to eat at B-Dama and that chef is that I think he leans more towards the raw side of food and I tend to order cooked items.

Wait, Utzutzu started a few months ago?

… did I misread the date? lol whoops. I thought it stated they opened in 2015 and that’s when the chef left.

Looks like it opened in the past few months. I did notice that B-Dama had different kitchen staff the last few times I was around but thought they still did a good job on the aforementioned soup dishes.

I think the confusion is the people behind B-Dama are behind so many spots now! Starting with Get-A near Piedmont Ave, spread to B-Dama, then opened Delage in Swan’s Market, then Utzutzu on Alameda recently. Chef Chikara Ono’s name is currently tied to B-Dama, Delage, and Utzutzu.

Huh, I thought they would’ve gone with a C name for a restaurant lol. Didn’t know they started that many

AS are the initials of Ono’s two apprentices. Yes their Brussels sprouts are often too salty. If you don’t mind bones, their fish head nabe, if available, is amazing and inexpensive. I learned from someone you can request a specific fish! They often give you tai, but I asked for gindara and I got it. Sake prices are more than reasonable too, as expected given the food court ambiance.

Good to know. I had been wondering why they have such a clunky name.