Blind Tiger - Oakland

Tried Blind Tiger for the first time last night for dinner. Two of arrived at about 7:30 PM on Thursday, and the restaurant was busy. Got a table for two right away.

It’s a very large space, down in the basement. Nice bar, lots of tables. Noise level is pretty high, I think largely because it’s in a basement.

Some of the food items were very good, while others were not as great. We ordered:

Housemade Kimchi ($4) – Plenty of fermentation, slightly spicy, good flavor. Appropriate portion for the price. Good.

Ahi Tuna Poke w/ Avocado ($13) – Very generous portion of bite-size chunks of tuna and avocado, in a light dressing. Everything was quite cold. I found it refreshing and quite good. Served with wonton crisps.

Massaman Curry Fries ($10) – These were really great, and basically the perfect bar snack for me. Fries were a tad thick and not quite as crispy as I would have liked, but they were topped with a salty and sweet massaman curry sauce, tender braised short ribs, a drizzle of coconut, and crispy toasted garlic. It sounds like this is one of their more popular dishes, and deservedly so. Very good.

Mu Bing ($8) – Spicy Thai pork skewers with smoked peanuts and sticky rice. The skewers themselves were quite nice: tender meat, balanced flavor. Not spicy. Sticky rice was just plain sticky rice. I didn’t even notice the peanuts. I felt like this dish was missing something acidic to go with it (like a slaw or chutney or dipping sauce), but it was pretty good.

Tobanjan Green Beans ($7) – Advertised as wok-charred, which they were! But the spicy sauce was a little bit one-dimensional for me. It felt like they just quickly cooked some string beans and poured on a little too much jarred bean paste. Green beans were slightly undercooked, which I suppose is better than overcooked. Meh.

Grilled Tofu w/ charred eggplant-black garlic soubise and mango lime relish ($8). This dish was a very interesting and good attempt, but I just didn’t think it worked on any level. Presentation was not bad – the eggplant black garlic soubise was spread on the plate, topped with grilled tofu pieces, and then topped with the relish and then a white vegetable of some sort. None of the components tasted very good on their own, and then when you combined them together, they tasted worse. This dish reminded me of something I’d see on a cooking show like Top Chef. Cool to see such inventive vegetarian dishes on a somewhat meat-focused menu, but I think the idea just got ahead of the flavors.

They have a big menu with lots of interesting looking items, including some nice looking burgers. Full bar, cocktail menu, etc.

This was too much food for 2 people. Bill (with 1 beer) came to $60. Could have ordered two fewer dishes and been fine!

Service was very friendly and we’ll definitely return

Room was very dark, so even though I took a few pictures, I don’t think they are good enough to post.

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I think the vegetable on the tofu dish was heart of palm, but it had no marinade or dressing or seasoning.

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“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold