East Bay lists: SF Eater's 38 & Luke Tsai's lists

I think Lois the Pie Queen was a good pick for this reason. They do a solid job with grits (the non-fancy kind) and fried chicken and other breakfast stuff. Not that I can think of a suggestion… but note that the Eater list doesn’t have any old school meat or seafood places, analogues to Swans Oyster and House of Prime Rib on their current list, or Tommy’s Joint or Tadich Grill.

I haven’t seen a list of old school Berkeley/Oakland places. On a related note, SF Gate had a list of black (not necessarily African American) owned businesses in 2014. Some of those have closed since, and the list is far from exhaustive. Any overlooked old-school gems on that list?


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What would be an example of oversweetened dish he likes?

That’s tough. I like Scends, but it is only chicken wings and I prefer to have thighs at least. Merritt’s could sometimes be a solid bet, but I haven’t been to the new spot. Casa Orinda’s chicken seemed dry to me, but perhaps I need to give it another shot. I need to find more old school places to check out.

I think Kiraku should be on the list. It’s creative and consistently high caliber Japanese. It’s my favorite Bay Area restaurant.

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What would be an example of oversweetened dish he (Luke Tsai) likes?>>

Gangnam Tofu/El Cerrito
The Gangnam Fried Chicken was awful. He raved about it. We’re not fond of red gloppy sauces nor of ridiculously oversweetened kewpie mayo gunk on our fried chicken. Bleh. Pedestrian.

The chicken itself was fried very nicely, but the cutting-up was decidedly odd. We got a whole chicken, and I’ve never ever seen any chicken professionally cut up this way. It wasn’t objectionable - getting all the pieces sized equally helped avoid the breast meat drying out - but it was very unusual.

I’ve been cutting up (and boning) chickens and other poultry for decades, and often order fried chicken from different menus. I’ve never encountered anything like the way Gangnam’s cook did it. Quite interesting!

The best fried chicken we’ve had in the Bay Area is Backyard in Forestville. They use Green Star Farms chickens (or did, back in 2014 when we went with friends). Exceptional quality; richly flavored meat, as good as any heirloom capon or roaster. Greaseless batter, excellent frying. The one flaw is that you couldn’t pick your pieces, you got whatever the cook grabbed out of the batter bowl. If you’re picky about getting all light or all dark meat, you’re out of luck at Backyard.

I’m okay with Casa Orinda for fried chicken, although they use Mary’s brand. Not a real fan of Mary’s since Cornish hybrids are used for size and weight gain, not bred for flavor.

(Re OP’s mention of Miliki) Didn’t see anyone post this, so apologies if someone else did and I missed it:

If you want to try the Nigerian food at Miliki (3725 MacArthur Blvd.), go soon. Neighborhood residents have heard they will be leaving the end of this year (2016) as the owner takes over the space to open the Laurel Beer Garden. The LBG, btw, is separate from another beer garden that’s going in on MacArthur but closer to High St.

I agree, Kiraku doesn’t make it onto many lists but is absolutely listworthy.

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

― Jonathan Gold