Friday, February 15, 2008

Breakfast at Brown Sugar Kitchen - Oakland, Ca

There's something about being white, middle-class, and ostensibly Jewish that makes me love soul food. Slow-cooked greens and pork. Corn bread. Fried chicken. Black-eyed peas. Corn bread. Biscuits. Hush puppies. Okra. Pecan pie. Corn bread. Mmmmmm. Corn bread.

Let's just ignore the fact that half of my extended family lives in Virginia. That has nothing to do with my love of southern food. Nothing at all.

The only thing keeping me from enjoying soul food more often?

I'm scared of West Oakland.

I decided to transcend my apprehension for locations whose addresses are "______ & Mandela" and head out to Tanya Holland's newest venture, Brown Sugar Kitchen.

The food was pretty g-d good.

Girlfriend Charlie and I headed out for a late breakfast while she had the windshield on her Bentley replaced. The restaurant's located on a pretty barren stretch of Mandela just north of West Grand on the edge of an emerging residential neighborhood.

The space is sleek and stylish while still being home-y. The smokey aromas of barbecue were present but not overwhelming. We sat at the counter and were immediately given a couple beignets with meyer lemon marmalade and plum jam. It was something the kitchen was experimenting with that morning. Light, fluffy, and crisp and dusted with powdered brown sugar.

The breakfast menu's small but has what you need--granola, baked goods, poached eggs and grits, egg and bacon sandwich, egg and vegetable tart, and cornmeal waffles (add chicken for $5).

Charlie had the sandwich (with the optional ham). It's pretty damn good, served on a soft wheat roll. I opted for the chicken and waffle. The waffle was fantastic--light and airy but with a crispy crunch. The chicken was also tasty and well-spiced. It's cooked in advance and kept warm so it lacked the immediate crunch that fresh-fried chicken has, but it was still moist. I doused the plate with Tabasco and maple syrup and it was quite satisfying.

We also got a fresh buttery biscuit (with more fabulous plum jam) and a mini pecan pie (so fresh that there was a bit of shell in the pie) with a fresh un-syrupy sweetness.

The restaurant's barely been open a month which was reflected in the inconsistent (but friendly) service and the inconsistent (but friendly) timing issues in the kitchen.

The lunch menu looks rock-star fabulous and we'll head back soon to try the jerk chicken barbecue, po'boy, and probably another couple pecan pies, for what it's worth.

Also, good looking wine list and local beers on draught.

Fresh, reasonable, rich, and tasty.

Brown Sugar Kitchen
2534 Mandela Parkway
Oakland, Ca 94607

1 comment:

Kirstin said...

Consider leaving a write up on yelp. I'm not a big fan of yelp, but some people are, and BSK's got some weird reviewers lately. They make you seem so normal.