Homestead could be Exhibit A in a thesis arguing that Oakland really is the new Brooklyn. Hip and homey at the same time, this very personal restaurant from youthful chef-owners Fred and Elizabeth Sassen is a long, narrow room in an old building with floor-to-ceiling windows. An open kitchen runs almost the length of the restaurant; the dining room is populated by repurposed silverware, school chairs and Edison bulbs, and there’s wood everywhere, including in the grill and oven designed by chef Sassen himself—it burns almond logs. The crowd is a cross-section of Oaklanders: workers from a nearby hospital, tattooed techies, older residents of nearby affluent neighborhoods. Welcoming, conscientious servers—and sometimes the Sassens themselves—deliver vibrant plates that look and taste like the ingredients arrived from the farm in the last hour. A Château des Jacques Morgon is delightful with a dish of creamed corn, grilled king trumpet mushrooms, spinach and fresh cherry tomatoes. While most offerings on the trim 50-bottle list are European, there’s a smattering of selections from “new” California producers like Broc, Wind Gap and Anthill Farms. Not feeling like wine? The list, curated by Stephen Laborde, also includes a tempting selection of craft beers.
This story appears in the print issue of October 2014.
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