Shakewell, when it opens at the current Mezze space at 3407 Lakeshore Ave, will be the second “Top Chef” restaurant in Oakland, and a sign that our city’s presence as a foodie capital is only growing.
“Top Chef” restaurants are those owned and founded by alumns of the “Top Chef” television show. Foodies around the World make special stops at these eateries when they visit major cities, and one friend of mine has a co-worker she travels with and who keeps a personal list of their locations. So when she’s in Atlanta, she’s already made reservations at a “Top Chef” place.
In Oakland, of course, the first Top Chef restaurant is owned by Preeti Mistry and is the Juhu Beach Club at 5179 Telegraph Ave in the Temescal District. Shakewell is the name of what will replace Mezze and is owned by chef Jen Biesty and pastry chef Tim Nugent.
Shakewell raised much of its funding via a Kickstarter initiative that combined 443 donors and took in $102,937 and during a 30-day funding period from Jul 23, 2013 to Aug 22, 2013. The hook? They offered food gifts of various types depending on the level of the give on Kickstarter.
As to what Jen Biesty and Tim Nugent will offer at Shakewell, that’s described on the Kickstarter website:
“Shakewell will be a casual restaurant in Oakland’s quickly growing Lakeshore neighborhood. The restaurant will be an open and airy sixty-seat dining room with a long, comfortable sixteen-seat bar where you can sit before you are seated at a table or dine at with one of our fantastic bartenders…The menu will be filled with our favorites from Mediterranean countries like Spain, Turkey, and North Africa, with our own special twists, like salt cod and spring garlic fritters, calamari spiced chick pea salad, or manila clams with jamón ibérico and coco beans. We’ll also offer a variety of rice dishes (kinda like paella), harissa-rubbed lamb kebabs, and chili chocolate coffee braised beef. Our objective is to use the freshest ingredients we can get our hands on because we know that’s what makes this type of food delicious. It’s easy—using fresh ingredients with simple preparations lets the ingredients speak for themselves. Our small plates menu will also include tapas-style dishes, seasonal salads, and, of course, Tim’s famous desserts. Every dish is fresh, healthy, house-made, and prepared daily.”
And in this video:
The food looks great, from the photos, but my only issue is that the portions look small. Now, before you say ‘Oh, that’s because they’re Top Chef’s’ that’s not true: Chicago’s “Girl and the Goat,” owned and ran by Top chef winner Steph]\anie Izard, has portions large enough for sharing among four people.
I hope Shakewell has at least two meals that meet the “large portion” criteria. Other than that, I say, ” welcome to Oakland!”