Saturday, December 19, 2015

Commis-Epitome of minimalist approach, sophisticated tasting, Oakland

According to MICHELIN guide inspectors,

“Chef/owner James Syhabout may be keeping busy outside of Commis at his other popular restaurants, but this sparse Oakland original is still turning out elegant and creatively complex seasonal dishes to a packed house every night. Tucked into colorful, boutique-strewn Piedmont Avenue, this dining space is a long, clean, minimalist number with a smattering of tables up front; intimate banquette seating in the back; and a lively counter overlooking the humming kitchen. Soft hip-hop music and a vibrant service staff set the mood-cool and contemporary; relaxed but serious. In the kitchen, Chef Syhabout pairs well-sourced, local ingredients with precise technique to create his sophisticated nightly tasting, which continues to be exciting even for jaded gourmands. Dinner might unveil a plate of silky scallops paired with tangy crème fraîche, poached asparagus, and charred lemon granité; warm, roasted abalone with artichoke heart, fried artichoke slivers, and chicken sabayon; or a chilled fava bean soup laced with tarragon-infused crème fraîche, green tomato gelée, and smoked trout roe. A perfectly poached halibut confit with spring pea "porridge" and ginger foam is another beautifully composed plate that reflects the kitchen's attention to detail”.

We were fortunate enough to score a reservation at this 2 MICHELIN star restaurant recently with our lovely friends. This evening was filled with anticipation, excitement and elation. We didn’t preview the menu as we wanted to be “surprised” and sure enough, we were more than pleasantly surprised at Chef James and staff of Commis’ artistry.

A great way to start the evening:
Caramelized onion financier with bee pollen, foie gras tartlet with dried pear and mulling spices, celery root with lovage, apple and mustard

Fermented carrots with pacific mackerel, yogurt and honey

Surf clam with salsify and avocado perfumed with kaffir lime leave

Jerusalem artichokes with sunflower, trout roe and warm sea lettuce butter

Slow poached egg yolk with smoked daets, alliums and malt

Sea bream with pine mushrooms, brown rice, roasted hen broth

Tisane of button mushrooms

Grilled 60-day aged beef ribeye, beef heart, brassicas and raw almond

Jacob and brichford ‘everton’ comte on a butter craker

Dacquoise, mousse, and sorbet in flavors of lemon

Ice cream of toasted grains, parsnip pudding with while sturgeon caviar

Last but not least, coconut tart, hazelnut coffee cookie and calamansi pate de fruit

Next time you will see us sitting at counter by the open kitchen.

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