GRAND AVENUE, WEST OF 580 – February 2016
Hi Neighbors! Watch this space for monthly news and notes about tasty gems, activities, handy services, art, and changes on Grand Ave., west of 580. – LZ.
See what’s new at Kitchen 388
What images does the word “brunch” conjure in your mind? Long lines? Limited hours? Only breakfast menu items? Nothing for Uncle Harold who can’t eat sweet dishes and doesn’t like eggs? Last June, when Phillip Thoman and his husband, Daniel Rodriguez, became the new owners of Kitchen 388, they purged the word “brunch” from their menu on purpose to move away from the negative expectations it sometimes invokes. Everything on their menu is available at all times. In the mood for a pulled pork sandwich at 9 a.m.? No problem. Sleep in and want an egg sandwich at 1:45 p.m. No problem. Want anything on the menu as carry-out? No problem. All menu items are served all day, every day, for dining in or carrying out. Kitchen 388 also accommodates requests from all third-party delivery portals, so if you don’t see the Kitchen 388 menu offered, ask to have it added.
Phillip says, “We are concentrating on consistently giving people really great, higher quality food and being open consistently, every Tuesday through Sunday, from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m.” Dinner hours will be added when the weather warms in May or June. (This writer, for one, remembers being baffled by the unpredictable schedule changes and unexpected intervals of closure under the previous ownership.)
If you like what you are tasting, or if you want to see something else, say so. Based on what customers have said they enjoy, the new owners changed their vegetable, fruit and meat purveyors in order to offer more organic, tastier, and more visually appealing dishes, compared to the restaurant’s previous fare. “This is an interesting space with lots of potential if we give the neighborhood what it needs and wants,” says Phillip. The couple saw that the most popular dishes from the previous menu were two-eggs-your-way with bacon or sausage and toast, French toast, and the egg sandwich on a homemade buttermilk biscuit. Taking their cues from menu items that customers ordered the most, “we have transitioned away from Mexican fare to good, solid, upscale, higher quality California cuisine” for breakfast and lunch.
But Kitchen 388 offers some food innovations too. The biscuits and gravy dish features a gravy-of-the-day that may include pork, chicken, beef, or even shrimp. The word “spicy” in this dish’s description means flavorful, not hot. Flavor notes flourish at the hands of the new chef, Ema Kye who was born in Honolulu. Ema was previously Executive Chef at the popular Bucci’s Restaurant in Emeryville that closed in October when the owners retired. Phillip and Daniel were delighted to discover Ema was available, just as their founding chef was moving to other endeavors. They resonate with her focused, methodical calm as she prepares dishes. “The ingredients are the stars, not the seasoning. Even the hollandaise is not heavy-handed, not too yolky or too eggy,” admires Phillip. “Every item on the plate is there for a reason: to be part of the flavor profile of the dish.” As a consequence, Kitchen 388’s versions of Eggs Benedict taste somewhat non-traditional. Try Eggs Blackstone, Eggs Florentine, or Eggs Basilico and discover the clean, light hollandaise sauce that does not smother the other flavors.
Today’s décor at Kitchen 388 is also changing to a fresher, more eclectic look than in past years. The modern floor and furniture is now mixed with several antique mirrors and a new painting on the wall. More large art pieces and more vintage items will be added gradually. The top of the former communal table has been re-purposed into a charming wine rack hanging at an angle. Small, 2-person tables were made from a former butcher block cabinet at the restaurant.
Kitchen 388 is the couple’s second Bay Area restaurant. For three years they have also operated Olea Restaurant which offers a similar menu in San Francisco’s Nob Hill. Olea was an Open Table Diners’ Choice winner in 2015, so expect delicious, high quality, and satisfying dishes at Kitchen 388.
388 Grand Ave.
Tues. – Sun. 9 AM – 2 PM
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