Best New Restaurant: Flavorful fireworks are ablaze in West Berkeley

900 Grayson

The tiny breakfast-and-lunch place exploded on the scene last year with such a glittery sparkle of fresh ideas it was hard to know what to make of it — especially in Berkeley, a city that likes its arugula salads served with a big helping of Alice-like seriousness. With a menu partly written in drag-queen speak — such as omelette accessories listed under the heading Makeup Kit — 900 Grayson seemed destined for an early fizzle. Turns out the original four partners had serious talent to back up all the fabulousness. Several times, the daily lunch special called TV Dinner blew us away with its miniaturist eye for tastes and textures, like a memorable square of tilefish under a craggy Parmesan crust. Sadly, one of the four partners (co-chef Sophina Uong) has moved on, but a recent brunch sparkled just as hard as earlier ones. And a deeply tasty burger topped with barbecue sauce and artisan Nueske bacon proved that 900 Grayson’s fireworks are full-on blazing.

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