Welcome to the Mid-Week Menu, our weekly roundup of East Bay food news.
1) Let’s start with some bad news: Sura (4869 Telegraph Ave.), long one of my favorite all-purpose Korean restaurants in Temescal, has closed. R.I.P. Sura and its amazing banchan spreads. There’s a silver lining, though. It turns out the restaurant has been purchased by Micha Oh — who owns Ohgane (3915 Broadway), another popular Korean restaurant — and her business partner. Sean Jeon, Ohgane’s general manager, told What the Fork that the former Sura location will reopen on October 20, after a quick remodel, with a new name — Copan — and a brand new menu focusing on bibimbap (Korean rice bowls) and Japanese-Korean fusion dishes. Oh has hired Eddie Chu, a 24-year-old chef who previously worked at New York’s Momofuku Ssam Bar, to run the kitchen at Copan. Stay tuned for additional details.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story misspelled chef Eddie Chu’s last name as “Joo” and incorrectly stated his age (he’s 24, not 25) and previous place of employment (Momofuku Ssam Bar, not Momofuku Noodle Bar).
3) Inside Scoop has an extended two-part interview with Jay Porter, a writer, restaurateur, and San Diego transplant who’s currently planning a new North Oakland restaurant called Salsipuedes. The menu, concept, and exact location are TBA, but what is likely not to be a feature at Salsipuedes, however, is tipping. After all, Porter made headlines a couple of months ago when he wrote an essay for Slate about the virtues of running a tipless restaurant, which he did for six years at his San Diego restaurant, The Linkery, whose customers paid an automatic 18% service charge and weren’t allowed to give any additional gratuity beyond that. Porter goes into some depth on the topic in the Scoop interview, but the gist of his argument is that restaurants run better, offer better service, and make more money when they’re based on “mutually respectful,” “non-exploitative relationships between guests and servers.” Will that model fly in Oakland? Time will tell.
For what it’s worth, at least one San Diego food writer — a former Linkery employee — has disputed Porter’s basic premise, stating, “While the Linkery was known for many things good and bad, it never had a reputation as a restaurant with excellent service.”
Venga Paella (229 Brush St.), a new restaurant located a few blocks away from Oakland’s Jack London Square neighborhood, is now open. A longtime caterer, chef-owner Eduardo Balaguer serves several different versions of traditional Spanish paella, which — at $10-$14 an order — looks like it’s priced quite reasonably. The 49-seat restaurant will also serve Spanish tapas ($5-$10) and a small selection of beer, wine, and sangria.
5) Some street food to tide you over as the long, dark winter draws near: This Friday, October 11, will be the last Bites Off Broadway event of the year before the weekly food truck gathering goes on its annual winter hiatus. For Friday’s season finale, there will be six trucks (Fist of Flour, Ippo Ramen, Roderick’s BBQ, Doc’s of the Bay, Skylite Snowballs, and Annakoot), hula hooping, and a screening of Kiki’s Delivery Service at dusk. 5:30-8:30 p.m. at 45th St. and Lawton Ave. in Temescal.
6) Berkeley brick-and-mortar restaurants will also take to the streets this Sunday, October 13, offering cafe-style sidewalk seating and assorted special menu items in conjunction with the second annual Sunday Streets Berkeley event, a closing-off of Shattuck Avenue (from Haste to Rose) for a daylong (11 a.m.-4 p.m.) celebration of activities geared toward pedestrians, cyclists, and skaters. As far as food goes, several restaurants that don’t normally serve lunch on Sundays will open at noon for al fresco sidewalk dining, including Comal (2020 Shattuck Ave., serving chicken tamales), Revival Bar & Grill (2102 Shattuck Ave.; two kinds of banh mi), and Zatar (1981 Shattuck Ave.). Meanwhile, Triple Rock Brewery (1920 Shattuck Ave.) will be doing tours every hour on the hour, and, just off Shattuck, Asha Teahouse (2086 University Ave.) will serve a special seasonal fruit tea — a pomegranate oolong that’s flavored with a housemade pomegranate grenadine. Check out this handy Google Map guide for a more thorough rundown of the event’s food offerings.
7) Build Pizzeria Roma (2286 Shattuck Ave.) has started running a “Cal Night” promotion every Wednesday night: Any group of four or more UC Berkeley students or faculty will get access to an exclusive menu that will include special food items and discounts that will vary from week to week.
8) I couldn’t resist posting this delightful tidbit of food news from outside the Bay Area: An association of French bakers recently penned a letter to Kanye West, complaining about the following line from “I Am a God”: “In a French-ass restaurant / Hurry up with my damn croissants.” But patience, Monsieur West. Or, as the bakers implored, “We hope from the deepest recesses of our hearts … that in the future you give croissants the time they need to fully mature before you partake.”
9) Finally, ICYMI, this past week What the Fork covered B-Dama’s brand new lunch menu, which launches today, and an Oakland couple’s new food-themed audio podcast.
Got tips or suggestions? Email me at Luke (dot) Tsai (at) EastBayExpress (dot) com. Otherwise, keep in touch by following me on Twitter @theluketsai, or simply by posting a comment. I’ll read ‘em all.