It’s opening day at Hawker Fare, and by a little past noon the place is packed, with a steady stream of eager diners lined up by the door. When a Michelin-starred chef puts together a menu where everything’s under ten bucks, and then the Internet buzz machine does its thing, you know the people will come.
Maybe you’ve heard the story by now, about how Hawker Fare is located in the uptown Oakland ‘hood where Chef James Syhabout grew up (before it became “Uptown”) and in the space formerly occupied by a restaurant his mother ran when he was a kid. And how instead of serving more of the precise tweezer food he’s wowed Bay Area gastronomes with at Commis, Syhabout promised a menu of reinterpreted rice bowls and Asian street foods — the kind of stuff he grew up eating.
“It’s totally different from Commis,” Syhabout told one arriving couple. “I’m keeping it simple.”