.From Pirate BBQ to Sailing Goat

The chef at Anaviv’s Table moves into Richmond’s San Pablo Harbor with global seafood dishes

When owner and executive chef Arnon Oren took over Richmond’s Black Star Pirate BBQ last year, he changed the name but wisely kept the restaurant’s nautical theme in place. The new menu at Oren’s Sailing Goat is largely inspired by seafood dishes from different parts of the world. But he and his head chef, Ross Kaplan, also use a wood-fired pizza oven brought over from Oren’s catering business, Anaviv’s Table.

After Pirate BBQ closed, the owners of Richmond’s Point San Pablo Harbor asked Oren if he wanted to take over. “We looked at the space and said, ‘Of course we’ll take it over. It’s beautiful,’” he said. “We’re not pirates, but we kept the fun vibe. It’s an all-outdoor restaurant and a unique destination location.”

Oren and Kaplan have prepared zarzuela, a Spanish fish stew and moqueca, a Brazilian seafood dish, as well as mussels and fruits de mer. “We are famous now for fish and chips and our harbor chowder, which changes every week according to what’s fresh and available,” Oren said.

But the chefs also serve seasonal plates. “You’ll see chicory salad with citrus. Root vegetables. We have a chicken dish with squash and lentils,” Oren said. Before he started Anaviv’s Table—his other business—in 2018, Oren ran the kitchen at Scharffen Berger’s Cafe Cacao. Ross was his sous chef there. Oren is also an alumnus of Oliveto’s and Chez Panisse.

“It [Chez Panisse] was an amazing experience—really being in tune with what’s best in season and learning not to manipulate the purity of the ingredient,” Oren recalled. “I was trained in France and when I came here I fell in love with Alice Waters’ ideas and food sensibility.” In France, he said, butter and cream sauces can detract from pursuing that sense of purity in the kitchen.

Sailing Goat’s pastry chef, Siyoon Kim, makes desserts for Anaviv’s Table as well. Her approach is also seasonal. In the fall, Kim made apple cakes, honey cakes and fresh ginger cakes. She’s also made a coconut panna cotta and a chocolate bread pudding. In summer, when fresh peaches were in season, Kim made a cobbler.

The wood-fired pizza oven is shut off until March, but Sailing Goat’s patio is covered and has heat lamps. “It’s really lovely and wonderful, even when it’s cold,” Oren said. “In the summer when Berkeley gets the fog, Sailing Goat gets beautiful sun. We call it the Richmond Riviera.”

Sailing Goat is a natural extension of Oren’s Anaviv’s Table, which he describes as a supper club for approximately 12 diners. “It’s a multi-course meal and a culinary experience,” he said. “We welcome guests to the kitchen, to have hors d’oeuvres and drinks in the kitchen, and then they have a dinner party at the table.”

Before the pandemic, Anaviv’s served meals at a communal table where diners could meet new people. “Then, of course, Covid changed everything for us,” Oren said. “After Covid, diners could make a reservation to bring their own party. You wouldn’t be meeting new people.” Diners are still wary of a shared dining concept, but Oren is considering the idea of reintroducing it once Sailing Goat is coasting on smooth waters.

Although the pandemic changed the business model at Anaviv’s Table, that change also led to the opening of Sailing Goat. “We opened an outdoor restaurant in our fairly big parking lot,” Oren said. “We made pizza and all kinds of things. Then we got to know the people who own the [San Pablo] harbor.”

Eight years ago, Oren, with master gardener Kelli Barram, co-founded Plant to Plate, an internship program for students. “The mission is to empower and educate 15 kids, juniors and seniors who live in Richmond, to get them ready for the workforce through organic gardening and cooking,” Oren said. Anaviv’s Table hosts the program from October to April.

“It’s an afternoon program,” Oren added. “The students come twice a week for two hours. They work in the garden, take cooking classes and build teamwork skills.”

Sailing Goat, open Fri 11:30am-8pm, Sat-Sun 11am-8pm; 1900 Stenmark Dr., Richmond. 510.847.7426. sailinggoatrestaurant.com.


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