Captain & Corset Opens: What to Eat & Drink
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Lamb tacos [Photo source: Virginia Miller]
The Gist: In late May, nautical-themed Captain & Corset quietly replaced 2212 Wine Bar right next door to Daniel Patterson Group's Ume (formerly Plum) in Oakland's Uptown, with an "official" opening last week. The place is owned by Paul Fitzpatrick and Sam Patel of Ike’s sandwich group and the menu of creative small plates was created by Pican chef Sophina Uong. A liquor license is on the way. For now its all low proof cocktails, wine and beer.
The Vibe: It's mellow on weeknights, with a familial, laid-back vibe. Friendly staff, led by the gracious GM Carlos Nieto, zip through the dim-lit room. James Bond movies — the Roger Moore era — play on the back wall.
Low proof cocktails: Port Mes (left), Frothy Seas (right) [Photo source: Virginia Miller]
Eat This: Coca Cola pork conserva ($8; pictured as the main photo above) arrives in a little pot on a wooden slab laden with seasonal pickles and butter crostini. It's moist and meaty, with a welcome layer of lardo on top. Smear it on toasts with pickled veggies to cut through the richness. A mini coffee and vermouth braised lamb taco ($6; pictured second) is already a diner's favorite. Charred tomatillo relish, coriander, pickled onions and fresh radish brighten it up and a touch of peanut tamarind mojo sauce makes it shine. Vegetables are no throw-away here. Each veggie dish we tried was a crisp example of the season. We particularly took to chilled sugar snap peas ($6), cool and nearly popping with crunch, marked by spring garlic, crispy quinoa and queso fresco cheese. Save room for Berkeley's Almare Gelato ($5) for dessert. The honey coriander is soft, herbal, sweet.
Drink This: Nautical terms permeate the drink list: a mix of international wines by the glass, beers on tap and low proof cocktails, like a refreshing yet bracing Port Mes ($7) combining white port, Punt E Mes sweet vermouth, club soda and orange bitters on the rocks.
Skip This: We didn't find anything to skip on our initial visit.
The Damage: There are a couple of larger entrees for $18-24. But the majority of small plates are $6-14 and make up most of the offerings, allowing a range of tastes.
The Verdict: We're immediately charmed. This is one of those neighborhood spots everyone longs to have around the corner — where there's a warm greeting, good drinks, and unique yet affordable food.
2212 Broadway, Oakland, 510-496-4256
The blessedly chilled out vibe at intimate Captain & Corset [Photo source: Virginia Miller]