Legume Bistro - Oakland
My annual output of restaurant reviews precipitously dropped from nineteen in 2012 to just five last year. This can be chiefly attributed to me siring an heir in May. After his birth, my wife and I only had the chance to enjoy a nice meal sans baby twice (Tender and Il Pizzaiolo) during the rest of 2013.
I started working on the reviews for those establishments but just never got the chance to finish them. Turns out that the one-hundred percent increase in the number of butts I need to wipe every day didn’t just diminish my wining and dining opportunities; it also doesn’t leave me much time* for long-winded think pieces about mac & cheese.
Consequently to increase my productivity back to a routine level, I’m going to boil down my critiques so that only the tastiest bits remain. That means moving to a simplified list format and embracing my love of fragmented sentences. So let’s get onto it!
* Now I know why Jenelle smokes so much weed – babies are hard work!
Restaurant: Legume Bistro
Location: Oakland…near The Cricket (not that I’ve ever been there).
Atmosphere: We started our evening with drinks at the adjoining bar named The Butterjoint. The mise-en-scene was hipster vintage personified with moustaches, bowties and bourbon omnipresent. Though a bit cramped, it was definitely one of the classiest places I’ve ever pre-gamed at in Oakland.
Legume’s décor was much less euphistic and exhibited the expected austerity of an elegant fine dining establishment. The crowd skewed towards middle age, with what looked like numerous tables occupied by campus-visiting parents and their daughters. Freshman 15 be damned!
Menu: All of the pretentious buzzwords are applicable here – local, seasonal, sustainable, organic. Combining these into one word makes “loseasusanic”, which sounds like some sort of panic disorder. The menu changes ayday so if you’re picky, this is not the place for you.
Food: Bereft of a straightforward chicken or steak option, my picky wife defaulted to the least-healthiest option on the menu – smoked beef kielbasa. It was a little greasy but the sausage meat’s balance of smoke to spice was perfect.
I went with the braised monkfish for my entrée. It had a tender texture and lobster-like flavor that was sublimely delicious. The low point of dinner was definitely the side order of fries with aioli. Don’t get me wrong, I ate every one. However, that’s more a testament to my gluttony since they were meh at best.
Service: I mentioned to our affable waiter early on in the evening that it was the first time my wife and I had left our infant son at home with a babysitter. He generously brought us complimentary flutes of champagne halfway through dinner to help celebrate. It doesn’t get much better than that!
Final Call: Though we had a pleasant time and generally appetizing food, I don’t think we’ll be heading back to Legume anytime soon. The entree prices were just a little too high (mostly $25 - $30) to pay for a menu bereft of favorite dishes. Exacerbating this was that after adding a few drinks and the cost of a babysitter to the final bill, the outing totaled nearly $150. I’m rich, but not that rich…