Southern Meets California Seafood at Hutch in Uptown Oakland
The Bay Area's boomlet of Southern cooking continues directly behind the Paramount Theater in Uptown Oakland, at Hutch. Across the street from a defunct wig store, this is a restaurant worth getting on BART for.
From bar snacks like pimento cheese up through the raw bar -- with its $18-per-person platter of oysters, shrimp, salmon, crawfish remoulade and anchovies -- and into the entrees, Hutch has something for every palate and at every price point. The buttery smoked salmon is a perfect example. Served on a mound of citrus-y shaved fennel and dotted with hot mustard and rehydrated with bourbon, it's excellent, it's presented as a Rorschach test -- I saw a crawfish -- and it's only $8, which is actually almost shocking.
However, it's the meaty Sunday Suppers that are going to be a draw. June 30 promises Memphis style, dry-rubbed and roasted pork shoulder, while on July 7, you'll be able to feast on a whole roasted leg of lamb. Preface that mighty meal with a Two Jacks Sazerac (Laird's applejack, Peychaud's bitters, St. George absinthe, and house-made simple syrup), a Boulevardier (bourbon, Campari, sweet vermouth and a cherry) or a Mai Tai that approximates Trader Vic's. Hey, the presence of bowls of semi-zested citrus on a bar practically guarantees that the cocktails will be top-notch.
Airy without being cavernous, and illuminated by skylights and huge iron chandeliers, Hutch is a great space, well-designed but casual. Two photographic tetraptychs of bridges grace the long wall. (One is the Bay Bridge; we'll play coy on the identity of the other, but you'll never guess it in a million years).
Between Duende, Make Westing, Flora, Rudy's Can't Fail and others, that stretch of Telegraph is pretty definitively becoming the East Bay's Valencia. Maybe Paula Deen could relaunch her career at Hutch, as a scullery maid or something.
Hutch, 2022 Telegraph Ave., Oakland, (510) 419-0622.
Follow Pete at @wannacyber