Box & Bells
5912 College Ave., Oakland
Phone: (510) 923-2000
Status: Opening today
After over a year in the works, James Syhabout's newest project has finally debuted in Oakland. Beginning tonight, Box and Bells will start serving its version of the type of fare seen at Commis' staff meal, plus a full cocktail roster. Syhabout's team draws on his other East Bay restaurants: former Commis chef de partie Benjamin Coe is helming the kitchen, and Hawker Fare GM Jason Friend has moved over to the new spot.
The menu is composed of mostly meat-forward small plates and entrees, plus "nibblings" like deviled eggs and chicken liver toast. Small plates run the gamut from oysters on the half shell, scallops, and mussels tikka masala to pork rillette, blood-pudding poutine and lamb leg tartare. Entrees on this menu are categorized simply as "Meats": think aged prime cote de bôeuf, toulouse sausage and a signature Box burger. (See the full menu here.)
The bar program is managed by Christ Aivaliotis, who's cut his teeth at Bay Area bars like Flora, Bar 355, Duende and Lolinda, and the cocktails include creative concotions like the East Village Athletic Club (tequila, lemon, yellow chartreuse, curaçao), El Presidente (white rhum, vermouth, triple sec, grenadine) and a house daiquiri. All cocktails are $10. (Here's the full cocktail menu.) The restaurant also features a beer list with a focus on local brews, a varied
wine selection and a solid selection of whiskeys and other spirits.
Opening tonight, Box and Bells will follow a 5:30-11pm schedule on Wednesdays and Thursdays, staying open an extra hour, until midnight, on Fridays and Saturdays. They'll be open Sundays from 5-9:30pm and closed Mondays and Tuesdays.