Protests or no protests, the upscale restaurant scene in Oakland continues to blossom, and the latest spot to come to life is Homestead, a farm-to-table bistro from the husband-and-wife team of Fred and Elizabeth Sassen. Both have strong cooking pedigrees: Fred is a 30-year-old former Farallon executive sous chef who most recently worked at Camino, while Elizabeth has cooked at Farallon and Waterbar. Ex-Bay Wolf manager Abigail Reser runs the front-of-house. (There's no relation to The Homestead bar in the Mission or fellow Oakland business Homestead Apothecary, by the way.)
The menu is relaxed and seasonal, but with fine-dining touches. It ranges from appetizers like baked ricotta with stone fruit and marcona almonds to entrees like grilled king salmon with spicy fried pole beans. The restaurant is making its own bread, charcuterie, and pasta (like a duck-confit tortellini), and they're considering getting into cheese as well. Desserts are simple, like a hot-fudge brownie sundae or a berry upside-down cake. On the drinks side, Trappist Provisions' Stephen Laborde compiled an edited list of about 25 wines (with 15 by the glass), as well as a handful of craft beers. Here's the menu.
The 48-seat former Zatis space is housed in a Julia Morgan building from the '20s. The design, by Carrie Shores and Daniel Austin, features lots of green, cream, and copper. The open kitchen features a wood-burning grill, which should allow Fred Sassen to put his Camino chops to work. There's a semi-private dining room that seats 10, and an eventual outdoor patio will accommodate another 18 diners.
Tonight is opening night, and initial hours are 5-10 pm, Tuesday-Saturday.
Update, 3:13 pm: Opening night is Thursday, August 1.