CDP, the stylish follow-up to chef James Syhabout’s two-Michelin-starred Commis, is now open in Oakland’s Piedmont neighborhood. The name is an acronym for chef de partie, the supporting role to an executive chef, and an apt description for Syhabout’s new venture: It’s a natural extension of the adjacent restaurant where guests can lounge with cocktails and small bites before, after, or instead of a tasting menu experience.
Syhabout designed the 24-seat space — with support from architecture firm Gensler — himself, adding modern touches designed to complement the minimalist aesthetic of Commis. “I want it to be timeless, warm, and inviting,” he told Eater SF. “But I had to take Commis into consideration.” Like Commis, the walls are white and artwork is absent; Jonathan Adler light fixtures and richly colored banquettes bring home the vibe Syhabout says he was aiming for at the bar.
And while CDP is more low-key than Commis, it’s still connected to the hushed environs of the eight-course tasting menu haven — when it’s at capacity, a waiting list will allow control of the noise level and crowd. Thankfully, that means no one will be elbowing you for a spot at the bar, but it might mean a little bit of a wait for one of the bar’s well-crafted cocktails, Champagnes, or brandies.
The menu is short but thoughtful. “It’s simple bar food,” says Syhabout. “But presented in a Commis way.” Beef tartare, cut by hand and topped with beef fat lavash, with tarragon puree is one way to interpret that; a sandwich described by the chef as a “greasy bar sandwich” is pressed taleggio cheese with speck, toasted caraway butter, and raw orange blossom honey, accompanied by pickled and fermented vegetables. Even the olives and the almonds have received a thoughtful, Commis-style upgrade: Green olives are scented with juniper and lemon, while salted marcona almonds are dusted with rose and pink peppercorn sugar.
Similarly, cocktails are classic but altered to suit the aesthetic. A Japanese Julip uses Suntory Toki, yuzu, and shiso to create a refreshing version of the old Kentucky standby, while the Rapper’s Delight combines juice from pinot noir grapes with Hennessey and lemon. There’s also a deep bench of beer, wine, Japanese whisky, brandy, eau de vie, and other spirits on hand.
CDP is now open Wednesday through Saturday from 5 p.m. until close and Sunday from 4:30 p.m. until close.