As business ventures go, opening a restaurant represents a sizeable leap of faith — and that was even before the global pandemic ratcheted up the stakes. But on the eve of opening Pomet, Oakland’s sophisticated new farm-to-table restaurant on Piedmont Avenue, owner Aomboon “Boonie” Deasy is surprisingly self-assured. Perhaps her decades of success in another business fraught with uncertainty — running a family farm — have given her a measure of confidence. The restaurant celebrates its grand opening Wednesday, March 16, bringing a menu flooded with pristine produce to the East Bay.
Selling K&J Orchards’ Asian pears, hachiya persimmons, and stone fruit to Bay Area restaurants including Saison, Birdsong, and The French Laundry, Deasy cultivated friendships among the region’s best restaurateurs and chefs. “I’ve gotten to pick all their brains … and it’s amazing,” Deasy says. “It’s such a nice small community and everybody’s so excited.” Those relationships led her to hire Pomet’s head chef Alan Hsu, who’s cooked at Benu and Blue Hill at the Stone Barns, and Paul Einbund of the Morris as consulting sommelier.
Hsu calls the menu Californian, though many of the seasonal dishes show Asian influences drawn from the team’s heritage and love of travel; the chef is Taiwanese American, while Deasy’s mother is Thai. Early standout starters include creamy charred Brokaw avocado with pink ocean trout, nori, and Satsuma tangerine; charred cauliflower with spicy gochujang; and a seeded roll scented with scallion and sesame that evokes Chinese dumplings. The award for the most dramatic plating goes to the tender Wolfe Ranch quail in a snowy potato crust inspired by Vietnamese salt-and-pepper dishes.
Just two pastas grace the early menu, but the flavors in both are exquisite. Tender bits of lamb neck meat simmered with shaoxing wine give twisted noodles a deep flavor. Demi-lune dumplings stuffed with “ugly” mushrooms are bathed in a miso butter — and though the texture is a bit rustic, it’s an umami-bomb. Hsu puts the wood-bring brick oven to good use for the entrees too, including an earthy coal-roasted turnip with a spring porridge of Koda Farms rice, and succulent smoked black cod with sunchoke and lemongrass. The signature is the aged Stemple Creek Ranch short rib, served with juicy slices of beef nestled next to the bone, along with broccolini and a charred lemon wedge. Thrice-cooked potato chunks in herbed ranch dressing would complement any of these choices.
For dessert, there’s a shareable mound of Shinko Asian pear snow dotted with tiny shiso leaves and a Satsuma tangerine Creamsicle pie that’s shockingly tart before mellowing into orange-vanilla goodness.
Pomet moves into a historic building with a design pedigree: it was designed by famed architect Julia Morgan and features high ceilings and plentiful windows that flood the long dining room with light. Deasy used her design background from Pottery Barn to create a warm space with French blue cabinetry and trim, natural wood, and caramel leather chairs that match the gleaming copper hood. In warm weather, eight tables will fill the passage north of the building. In the private dining room, a mahogany-colored Boos butcher block table is flanked by expansive windows and a nook filled with gnarled cherry and peach logs reclaimed from the farm. It’s just the sort of detail that grounds Pomet as one of the realest farm-to-table restaurants in the region.
Pomet, 4029 Piedmont Avenue in Oakland, debuts Wednesday, March 16, and will be open Wednesday to Sunday from 5-9 p.m.