Sunday, June 20, 2010

Brunch at Chez Panisse Cafe

Last year a trip to the Bay Area ended up being one of the best food weekends ever. As soon as I land we caravaned to Berkeley, kicking off the weekend with some Alice Waters brunch at Chez Panisse Cafe.

Located on the second floor of the building, the Chez Panisse Cafe was packed to the gills during this Saturday brunch.

Just looking at the menu will give you an idea of the style of food here. The ingredients high quality and enticing, the preparations relatively simple but bound to be excellent.

One friend ordered the Bob's cardoon and anchovy toast with grilled radicchio and parmesan ($9)
I tried a bite and it was quite good, a nice combination of flavors, though it was too weird for my friend. Though what's visible is mostly the cardoon, the anchovy flavor was quite strong.

Enticed by the word 'truffle' on the menu, I decided to go really simple with Scrambled eggs with black truffle, grilled garlic toast, and chervil salad.
Softly scrambled eggs, strong truffle aroma. As a truffle lover, no complaint.

But then I got cephalopod envy.
Monterey Bay squid roasted in the wood oven with frisee, artichokes, turnips, and romesco sauce ($19)
I loved the texture of the tender roasted squid along with this drier version of romesco sauce. Both worked very well with the frisee.

Grilled Wolfe Ranch quail with winter squash puree, broccoli, and black olives.
Another great dish. The butterflied quail was very moist and tender and you can tell the quality of ingredients used here at Chez Panisse with the broccoli and squash. Growing up I came to dislike the dried up store bought broccoli. None of that here, naturally, as expected of Alice Waters.

On the whole, the desserts were very good but rather expensive.
Meyer lemon cream puffs with caramel sauce and pistachio brittle ($9.50)
Good cream puffs, but better and bigger can be bought for over $3 apiece.

Blood orange sherbet with kumquat confit and langues de chat ($8.25)
This was actually our favorite of the desserts. An amazing sherbet with strong blood orange flavor, but over $8 for 3 scoops still seems very steep.

Pink Lady apple and quince tart with creme fraiche ($9.75)
This small and thin tart was possibly the most expensive tart I've paid for ... again, good, but not sure it was worth it.

Overall we were very happy with Chez Panisse Cafe, especially with all the savory dishes - all of which used amazing products and were excellently prepared. Given another chance to visit Berkeley, I would probably end up here or at the restaurant again, though next time I'll skip dessert and go around the corner to Gregoire's for dessert instead.

Chez Panisse Cafe
1517 Shattuck Ave
Berkeley, CA 94709
(510) 548-5525
Chez Panisse on Urbanspoon


Banana Wonder

Great review! I would love some of those truffle scrambled eggs as well. Next time I'm in the Bay, for sure.


hello there :)
stumble upon your blog! lovely blog you have here. Found you on foodbuzz :) Will be dropping by more often! Feel free to save me on your blogroll :) Happy summer!

Jen from

Exile Kiss

Hi burumun,

Nice review! :) I've been meaning to go to Chez Panisse but things always come up. It sounds lovely and probably something I should try sooner rather than later. ;)

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