The Growlers' Arms CLOSED 4214 Park Blvd./Glenfield Ave., Glenview neighborhood, (510) 328-1315. D Tu-Sat, Sat&SunBr; $$$.
Entering this dark corner restaurant takes you far away, into the land of friendly neighborhood pubs. But this is not your run-of-the-mill pub. It is a gastropub, with a finesse in service and quality in cuisine.
To start I chose the rarebit appetizer, which according to the waiter was made with “unctuous” white Irish goat cheese melted in a 700-degree wood-burning oven atop a slab of housemade bread and further topped with the most luscious fresh green peas. (I love the sound of the word “unctuous” but admit I did have to look it up, and I was surprised to learn it only means “fatty.”)
My main course was a very tasty oven-roasted flat iron steak that was served sliced for easy eating. It came with a little bowl of housemade catsup and a side of the most delicious crispy-crisp chips I’ve even eaten.
Fortunately, I opted for a luscious and potent Boulevardier cocktail (bourbon, sweet vermouth, Campari) to go with it.
My companion ordered what he says is the best trout he’s ever had, served atop whipped potato-like celeriac champ.
For dessert we shared the Growlers’ Mess, which is indeed a lovely mess of grapefruit segments, meringue, vanilla ice cream, and candied citrus skin whose flavor stayed in my mouth right out into the street. I do so wish we’d had room also for the traditional Irish banoffee pie made with banana cream on the bottom and toffee on the top, and also for the sticky toffee pudding ice cream. I can’t believe I turned those down!
We also shared “a proper pot of tea” with dessert, and I was just delighted with the floral cups and saucers that came with it. My waiter told me that the owners themselves searched for the tea cups and mix-matched silverware at garage sales and flea markets.
The menu suggests ordering a picnic pork pie to go for lunch the next day. The next day I was definitely sorry I forgot to do that. The menu here changes daily, depending on what is good at the market, and the kitchen butchers its own meat, makes its own salumi, and prepares breads from scratch. Plentiful seating is available in two rooms on banquettes, in booths, and at the bar. It was obvious that many people were repeat customers, and the staff was so friendly that I’ll bet they even remember names.
More things to do in Oakland.
Way more things to do in Oakland.
More ideas for exploring Northern California.
images ©2015 Carole Terwilliger Meyers