Friday, July 15, 2016

880 South: Oakland, Hutch Bar & Kitchen


Hutch Bar & Kitchen  2022 Telegraph Ave./20th St., Uptown, (510) 419-0622.  D Tu-Sat.  
exterior of Hutch Bar & Kitchen in Oakland, California
exterior of Hutch Bar & Kitchen in Oakland, California


Situated in an open space holding a zinc-topped bar with two TVs that is a magnet for solo diners, this cheery, friendly place features mellow music and invites lingering over one of the drink specialties.
interior of Hutch Bar & Kitchen in Oakland, California
interior of Hutch Bar & Kitchen in Oakland, California

You can choose from more than 100 American whiskeys, but perhaps the most fun way to go is with a flight.  We chose to share “The other states” flight and sampled a Balcones single malt from Texas, a James Oliver whiskey from Oregon, and a Hudson baby bourbon from New York.  Our clear favorite was the Balcones, which we could feel warming us up all the way down.
flight of whiskeys at Hutch Bar & Kitchen in Oakland, California
flight of whiskeys at Hutch Bar & Kitchen in Oakland, California

The wine and beer list is California-focused, and cocktails are also available.  With my dinner I drank an unusual, not-too-sweet Sunny Mai Tai, which was light in color but not in wallop.  My dining partner chose a New Two Jacks Sazerac (with St. George absinthe).
cocktails at Hutch Bar & Kitchen in Oakland, California
cocktails at Hutch Bar & Kitchen in Oakland, California

The decor includes some reclaimed wood highlights, including a redwood ceiling (from the 1930s), table tops made from 1950s walnut veneer, and a community table made of old growth pine.  I was wowed by the two locally crafted, 6-foot-diameter metal chandelier circles wired with filament lights, and also by the huge, dramatic multi-panel photographs depicting the Hernando de Soto Bridge in Memphis and the original Bay Bridge.  For starters, we chose crispy jalapeno hushpuppies served with a tasty remoulade dipping sauce, and the unusual bourbon-cured trout-fennel salad (the algae-fed trout is dry-cured two days, then soaked in bourbon for a day).
hushpuppies and bourbon-cured trout at Hutch Bar & Kitchen in Oakland, California
hushpuppies and bourbon-cured trout at Hutch Bar & Kitchen in Oakland, California

I unwrapped my dish-towel napkin and prepared for deep-fried chicken (an entire half  that was crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside) served with a delicious Sherry-herb gravy over rice and bacon-braised collard greens.
deep-fried chicken at Hutch Bar & Kitchen in Oakland, California
deep-fried chicken at Hutch Bar & Kitchen in Oakland, California

My dining partner had flavorful crispy-fried catfish with corn succotash.  Portions were so generous that we took home leftovers that were enough for dinner the next night.
fried catfish at Hutch Bar & Kitchen in Oakland, California
fried catfish at Hutch Bar & Kitchen in Oakland, California

More entrees include bacon-wrapped meatloaf with mashed potatoes and a hunter’s gumbo made with trout, wild boar, rabbit, and smoked turkey.  Available as a side, the restaurant's signature stone-ground grits from Mississippi are served creamy, thick, and very cheesy, but you can also get them as a bar snack in cheddar-grit croquettes.  We did manage to share banana-bourbon bread pudding made with crispy squares of bread and served with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce, but we simply couldn’t finish it.  Affogato is another option.
banana-bourbon bread pudding at Hutch Bar & Kitchen in Oakland, California
banana-bourbon bread pudding at Hutch Bar & Kitchen in Oakland, California

Chef King combines traditional family recipes with Californian ingredients.  He is marking the restaurant’s third-year anniversary by offering, through the end of July, 2016, a value-priced, three-course prix fixe dinner menu showcasing some of the restaurant's classic dishes; it includes a complimentary glass of wine.
bar manager LaMont Reed with owner David King at Hutch Bar & Kitchen in Oakland, California
bar manager LaMont Reed with owner David King at Hutch Bar & Kitchen in Oakland, California

Hutch is named after chef/owner David King's grandfather, who is honored in a colorful watercolor portrait by the entrance.  
watercolor portrait of Hutch at Hutch Bar & Kitchen in Oakland, California
watercolor portrait of Hutch at Hutch Bar & Kitchen in Oakland, California
Hutch Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


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images ©2016 Carole Terwilliger Meyers



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