The Advocate 2635 Ashby Ave./College Ave., Elmwood District, (510) 370 2200. D daily.
|exterior of The Advocate in Berkeley, California|
Located next door to Dream Fluff Donuts, this gigantic space that once was a car repair shop is beautifully transformed into an airy industrial-chic space with high ceilings, skylights, and seating that includes wildly spacious 6-person booths as well as two long wood banquettes with matching polished-wood tables and also regular tables and chairs. It feels good to be in this room, with just the right amount of music and background din, and it is a spectacular spot to celebrate a special occasion.
|interior of The Advocate in Berkeley, California|
A perfect start is a cocktail from the really long bar backed by a wall holding squiggly art made from 10-inch nails.
|bar at The Advocate in Berkeley, California|
|10" nails decoration on bar wall at The Advocate in Berkeley, California|
I had to order the American Werewolf because of the name and the ingredients, which include Meyer lemon as well as St. George gin, green chartreuse, quince, and tarragon. My dining partner chose the Ashby Swizzle made with Banks 5-year rum, Anchor Old Tom gin, lime, grapefruit, ginger, and pistachio. Both were highly flavorful, with an unfamiliar, somewhat medicinal, taste, which we liked.
|American Werewolf and Ashby Swizzle cocktails at The Advocate in Berkeley, California|
We nibbled on super-crispy, thin flatbread that was cooked in the wood-fired oven's coals and topped with housemade ricotta, honey, and both roasted and raw peaches. The bread appears to be a big item but is actually quite light, as well as kind of messy but sooo good.
|flatbread at The Advocate in Berkeley, California|
|wood-burning oven at The Advocate in Berkeley, California|
|wood pile at The Advocate in Berkeley, California|
From the short-but-interesting menu we selected a tasty housemade, hand-rolled cavatelli carbonara prepared with wild gulf shrimp and house-cured pancetta, and punctuated with green of broccoli raab leaves. A glass of non-oaky Le P’tit Paysan Chardonnay was the perfect accompaniment (wine is served in Riedel glasses--making for symphonic clinking).
|cavatelli carbonara at The Advocate in Berkeley, California|
My partner had a wood-roasted snapper with sugar snap peas, braised leeks, oyster mushrooms, and a toasted garlic-saffron vinaigrette along with a tangy, crisp La Marea Albarino.
|wood-roasted snapper at The Advocate in Berkeley, California|
Just reading these descriptions helped work up an appetite. A well-reputed burger and fries and several vegetarian options are always on the short, regularly changing menu. Do save room for one of the stellar desserts. Before, we shared a squat pot of spearmint tea from local Far Leaves Tea (being a purist I would have liked those leaves swimming loose in the pot with a little strainer to separate them out as I poured into my cup, but alas they were corralled in a strainer sitting in the the top of the pot). We shared a vanilla rice pudding topped with brilliant orange-sassafras granita, and a warm, moist ginger cake with plump ginger-poached apricots, Meyer lemon ice cream, and candied pistachios. A Navarro Vineyards late harvest Gewurztraminer was the perfect companion.
|rice pudding at The Advocate in Berkeley, California|
|ginger cake at The Advocate in Berkeley, California|
Note that a 20% service charge/tip that is shared by the staff is added to all checks.
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images ©2016 Carole Terwilliger Meyers