When VN returned from her Southeast Asia wedding (her sister's, not hers) extravaganza trip, there was no way we weren't going to meet up to get all the deets.
It just so happened to be Oakland Restaurant Week. After much deliberation, we decided on Salsipuedes:
SY was kind enough to pick me up from the MacArthur BART station after work. It took me a while to locate her car in the dark ("I'm next to a giant hole." "A giant what?!"), so VN was already waiting by the time we arrived. A bit later, we were seated at the back of the restaurant, sharing a communal table with another party.
Salsipuedes takes the open kitchen concept to a whole other level:
In true "American cuisine" fashion, Salsipuedes blends influences from all across the map. Unfortunately, some things sound better on paper than in execution.
The Restaurant Week deal was $30 for three courses. Thinking to save some money, we opted to order from the regular menu instead.
We started off with the butter clams ($9):
The clams looked quite appealing topped with trout roe, chicken cracklins, and tiger's milk and resting on a bed of pebbles. For some reason, we all expected the rocks to be warm. We were a bit taken by surprise when we found not only the rocks to be cold, but the clams to be as well. No big deal...expect the clam I had was so salty as to be completely unpalatable.
The octopus melt bao ($15) seemed promising, especially given how they included shrimp and chicharrones:
But I seemed to be getting all the duds that night. My section of a bao came with seriously charred pieces of octopus. I had to drown it with its accompanying salsa verde to choke it down:
The best thing we had was the drowned fried chicken torta ($13):
The chicken was perfectly fried and went beautifully with the kimchi.
The Peking quail ($26), on the other hand, was just okay:
Quail has never been my favorite. So much work for so little meat. The fennel and scallion pancake the quail was served on could have been delicious, but instead tasted just slightly undercooked.
Not quite ready to give up on Salsipuedes, we ordered the churros with roasted almond ice cream for dessert:
We should have just gotten out while we were ahead. They were COLD. What the hell? Not only were they cold, they were STALE.
The disappointment was crushing. Especially for poor VN who was really excited at the idea of churros.
On our way out, we ran into friends of VN and SY who were waiting for a table. When they asked how the food was, we had to give them the truth. We might have been a bit too blunt though, because not only did they immediately decide to dine elsewhere, we noticed a guy listening in on our conversation and then calling to inquire about reservations at another restaurant.
4201 Market St
Oakland, CA 94608