“This restaurant expresses a bohemian burlesque type of atmosphere…”
When I first moved back to the Bay Area, I thought this old corner of the Bay would be converted into another Hipster hub. Not that I have anything against Hipsters, hell some of my friends make an argument that I could potentially be one in disguise (very unlikely for the record). I was hungry and I wanted to get something simple and not too filling.
My stomach grumbled and conveniently Loring Cafe came to my attention as I walked through the busy streets of Oakland’s newly renovated “Uptown” district. As many Bay Area (or rather East Bay natives know) this area was abysmal. Until several investors (and even our current governor and previous Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown had a hand) in trying to bring new life to this place. With that said, I sat at the bar and I looked around…
I could only imagine how much more lively it would be at night given the extra space in the place. Apparently they are willing to cater to musicians who are willing to become part of the weekly rotation and they are aiming for a more 40′s-50s Jazz type of atmosphere.
I finally got a hold of the lunch menus and the main bartender for the afternoon (who is of French descent, his name escapes me at the moment my apologies), suggested the following items:
This dish caught my eye before I even considered anything else:
This choice of wine was quite mellow compared to the Terranoble he offered initially. I wasn’t too sure how well this would go with the pasta after drinking it beyond the consumption of the aforementioned dish. However all things aside it complimented the flavors and didn’t overwhelm my palate.
After only five minutes this dish dropped without warning. The simple salad, I asked the bartender to add just a little pepper (suffice to say he added a bit more pepper notes than I would’ve appreciated).
Conveniently twenty minutes passed by and after picking out fine cuts of green from the ceiling of my mouth with my tongue…
Scallops were fine however they lacked seasoning (would have preferred the earlier pepper notes on this). As depicted hardly any shrimp were consumed. Clams were tasty and the pasta was perfect. Had a nice bite and the good portion was precise enough not to go into post-lunch food coma. Although the saffron cream coated itself all over the pasta it was a bit underwhelming. If it weren’t for the lemon (and the overwhelming pepper that tortured my taste buds), maybe I could get a better understanding of this plate?
After the entrée, I asked for the dessert menu and what did I see…
I’m the type of person that prefers to try dessert made in-house as opposed to an outside source (there are exceptions to this). Given that ginger might give me a fatality to my oral feelings…
At first glance, I was ready to shove my whole face into it. Then I cut a slice of the crust, flakey… ok that’s good. The fruit, had no purpose whatsoever. The pumpkin side remained in the spotlight and whereas the butterscotch had a bit of stage fright.
While waiting for the check I got a bit more insight into this place. Apparently, the company and its veteran staff have been around for twenty years in the restaurant game. Loring in Minneapolis is also located near a lake and it also going through urban development growth.
Despite my culinary critiques, it’s great to see many of these businesses open up with a purpose. They are geographically similar (Loring Lake vs. Lake Merritt) and both areas are attempting to revive an antique appreciation in their respective neighborhoods. Loring Cafe is a restaurant like many others trying to bridge the gap.
Let’s hope they’re here to stay for the long haul and I hope they find their true purpose as a local restaurant within due time.
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