Farm comes to the table at Oakland’s Pomet Restaurant
Farm-to-table cuisine is as ubiquitous in the Bay Area as overpriced apartments and jaw-dropping views. It’s so intrinsic to our culture that it’s part of our DNA, and like those magical sights, it never tires.
But it’s not every day that a local farmer opens a restaurant; Even Alice Waters wasn’t growing her own French radishes when she opened Chez Panisse. That’s what makes the story of the newest Oakland-focused restaurant so sweet: Pomet, which means “orchard,” is owned by the producer herself.
Black-and-white photos of K&J Orchards celebrate the farmer-owned restaurant’s pedigree.(Aomboon Deasy)
Aomboon Deasy is a second-generation farmer and owner of K&J Orchards, who will be familiar to shoppers at the Bay Area Farmers’ Market as well as our most notable chefs: When Deasy’s parents (a registered nurse and a professor of pomology) obtained the farm Created in the early 1980s, The French Laundry was one of its first customers. K&J quickly became one of the region’s largest and most trusted fruit and nut suppliers.
Oaklanders who have dined at the Homestead restaurant on Piedmont Avenue for the past decade have already tasted the products of K&J, a longtime supplier, which continues the tradition of seasonal California dishes at the old Homestead address, now closed.
But don’t expect Deasy to do the cooking. She’s hired a legit executive chef for it: Alan Hsu, who hails farm-to-table New York darling Blue Hill at Stone Barns and San Francisco’s three-star Michelin Benu.
Housed in a building designed by famed architect Julia Morgan, Pomet retains much of Homestead’s original charm: the exterior and interior brick accent wall, large windows, and an open-concept copper-clad kitchen. But Deasy added his own touches, including caramel leather chairs arranged around butcher block tables and black-and-white photographs of orchards hung on navy blue walls. Copper light fixtures add a warm glow to the cozy 50-seat space, which manages to feel airy despite its small size thanks to the high ceilings and windows.
The menu? It doesn’t get fresher or more local than this.
“Pomet is a seasonal restaurant and productsand The menu reflects what is available on the farm and what has been preserved from previous seasons,” says Chef Hsu. “Inspiration is the opportunity to represent the people who raise and grow amazing products in the Greater Bay Area, and the multitudes of cultures and backgrounds that thrive here.”
Hsu’s own Benu background with Asian influences is heard here, as in the entrees of Bodega sashimi-style dried redfish with thinly sliced fermented radish and Shin Li Asian pear with kohlrabi. , bitter greens and pomegranate. Additional small plates during our visit included roasted asparagus on sesame puree with dollops of emulsified egg yolk squeezed from a piping bag of frosting; and triple-cooked Zuckerman potatoes (boiled, fried, then grilled) with buttermilk ranch dressing.
Appetizers are everything from Half Moon Bay Smoked Black Cod with Jerusalem Artichoke to Liberty Duck with Sweet Potatoes. The presentation of an aged Stemple Creek Ranch prime rib is as impressive as the melting texture and taste of the meat.
Vegetarians will also find options, including our favorite dish of the night: the “ugly” mushroom stuffed pasta, so called for the “cosmetically contested” mushrooms in-game. “They still taste great and are useful,” says Hsu , explaining that Pomet also aims to “reduce losses” and “ensure that farmers can still make money from food that does not meet visual standards”. The pasta, similar in shape to an agnolotti, is dressed in honey-nut miso butter from Shared Cultures. It’s a little sweet, a little salty and very tasty, a dish that our server swore even those who hate mushrooms will love.
As the parade of all-caps vendor names on Pomet’s menu attests, the restaurant is intentional about where it sources its ingredients, and sustainability practices are at the forefront.
“We choose to source from our neighbors and showcase the work they do in the field on our plates, so our customers can taste the difference between soil-based agriculture,” Hsu said, citing the integrity of Tomales-based Stemple Creek Ground Breeding. cattle and sheep. “From the sea and rivers, we source local and abundant seafood with minimally invasive fishing techniques with our suppliers Monterey Seafood and TwoXSea.”
Another respected Bay Area name is responsible for Pomet’s affordable wine list: Morris owner and sommelier Paul Einbund (formerly of Frances and Coi), consulted on a selection of 15 wines, all of which can be ordered at glass or bottle. There’s also a handful of local craft beers, some weird sake, and a seasonal offering of low- and non-alcoholic drinks.
So how does the farmer hold up in the restaurant world?
“I knew farming was hard enough and getting into a restaurant project was crazy!” said Deasy. “Running a restaurant for the first time was interesting, exciting, exhausting”… and rewarding. “The reward I see and feel at the end of the day is people’s expression of the joy that the meal is simply delicious, and the satisfaction the team feels when their work is done.”
// Pomet is open for indoor and outdoor dining, Wednesday through Sunday; 4029 Piedmont Avenue (Oakland), pomet-oakland.com.
Pomet’s chief executive, Alan Hsu.(Aomboon Deasy)