Eat Oakland checked out the Tribune Tavern last night, the newest downtown spot to get your food and drink on. This is another new spot by Chris Pastena of Chop Bar (see Lungomare in Jack London) and Temoor Noor of Grand Tavern. Chop Bar and Grand Tavern are favorites of Eat Oakland so we thought we’d check it out. A little bird told us there are also some Daniel Patterson alums in the bloodline.
First the positives: It is a stunning space. It’s everything we think a downtown spot should be: big windows, an large curved bar that invites you to belly on up, community tables and outdoor seating. It is light and airy. Local artists contributed elements of the decor and the architects did a great job restoring the columns and molding. There is a public parking lot kitty corner from the restaurant so your outing can be very low stress.
The service was exemplary. The three cheerful hostesses who greeted us made us feel welcome and seemed genuinely excited to be there. They explained the system (they will seat you at tables for dinner, but there is a community table and seating at the bar that is open seating.) We sat at the community table and had more outstanding service from our server, Huey. He was the perfect blend of attentive and non-invasive. He deserves a raise. We wish that all service in Oakland spots was this spot on.
We were not as impressed by the drinks and the food. It should be said here that this was literally their second night being open and we do not judge them harshly for this at all. It is, however, a tough town since there are other spots downtown who have the quality of their food and drinks wired. We did not have serious complaints about the food, merely that it was a bit ordinary and lacking in interest. The fried chicken was a bit greasy and seemed devoid of flavor.
The drinks also, were not up to our local mixologist standards. The margarita tasted like it was from a mix (and maybe that’s our bad, since this is clearly a whiskey kind of place…) But we take our margaritas seriously and the bartenders at our favorite spots do too. Our favorite server Huey did give the bar our feedback and the second margarita was better than the first.
We should stress that the food was decent, just not as outstanding as the space. We will definitely put this place in the rotation. We want to see it succeed!