Oakland | the kebabery

The Kebabery was another last minute random date night find. If not for locating Kebabery for dinner, I most likely would not be venturing out in this part of Oakland that is very much unfamiliar to me. Up until writing this post, I did not know that this part of Oakland is called Longfellow. This neighborhood that continues to be troubled by violence is slowly going through the gentrification process which many artists consider their home.

Walking into The Kebabery, I liked it right away. I like the no nonsense industrial decor of white tiles, round metal chandelier and contemporary chairs. The pink bats and rose garlands appealed to me. It was not fall yet when we went but I wonder if the gothic interior decoration was just a nod to the season or permanent fixtures.

The Kebabery’s menu was simple and small just like its minimalist venue. You get a choice of a kebab, a salad option (two if ordering a plate instead of wrap), yogurt, grilled flatbread or lentils.

Mr Sweetie had the Grilled Marinated Chicken Kebab Wrap served with pickles for $13.50. He ordered a side of fries with yogurt for $5.50. I had the Grilled Spiced King Trumpet Kebab. I chose spiced carrot salad and beets salad as my salad choices with homemade grilled flatbread instead of lentils ( $16.50). We both ordered the Hibiscus Punch for $3.50 per glass.

At first glance, I was impressed at how packed my plate was with all the salads, a fistful of herbs and the thick homemade hearty flatbread that I really liked. I was disappointed in getting just one stick of mushroom kebab. I could have ordered another stick for $6 but it was not necessary as the plate hit the sweet spot of being perfectly full.

VERDICT AND VALUE

Mr Sweetie was okay with his food although not wowed. He felt that it was too healthy but a win in my book. On the other hand, I really enjoyed my vegetarian meal. The flavors were very tasty. I love the variety of textures and flavors in my dish. Despite its simplicity, I would classify The Kebabery as a true representation of California cuisine which is characterized by the light and fresh taste of simple ingredients yet packed with clean flavors. It is not surprising as the owners hail from Camino, a prominent fine dining spot in Oakland for 10 years that closed in 2018. Mr Sweetie and I dined at Camino many times over the years. The Kebabery is not an authentic Mediterranean restaurant and I do not think that it is pretending to be. It is fast food California-style which is really slow food.

As expressed in Yelp reviews, The Kebabery is spendy for the portions of its dishes. In a way I do get the reason behind the higher prices. Even the rent in gentrifying neighborhoods in Oakland like Longfellow is sky high compared to the rest of the country. (Average of $2500 for a two bedroom apartment compared to $4000 for a two bedroom in a more desirable part of Oakland. Do not even ask about rent in San Francisco!) The Kebabery uses only organic ingredients from local sources. Even the furniture are made in Oakland by art students.

We had a pleasant dinner and I really do not mind going back. I just got stomach sick all night which was probably the yogurt in the salad which I forgot to ask the server to omit. (My life as a lactose-intolerant foodie!) The Kebabery was a great off the beaten path find.

With tax and tip, our final tab was about $55.

09.07.19

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