Commis just opened in Oakland, and despite the effects of a down economy on dining out, it’s getting hard to nab a table at this upscale restaurant helmed by Chef James Syhabout, who has cooked at the Michelin two-starred Manresa and PlumpJack Cafe (closed for remodel).

The restaurant, in the former Jojo space, is small but not exactly cozy: “like a fancy hotel restaurant,” singleguychef says.

Commis offers a three-course prix fixe for $49, with a wine pairing for an extra $29. There’s just the one menu for now, but once they get into a groove it’ll change daily.

In the first course, farm egg with pork jowl is beautifully plated, with a smear of black garlic on the side with allium blossoms. The cubed pork jowl was slightly crispy but creamy tender, and combined well with the other flavors on the plate, says singleguychef. Other options are smoked mackerel, a soup, and braised Little Gem salad.

For the second course, Morro Bay cod was “perfectly cooked with the skin still on and crispy,” singleguychef says, served with a bright and sweet English pea purée. The aged beef loin is “fantastic,” says skwid, the result of being cooked with a special oven technique.

Desserts seem ice-cream-oriented: a refreshing chilled strawberry-watermelon soup served with a scoop of black pepper ice cream, and frozen crème fraîche.

Service is friendly, attentive, and knowledgeable, singleguychef says.

Commis [East Bay]
3859 Piedmont Avenue, Oakland

Board Link: Commis—Piedmont Ave.

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