Years ago, when I told a foodie friend that I was moving to Oakland from San Francisco, she told me to make sure that I checked out Emma's Cajun Seafood and Chicken. It took me a bit to find the place, because it's buried deep in West Oakland. Once I discovered the place I was a regular for awhile, trying various fishes as well as the chicken. I eventually stopped going due to a change in diet, though the fact that the wait for food was always so long was certainly a discouraging factor.
Midafternoon today I was driving back to North Oakland from a visit to the Oakland Main Post Office (time to get a new passport for an upcoming trip to London!!), and I decided to see if Emma's was still a good place to eat.
Prices have increased since I was there last, but the place was still spotlessly clean, the menu still short and to the point, and the staff still efficient though sometimes a little cool.
I ordered the fried chicken, full order, spicey, for $10.85. That's five pieces of chicken, and a very large order of fries. Not cheap compared to KFC or Church's, maybe, but reasonable for the quality. They don't start cooking it until the order is placed. (sidenote--lots of people call in their orders to avoid the long wait.)
I found the french fries to be just passable, but the chicken was better than I remembered. I ate a wing right away to see what it was like while it was hot, and loved the lightly spicey and crispy skin, and moist interior.
The rest of the chicken I saved for dinner a few hours later. As I took it out of its bag, I was pleased to discover that there were no grease spots on either the paper bag or the cardboard container it was sitting in. I reheated the chicken in my toaster oven at a very low temp, which was a risk, of course, with the potential of either drying out the meat and/or losing the crispness of the skin. I am very happy to report that neither of those things occurred. Even the white breast meat was still juicy.
I searched old chowhound posts to see if any other folks knew about Emma's, but all I saw was some old questions about it, folks wondering if it was any good.
The answer is YES! Though I didn't have fish today I'm quite confident that the portions will still be generous and delicious, and that the various homemade cakes and pies for dessert will be a great finish to the meal.
Emma's Cajun Fish and Chicken Market
3112 Market Street
Phone: 510 547-2864