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Luka's Taproom report: great mussels, really nice bar

susancinsf | Nov 16, 200402:45 PM

When Luka's opened just over a month ago, I was very excited: there is a real dearth of nicer restaurants very close to my office in the Kaiser Center.

so have now been a few times, and am happy to say it is a welcome addition to the neighborhood. Here's my report:

First visit: a friend and I went for a beer and snack after a political event. He travels frequently to Belgium, so wanted to check out the Belgian fries and the beer selection. We shared the fries and the Prince Edward Island mussels, in the marinièr broth (white wine, garlic, butter & shallots). Fries came properly served in a cone. He thought they were good, I thought they needed work, though dipping them in the mussels broth was fun. In any case, the mussels themselves and the pints of duchesse de bourgogne were really great! Service was overly fawning: it was as if the new staff really wanted to impress, a bit too much. At one point I just wanted to ask if they could just leave us to our conversation for five minutes alone!

Second visit: took my son to dinner and to watch the world series. Ate in the bar so we could see the TV. The bar is one aspect I love of the place: it is very friendly, and the clientele is quite diverse in every respect: ethnicity, age, dress, etc. Nice to see.

As for dinner: We both had very nice, well dressed salads to start. The bread they serve reminds me of bolillos from a good Mexico City panaderia. (similar to french rolls). Would like to know the supplier, keep forgetting to ask...My son had the ribeye (trust him to pick the most expensive item on the menu when I am treating :-)), pronounced it very good, demolished it before I could grab a taste, even though it is a very large cut...I had a pork dish (roast loin I think) on special, just a bit dry, but not bad. This time, we had the same servers but by now they have figured things out, and service was friendly and efficient, but not at all obtrusive.

Third visit: lunch with a co-worker yesterday. Wasn't difficult to get a table for two right at noon, but by 12:30 the place was packed! She had the same mussels, and agreed that they were great. I had the burger, which was cooked medium rare just as I asked, juicy, and good. It came with fries, and while these seem to be a bit different than the Belgian fries, they still needed work. Tasted like pre-made to me, and next time I think I will see if I can get some salad greens on the sidea instead. Again, service was very good and quite efficient.

So bottom line: Luka's will now be a regular in my rotation either for a nicer, more upscale lunch or for a spot to meet for drinks or dinner after work. Now, if they could only perfect the fries......

And when work gets to be too much, the website says that happy hour starts at 11 am :-) (see below).

Link: http://www.lukasoakland.com/index.htm

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