December 2008


Mua

Mua

2442a Webster St.

Oakland, CA 94612

(510) 238-1100

I tried out a new place in Oakland the other day called Mua. It is in the real interesting Uptown area of Oakland, one that you would not expect for a restaurant but is slowly growing. It seems like they are trying to cater to the Oakland Murmur crowd, a monthly artist gallery get together that happens the first Friday of every month, and it looks like they have a good thing going.

This place is searching for an identity… or maybe not. Mixed in with asian fusion tapas is fried chicken, burgers, and lamb tagine, all with a choice of fries or kimchi as sides. It’s kind of representative of Oakland itself with it’s mix of ethnicities and cuisine. Oakland people are diverse, but it’s the food, the drinks, and now the art that brings people together.

The space is spacious, though you would never guess from the small doors that one can easily walk by on the street. Once you enter you are greeted with a beautiful long bar that opens up to a very open space of tables, with a second level of couches and tables that are reminiscent of a hip warehouse tea house. It’s simple with exposed walls and art all around the area. There was a DJ set up one end of the room as well.

Burger @ Mua

I only sampled the hamburger and I have to say that it was surprisingly tasty. It came medium, like I ordered it. It was no frills (which is a good thing), with no chipotle ketchup or wasabi mayonnaise. Just simple ingredients like the patty, lettuce, a little onion, and some condiments. The burger was salty, moist, and most importantly stayed complete throughout the whole meal. Even though juicy tidbits dribbled onto the plate, not once did a fissure appear on the crust, threatening to soggy up the bread split into two. Aside from 900 Grayson, this has to be one of my favorite burgers around. The fries weren’t bad, but didn’t make an impression, which was a shame since it would have really completed the meal.

I definitely have to come back to try the other items on the menu, but most importantly to see what the space is like during the night with the full bar going and some music playing. Either way, this has become a welcome discovery for a new lunch destination. I was trying to figure out what Mua meant, if it meant anything in Korea (the owner seems to be Korean), but a friend of mine had a good theory that it might be an onomatopoeia of the sound of one blowing a kissing the air – “mua”!

To find Mua, go to the Broadway Auto Row section of Oakland. It is across from God’s Gym (if you are familiar with Oakland, then you will know this gym).

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Though it is a little on the pricey end (and what isn’t) at the Ferry Building, Boulette’s Larder is definitely worth the money. You have many choices at the Ferry Building, such as a burger at Taylor’s Refresher or fresh oysters at Hog Island, but so far my favorite meal in the Ferry Building for lunch has to be at Boulette’s.

There is something about the freshness and the preparation. You feel like you are at a four star restaurant while sitting in the walkway next to an ATM machine, watching the tourists and locals walk by and check out the delicious looking food strewn across your table. Do not be fooled by the seemingly innocent starters. We had the fresh Acme bread with apple jam and the fresh beignets with apple pie spice and organic Japanese sugar, both which was way too much food for just two people.

Brunch at the Ferry Building

I had the Roman Salad which featured some greens, fresh cheese, some dressing, and roasted pork, all of which I forgot the specifics of. The greens were sharp and slightly bitter, which the lemony vinaigrette acid cut through and the sweet and salty cheese complimented. Unfortunately they were running low on the roast pork so they substituted it with some of the pork tonkasu that was also on the menu. I didn’t mind one bit since I was torn between the “salad” and the tonkasu. Both pork were moist, but the roast pork was definitely the better of the two.

Brunch at the Ferry Building

Courtney had the scrambled eggs which came with a delicious soft goat cheese wedge accompanied with sweet potato chips and fig and pears. A great way to suspend the fall flavors during the 60 degree plus weather right before December.

Definitely check out this place for breakfast or lunch. It is worth the trip. One of these days I will sample the private dining during the evening. They also validate parking.
As a side note, they also served Blue Bottle Coffee, which seems to be the defacto coffee of higher end eateries around the Bay Area. I’m not complaining.