Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Porch at Schenley in Oakland Part 1 - The Meal

I am going to split this post into a few parts because I want to save the other topics about this restaurant for later.  For this post, I will talk about the dining experience.  I've always wanted to dine at this establishment for months, but it was never perfect timing.  That all changed when my partner in dine(I'll call her L) and I decided to go there for dinner a few weekends ago.  Before we went, I decided to check out the menu online.  The menu wasn't exactly large, but they all sounded so enticing that I still hadn't made up my mind by the time we made it to the restaurant.  If I had to describe The Porch at Schenley, I would describe it as a modern American restaurant with a slightly upscale yet causal and local kick to it.  From pizza's to burgers to  even duck legs, they made sure that this is a place where people from all walks of life can come in and have a great time eating and socializing.

I usually don't make a big deal about drinks, but I got a particular that just needs to be talked about.  I got the "Almost" Arnie, which has limencello, fresh brewed iced tea, and mint.  For those unfamiliar with limoncello, it's Italian lemon liqueur mainly produced in Southern Italy.  What made this drink happening though was the mint.  It really gave the drink a cool, minty fresh flavor to the drink.  I swear my breath even got better after I finished the whole drink.

For the appetizer we got the crispy calamari with crispy zucchini and marinara sauce.  The calamari tasted pretty good in that it was seasoned evenly, not too greasy, and was not rubbery.  The zucchini adds a vegetable and colorful component to the appetizer.  I liked the way it was cut, almost looked like shoestring fries.  The marinara sauce was the weakest part of the dish.  It was pretty bland for the most part, and I would rather had something a little more exotic for the sauce.  Fortunately, this was the only thing I disliked about the Porch.

Now we are the main event.  L ordered the beef burger which had a brioche bun.  The burger also came with crispy taters.  L said that the burger was delicious and that she let me have some of her crispy taters.  I only wanted to have a couple, but they were so good that I got a few more.  It was crispy, fluffy, and fun to eat.  It took me back to the days of me eating tater tots as a kid.  L let me take the rest of the taters home.  She is a nice partner in dine.

As for myself, I ultimately choose the duck legs.  Looking at the description, the dish had fava bean salad, rhubarb-caramel cake, and blueberry-champagne sauce.  I'm thinking to myself that this dish can't work because I couldn't imagine sweet components going along with duck legs.  But I decided to take a chance on it because i was just that curious.  I cut the the meat out of the duck leg and dipped it on the blueberry sauce.  I got to say it was actually pretty good.  The sweetness of the blueberry counters the saltiness and greasiness of the meat, and gave the meat really sweet kick to it but not overpowering.  The fava bean salad was also good and also provided a savory counter to the sweetness of the dish.  The rhubarb-caramel cake was fantastic.  It was sweet without being overbearing, and it worked well with the duck legs.  Overall I was really surprised by the entree, and give props to whoever thought this up.

All in all, it was a great experience dining at The Porch.  The food, service, and atmosphere were all excellent.  Definitely a great place to take your family, friends, or that special someone.  Part 2 will be posted in a few weeks.

The Porch at Schenley

The Porch at Schenley on Urbanspoon

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