MICHELIN Guide’s Point Of View
Oakland continues to evolve and maintain its destination status thanks in large part to Commis and its hard-working troupe. This serene elder from Chef/owner James Syhabout is packed every night for its menu of measured, elegant and well-conceived dishes. Tucked into colorful Piedmont Avenue, the dining space is long and neat, with a smattering of tables up front; cozy banquette seating in the back; and a lively counter overlooking the humming kitchen. Soft music and a vibrant staff set the mood—cool and contemporary; relaxed but never casual. In the kitchen, Chef Syhabout pairs local, well-sourced ingredients with precise technique to create a sophisticated nightly tasting menu. Dinner might unveil silky scallops with tangy crème fraîche, poached asparagus and charred lemon granité. That signature slow-poached egg yolk sitting in a bed of onion- and malt-infused cream is a consistent and thrilling revelation; while white sturgeon caviar with creamed potato and beer-marinated onion resembles an exquisitely elevated sour cream-and-onion dip. Perfectly cooked mussels set over porridge-like grains is yet another beautiful plate that reflects this kitchen's keen attention to detail.