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Monday, July 27, 2015

Eat This: Miso and Cream Cheese Salad at FuseBOX

Posted By on Mon, Jul 27, 2015 at 3:15 PM

click to enlarge Red miso, cream cheese and other delights adorn a salad at West Oakland's FuseBOX. - ALIX WALL
  • Alix Wall
  • Red miso, cream cheese and other delights adorn a salad at West Oakland's FuseBOX.

It’s a funny thing to go to a place that consistently gets such high praise as West Oakland’s FuseBOX — cue The Who, because sorry, the name always makes me think of Squeezebox — and come out raving about a salad.

Yes, I could tell you about the exquisite, bacon-wrapped enoki mushroom that looked almost like a squid with its fungus-y tentacles hanging down out of its bacon-enshrouded body. Or I could tell you about the KFC wings, so tangy and crunchy and bright. Or I could tell you about the fermented veggies, each one so expertly paired to go with the dish it was served with, or the banchan with its numerous kinds of kimchi and the fermented seaweed paste that adds so much funk. Or I could tell you about the staff in their “I bleed kimchi” T-shirts, or about the location on a kind of nondescript block of West Oakland.

But FuseBOX is already over 3 years old, and if you pay attention to such things, you’ve probably heard all of this by now from someone else.

I certainly had, and only finally made it to FuseBOX recently because in the beginning, they only served lunch.

But after making it there for dinner recently, I came out determined to talk up the salad, because it was served with a thick swath of red miso painted on the bottom of the plate, a generous hunk of cream cheese, a small pile of pickled mustard seeds, a larger pile of candied walnuts, and three thick slices of toasted sourdough bread. While the baby arugula was lovely in its own right, with its bits of shaved carrot and pickled fennel, who woulda thunk that miso and cream cheese could be so divine together, that the flavors and textures of this mélange would sing in such beautiful harmony? Chef Sunhui Chang, that’s who.

While we loved our skewers and our banchan and our wings and our soju cocktails and the overall feel of the place, not to mention the low prices, it just may be the uniqueness of the salad that brings me back.

FuseBOX2311A Magnolia St., Oakland, 510-444-3100.
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About The Author

Alix Wall

Alix Wall

Alix Wall is an Oakland-based freelance writer and certified natural foods chef. Her web site is


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