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Salsipuedes Brings Baja to Oakland 

Wednesday, Aug 19 2015
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No, it's not a Mexican restaurant. Salsipuedes features casual yet upscale food inspired by Baja California by way of Japan — done with a distinctly Bay Area vibe.

Jay Porter, who ran San Diego's now-shuttered restaurants The Linkery and El Take It Easy with his wife Katie Mayfield, moved to the Bay Area at the end of 2013. He found a space in Oakland's Longfellow district, a neighborhood he considered "underserved."

The name Salsipuedes comes from a bay in Ensenada, Mexico, meaning "get out if you can." (As in, "enjoy yourself in the great outdoors," rather than "everyone flee.") While securing the permits and building out the space, Porter opened Fruitvale's The Half Orange, a beer, sausage, and burger joint that has made an impression.

Joining him is executive chef Marcus Krauss, who left his job working at the Restaurant at Meadowood — which has three Michelin stars, by the way —to come to this as-yet-undiscovered part of Oakland. Another partner is Luis Abundis of Nieves Cinco de Mayo, a Mexican artisanal ice cream shop.

The interior gives off a casual, beach-y vibe with white tiles and aqua walls. There's one large communal table in the middle, with bar seating around the open kitchen, and more facing the street. Another counter-height table is in back.

The menu consists of small plates, all meant to be shared. A roasted corn dish with savory corn ice cream (called nixtamal nieves), trout roe, and sea grass ($12) was not only gorgeously plated but was a complete surprise to the palate. Salted tempura sea beans with kewpie mayo ($8) were so crisp that French fries should look out. An heirloom bean cioppino with Rancho Gordo cranberry beans, clams, fish, and Mendocino seaweeds ($18) didn't have us missing the tomato for a second. And the drowned chicken torta ($13), a Japanese fried chicken sandwich garnished with kimchi and wakame and covered with katsu sauce, was deliciously messy.

Other dishes include a beef tongue with sea urchin, seaweed, and green salsa ($18), and an octopus melt bao, with Oregon shrimp and cracklins ($15).While the restaurant doesn't have a liquor license, there is a carefully curated wine and beer list, with wines ranging from $8.50-$15 by the glass and $32-$58 by the bottle.

Salsipuedes doesn't take reservations, but contrary to the name, you should get in here if you can.

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About The Author

Alix Wall

Alix Wall

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

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