A new all-day cafe and pub with low-key gourmet food, Duchess opened in Oakland's Rockridge neighborhood this month. It's already a cozy, somewhat poppin' neighborhood spot, although some of us will have to take the trip across the bay to fantasize that it's our charming family neighborhood, too.
Food, along with beer, wine, and cocktails, is well-suited to recent wintry weather: A twice-fried chicken sandwich, for example, is also maybe twice as large as its bun. But most notably in terms of rich fare, a chicken liver mousse donut notwithstanding, is the 55-hour smoked pastrami sandwich.
Duchess has run out of this one on most nights so far, according to co-owner Caroline Conner, a former assistant pastry chef at Nopa. Connor, whose business partner is Chris Strieter, confides that executive chef Candice Caris also uses a sous vide to produce the moist, melt-in-your-mouth texture of the meat. House made pumpernickel bread seals the deal, and chips, too, are homemade. 'Tis the season for bomb ass Jewish food, if you ask me.
Duchess occupies the former Conga Lounge space: Two stories with a bar on each floor, although the upper floor is just doing private events so far. VerSacrum Design (Trick Dog, Huxley) decked it out, and it's all open for breakfast and lunch every day except Monday.
Duchess - 5422 College Avenue - 510-871-3463
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