We went to a new restaurant on Webster Street in Alameda called CK. CK is in the process of getting its liquor license so "it's bring your own bottle." For diners that were surprised by this, the wait staff suggests that they walk across the street to the corner store, buy a bottle of wine, and come back. They hold their table while they do so. We knew this in advance, so we came armed with a bottle of Charles Krug Generations since that goes well with everything.
We started off by being served warm bread and whipped butter. There is nothing wrong with that!
There is a nice assortment of appetizers to choose from. There was one called Roasted Bone Marrow that was served with bacon marmalade and toast. This sounded very unusual to us. Since we've never had bone marrow before, we asked our server what the texture was for bone marrow. She described it as kind of like fat or gelatin. We opted to save that experience for our next visit. We had the Lentil Cakes instead. The Lentil Cakes had celery, onions, carrots, flaxseed, chickpeas, and a cucumber yogurt sauce. My wife liked them better than I did. The flavor was OK, but they could have used more sauce. They were a little dry and crumbled as we moved them from the serving tray to our plates.
My wife had the Inside Out Wagyu Oaxaca Burger. Wagyu beef is meat from Japanese Wagyu cattle that is known worldwide for its marbling characteristics and naturally enhanced flavor, tenderness, and juiciness. The burger is served with Serrano aioli spread on the bun and Oaxacan cheese inside the patty. My wife asked for it medium-well, but our server noted that since the cheese is inside, if it is cooked that much, the cheese might gush out. So she suggested medium-plus, and that worked out well. My wife substituted sweet potato fries for the garlic fries. The burger and the fries were excellent.
Our server told us that the Seared Scallop Risotto was the chef's favorite, so I had that. It's a three cheese risotto with blood orange beurre blanc. Beurre blanc is a hot emulsified butter sauce made with a reduction of vinegar and/or white wine and gray shallots into which cold, whole butter is blended off the heat to prevent separation. The dish was excellent. The risotto was moist but not mushy. The prawns were not overcooked. The orange was a nice complement to both. A little beurre blanc probably goes a long way, but it was so good that I would not have complained had they smothered the dish with it.
We finished off with a three-layer chocolate, vanilla, and Amaretto crumb dessert. It was so good that we recommended it to other patrons who were beginning their dining as we left.
Our bill was $61, which compared to San Francisco dining, is a bargain. And that we can walk to CK from our home is a big plus! We will definitely dine there again.
Dining is alive in the lab.
UPDATE: Because the price for my wife's hamburger was only $16, our son wonders if the patty was 100% Wagyu beef. He noted that a San Francisco restaurant was selling a $180 Wagyu beef sandwich. His experience is that Wagyu beef costs about $100 for 8 ounces in Scottsdale, Arizona. Adding to the conversation, our son-in-law surmises that the Wagyu beef is probably mixed with some regular beef. My blog posts are truly a family affair.
FOLLOW UP: The beef served at CK Restaurant is American Wagyu beef. It is from the same lineage as the Japanese one, but is not raised using the same process. In Japan, the cows are raised with personal care, as in, daily massages. That special handling accounts for the outrageous pricing.