It was our anniversary, we had managed to snag some last-minute babysitting and we wanted to try something new and good nearby (since we’ve had children, the possibility of going out to dinner in San Francisco doesn’t even occur to us). After some online menu and review consulting, I decided to give Nex a try. Nex is a small restaurant, situated right next to Mua in Oakland’s dying Auto Row. It shares an executive chef with Mua, and as I’ve loved the food at Mua I figured Nex was worth a try. It was, the food we had was great tasting and consistent – but not particularly novel. I’d say come Nex for well made classics, but to Mua if you feel more whimsical.
Nex is a pretty small restaurant, with a tiny bar and a industrial look. It’s hip and original, though perhaps geared to a slightly older audience (30’s) than Mua. It wasn’t what you’d call a typical anniversary place, but I was there for the food and not the ambiance.
The menu was pretty similar to the one online. Though several of the appetizers sounded appealing to me, Mike wasn’t sold by any of them and I was still too full from lunch to attempt one on my own – so we went directly to the entrees. I had the duck confit ($19) and my “please keep my name out of your reviews” significant other (SO) had the cod. The duck was perfectly cooked, with a delicious crispy skin. The meat was tender and juicy, without any fattiness. It was perfectly spiced and succulent. There was nothing special about it, but there is much to be said about perfectly cooked duck. I don’t usually like beans, but the accompanying white beans were also wonderfully seasoned and cooked, they had a hearty, slightly smoky flavor. I loved them and ate them all. While the portion look a bit small in the plate (one duck leg and thigh and maybe 1/2 cup worth of beans plus half a carrot and some lettuce), it filled me up. Then again, I wasn’t that hungry to start with.
SO had the cod and he was quite pleased with the flavor of the dish. The thick piece of fish was nicely cooked and came with a delectable sauce. The accompanying asparagus was nicely grilled. However, he regretted not having ordered an appetizer as the entree wasn’t very filling. Personally, I think that’s true of most fish entrees at restaurants. They really need to be served with a starch if they don’t want patrons to go hungry.
For dessert, SO and I shared the funnel cake fries ($7). These are fried dough sticks, with a tiny bit of powdered sugar, served with a spicy chocolate and a raspberry sauce. I love funnel cake but this one failed miserably. The sticks were very bland by themselves – a dash of salt in the batter would help as well as more uniformly applied powdered sugar – and the sauces needed more sweetness and flavor. As it was, this desert was a waste of calories.
Service was quite good and efficient, and we had a good time – but I didn’t find either the food or experience compelling enough to merit another visit.
2442 Webster St (@Broadway)
M-Th 5:30 PM – 9 PM
F-Sa 5:30 PM – 10 PM