The name Eve’s Waterfront may make you think “seafood restaurant,” but there are just as many non-seafood options at this new American restaurant in Oakland. Located in a space that housed a restaurant called the Rusty Scupper for three decades, Eve’s Waterfront is a bit tucked away. It’s removed from the main area of Jack London Square, at the end of a condo complex.
But the location works to its benefit. The space is indeed right on the water, with a large outdoor patio. Its interior is also spacious, with rustic wood décor, blue lights around the bar and floor-to-ceiling windows. It could — and can — make for a great event space.
Eve Waterfront’s Executive Chef Bruce Paton has worked at San Francisco’s Clift Hotel and for Hornblower cruises. Referring to himself as the “beer chef,” he has expertise in beer pairings, hosting more than 90 “dinner with the brewmaster” events over the course of his career. However, on this visit, we decided to skip the beer offerings.
Instead, we started with a couple of drinks from Eve’s short and fairly simple cocktail list. We enjoyed both the Eve’s Sunset (pineapple-infused vodka, house-made sweet and sour mix, raspberry liquor) and Pimm’s Cup, each $10.
Paton’s menu is broad, but it can also seem a bit disjointed. For example, high-ticket items like foie-gras torchon sliders with mango chipotle relish ($15) and Buratta with fruit compote and duck prosciutto ($12) are offered alongside far more casual dishes such as a house burger ($12) and several sandwiches.
Entrees range from a slow-roasted duck breast with mascarpone grits and broccoli di ciccio ($25) to a New York strip steak with broccolini and French fries ($32).
We began with tuna tartare, which came topped with avocado, Serrano chile, grated egg, and blood-orange olive oil ($15), as well as the Burrata appetizer. On this dish, we found the salty prosciutto to be a great match for the creamy Buratta and sweet compote, but the microgreens (which to us tasted like celery) were overpowering, and we wondered if they served a purpose other than decoration.
Next, we tried the free-range chicken breast with a fontina sage potato gratin and broccolini ($20) — the highlight of the night. While we rarely order often-dry chicken breasts, Eve’s was excellent, and perfectly moist; we suspected the work of a sous vide water bath, and were correct. The gratin seemed a bit old-school upon first inspection, but it was so creamy and savory that we couldn’t complain.
Our entree-sized Niçoise salad ($20) was also lovely. We appreciated the use of with high-quality anchovies, but missed the salad’s namesake olives.
We were full by that point but tried the bread pudding for dessert ($7). It was satisfying, but not particularly memorable.
Service was friendly and prompt. Some servers didn’t seem to know much about wine, but were happy to bring someone else to the table with more knowledge. We very much enjoyed the wines we tried, including an Anderson Valley Pinot Noir and an Oregon rosé.
Eve’s Waterfront put out a perfectly good meal — sometimes classic food done right can be just the right medicine — but it is far from the next hot thing. Still, with its wide selection of sandwiches and entrees, it may just find its audience.
Check out the Nosh Guide for our mercifully short directory of places we, and Nosh readers, like to eat and drink!