These Restaurants Want You to Eat With Your Hands

January 11, 2016

...chef Nelson German wanted to create an atmosphere where guests can roll up their sleeves and satisfy that primal instinct to eat with their hands.

100 Dishes to Eat in the Town Before You Die - 7x7 Magazine

3. Coconut Shrimp Lollipop: AlaMar* // 100 Grand Ave #111 (Uptown),

Cheat Sheet: alaMar in Oakland -

alaMar's food is tasty and playful and the staff unpretentious, making this a win for the neighborhood...

The 7 Best Summer Cocktails in SF - Zagat

He mixes blanco tequila with sweet tomatoes he's roasted à​ la plancha(on a wood plank) and made into a house shrub. The shrub's vinegar brightness brings the whole thing to life. A Bloody Mary wishes it tasted this good.

Seafood Boils Get Classy at Oakland's alaMar - SJ Mercury News

What is especially unusual: New York native and chef owner Nelson German uses mostly Mediterranean spices -- think saffron and fresh herbs over Old Bay -- in his boils, in addition to the Asian-Cajun treatments one would expect so close to San Francisco's Vietnamese seafood dives. He even finds opportunities to showcase his Dominican heritage via plantain preparations that will knock your socks straight to the Bayou.

alaMar Launches Lunch and Happy Hour - East Bay Express

Alamar....rolled out a sandwich-centric lunch menu last week. Specialties include Asian-inspired soft-shell crab bao, lobster grilled-cheese sandwiches, and oxtail quesadillas. 

At alaMar, the Sauces are the Thing - East Bay Express

At AlaMar, the sauces are the thing. Instead of the mix-and-match approach employed by most Cajun seafood restaurants, German creates a distinct sauce for each type of shellfish, using house-made compound butters rather than a generic Cajun spice mix. 

8 Must-Hit East Bay Openings! - Thrillist

This new Uptown spot marries an industrial port city vibe (alaMar means "to the sea", 'natch) with Cajun cooking brought back to its Mediterranean roots. Think upscale takes on traditional dishes like local Delta crayfish with a Meyer lemon pepper sauce, house pork sausage, and Spring garlic, or starters like this crispy stuffed goat cheese with provolone, red beet puree, and lemon-thyme honey, bee-utiful.

alaMar Oakland: Flavors of a Dream Realized -

The restaurant is the realization of a decade-long journey towards self expression through the production of great food. Nelson German is a talented chef whose unique perspective in the kitchen will be a marvelous addition to the Oakland dining repertoire. We are a lucky city to draw such talented culinary artists to our streets. They are aching to tell us their story through flavor; we need only be receptive.

Get Your Hands Dirty at alaMar, Uptown Oakland's Newest Addition - SF Weekly

"It's a new American peel and eat concept," he says. "I wanted to sophisticate and refine the crab house type of place. I wanted to branch it out beyond Asian Cajun, and go back to its roots. That style of food first started in the Mediterranean islands, where it was as simple as seafood with a sauce and bread on the side. So I'll be doing that and adding some Latin flare-- I am Dominican and I gotta make my momma proud."

Alamar Kitchen Opens Tomorrow - East Bay Dish

I should also mention the chef is Dominican, and it looks like there are some influences on the menu.  This is exciting because I studied abroad in the Dominican Republic, and while there’s a huge community in New York, there aren’t many options in the Bay Area when I need a taste of the island.  

Uptown's Alamar to Put Upscale Twist on Asian-Cajun - Eater SF

Diners can still expect seafood boils by the pound, but with twists like housemade sausage and Meyer lemon pepper on the crawfish and a Chardonnay-ginger-scallion butter on the Dungeness crab. (There won't be plastic bags, either, just nice servingware.)

Alamar bringing upscale seafood boil to Oakland’s Grand Ave - Inside Scoop SF

“There’s a big trend with a lot of Cajun, Cajun-Asian restaurants opening up, and I wanted to personally take that as a chef and kind of change the game on it,” says German, who is taking over the former Noble Cafe space at 100 Grand Avenue. “I want to take the same formula but refine it.”

Seafood Spot, AlaMar, Heads to Uptown Oakland - Zagat

The menu will have a focus on seasonal crustacean boils, like Dungeness crab with ginger scallion butter and crawfish with Meyer lemon romesco – all of it designed to eat with your hands. 

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