Welcome to EAT THIS CITY, your tour of the best restaurants in one of our favorite cities, as chosen by a world-class chef, celebrity, or local hero.
This week, we’re checking out all that Oakland, California has to offer our palates. Guiding us on this culinary tour is Chef Preeti Mistry of Juhu Beach Club. A contestant on season six of Top Chef, and Google cafeteria alum, she opened Juhu Beach Club in the spring of 2013, following the success of her 2010 pop-up of the same name.
Her dishes feature component made from scratch with ingredients sourced from local from farmers’ markets. Profiled in Food & Wine and praised by Anthony Bourdain, Juhu Beach Club has made its mark on Oakland’s culinary scene and beyond, bringing cheffed-up Indian street food to the hungry Bay Area masses.
That’s not the only project the star chef has on her plate:
“I have a cookbook coming out from Running Press, Fall 2017,” she says. “It looks like it’s going to be called The Juhu Beach Club Cookbook: Indian Spice, Oakland Soul. My new restaurant will be open at the end of February. It’s called Navi Kitchen — it means “new” in Hindi — and it’s on the border of Emeryville and Oakland, pretty close to Juhu Beach Club, maybe about ten minutes away. It’s going to be an all-day cafe/wine bar at night. We’re going to have a DIY chai bar, where people can pick their dairy, sweetener, and spice. We’re going to do Neapolitan-style Indian pizza and a rotisserie chicken in the evenings for both eat-in and takeout with a masala brine I invented.”
Fortunately, amidst all this activity, Chef Mistry still has time to share her 15 ‘can’t miss’ food experiences in Oakland!
This is a really hard one. First of all, I love pizza. It’s probably one of my favorite foods. One of my cooks who works here, from time to time the two of us obsess over pizza, it’s all we talk about. I bought her a pizza compendium as a gift. So, first of all, I’d like to think that Navi Kitchen, which we’re opening soon, will have some of that going on and will become one of my own favorite places. But aside from my own restaurant, that is not open yet *laughs*: I would say for delivery, New York style, I usually go for Rotten City, which is actually in Emeryville. For a dine-in restaurant, I would say Pizzaiolo or Boot & Shoe Service for your wood-fired Neapolitan style.
There’s also a place on Grand Avenue called The Star; they do a cornmeal crust deep dish which is really awesome. Those are three really different styles of pizza: New York style, Neapolitan, deep dish. I’m a connoisseur of all. I’ve actually had a birthday party where I got different pizzas from all these different places, different styles; it was really a pizza party. I told you, I love pizza.