That One Thing: Commis

By Lotuff Leather

As the first Michelin-starred restaurant in Oakland, Commis is a culinary powerhouse situated on a corner of Piedmont with an exterior that totally belies what’s inside. Before entering, it’s all white awning and blank windows, but what follows after stepping through its doors is a sometimes three-hour-long experience that’s really something exceptional. 

The menu at Commis changes each day and is never fully the same twice- with more than ten courses on any given one, that’s no easy feat. Many dishes, like a foie gras tart or fermented carrots and prawns, come garnished with tiny wildflowers that thematically synchronize with the larger vases on each table and understated yet welcoming atmosphere of the place as a whole. Owner and head chef James Sybahout, an Oakland native himself, sees Commis as a second home into which he welcomes the public- so it’s no wonder he’d give it such a special feel. 

I’ve visited Commis before, and it really is incredible. Every dish is impeccably presented and paired with an amazing wine, and when I was there, the sommelier came out to present each of those wines and inform us why he had chosen them to go with each respective dish. You don’t ever see the menu until dinner has been completed, an interesting choice that I didn’t expect but definitely liked. Between the minimalist ambience and the amazing food — even the bread was probably the best I’ve ever had — Commis is a place I’ll definitely be returning to again.

Photos © Commis