6311 College Ave., Oakland
Open Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
No reservations, major credit cards accepted
The people behind the popular Rockridge restaurant Wood Tavern is tapping into the casual dining trend, opening about two weeks ago an upscale sandwich shop right next door.
Southie isn’t your typical sammie shop where you place an order and wait for your name to be called. Instead, it’s pretty much a sit-down restaurant with seating and servers, but with a more casual vibe. There are lots of two-seaters around the edge of the spot and a marble bar around the sandwich counter.
I visited yesterday on the President’s Day holiday, looking for some lunch. The place was quiet when I arrived around 11:30 a.m., but curious passers-by checking out the new spot eventually filled the place.
The menu changes daily, and on this day there was one soup option, five sandwiches (including a vegetarian option made of marinated beets and fennel) and three salads. Southie also offers a small selection of wine and beer.
In its early stage, Southie seems to have created a lot of buzz for its pulled pork sandwich, called the Pulled Piggie ($9) and its Dungeness Crab Roll (sold for a whopping $18), and both seem to be on the menu on a regular basis. One thing that’s not on the menu is Wood Tavern’s popular pastrami sandwich, which stays with the mothership only (Wood Tavern is also open for lunch on most days).
I ended up ordering something just as good as pastrami, corned beef ($10). The sandwich came on a Acme roll with potato chips. Southie builds its corned beef sandwich with lots of corned beef and combined with emmenthaler cheese, bacon-braised cabbage, and Dijon mustard. I also detected hints of horseradish.
The corned beef was tender and moist, which meant it was also messy to eat. But in a good way. Sometimes corned beef can be salty, but Southie’s version had just the right balance of salt, giving it enough flavor but not annoyingly so. I enjoyed the sandwich and everything added into it to make it a complete package.
Maybe because I sat near the open kitchen, watching the guys building the sandwiches, that I felt warm even during the cold weather we’ve been having lately. So I ordered the ice cream sandwich from the dessert menu ($4). The sandwich is made using a chocolate chip cookie and house-made vanilla ice cream.
The ice cream sandwich was OK. The cookie part had a really compressed texture, and a bit on the sweet side, and the vanilla ice cream was thick and almost was like soft cheese than ice cream.
The prices for Southie’s sandwiches are on the high end, mostly because you’re paying for a restaurant experience. But from the first bite, you can’t deny the quality of the ingredients and the smart combination of flavors. For me, it’s an added benefit that Southie is near my Rockridge neighborhood, and it’s a nice easy alternative for times when I can’t get a table at Wood Tavern.
Because Southie offers a limited menu and I only visited once, this is just a mini review and I’m not giving it my regular rating system. But you can probably guess that I’ll be back for Southie’s sandwiches soon.
Wood Tavern visits:
"Front Row Dining at Chef's Counter"
"Pure Pastrami Bliss"
"A Year Later it's still a hot spot in Oakland"
Tuesday, February 22, 2011