Chef Nelson German,
Chef and owner of alaMar Kitchen + Bar and Sobre Mesa – an Afro-Latino cocktail lounge inspired by German’s African ancestry and Dominican heritage – has become synonymous with Uptown. He has made a name for himself through his unorthodox culinary style which draws from the Caribbean flavors he remembers from childhood back in NYC, his embrace of Mediterranean cuisine, and Asian influence from working under internationally acclaimed Chef Yugi Wakiya. His unique style is best exemplified through his favorite dish (and ours as well), the Braised Angus Oxtail. It is packed with flavors and textures that keep us coming back for more.
Eating Off Duty
We met up with Chef Nelson and got the 411 on his favorite eateries in Uptown and Downtown Oakland. When he’s not in the kitchen dicing or behind the bar mixing up one of his chef-inspired cocktails, this is where you can find him:
Calavera was brought to us in 2015 by another Oakland legend of the Oakland culinary scene, restaurateur Chris Pastena. Located in The Hive in Uptown Oakland, Calavera celebrates the unique and diverse gastronomic landscape of Mexico. With unique offerings not often seen on other menus such as, Huitlacoche, a fungus that grows on corn and is used to pack a major umami punch like truffles, and chapulines, crispy grasshoppers to dip in your guac, Calavera is not only a beautiful space to dine in but an opportunity to dive into a part of native Mexican cuisine many don’t even know exist. Not feeling adventurous enough to try the grasshoppers? Go for Chef Nelson’s favorite – the queso fundido with mushrooms.
You can’t come to Oakland and not go to TrueBurger. TrueBurger was opened in 2010 by two local Bay Area cooks, Greg Eng and Jason Low. It is a modern-day burger joint serving classic American burgers, fresh hand-spun milkshakes, and crispy French fries. Go classic like Chef Nelson and order the TrueBurger with cheese but hold the tomatoes (LOL).
3) The Former Hutch Bar and Kitchen
Unfortunately, like so many establishments we love in Oakland, Hutch Bar and Kitchen closed its doors for good in the Spring of 2019. Known for Southern-style suppers — hush puppies, oysters, and dishes such as bourbon-soaked salmon remoulade — often paired with flights of whisky, Chef David King left an impression on all of us. Chef Nelson wanted to give them a shout-out for their Fried Catfish, which was and still is, the best catfish he’s ever had. Hats off to you Chef David. We hope to see you come back with a new concept soon.