Pillbox

Legume finds home in new neighborhood

After moving from Regent Square to North Oakland last September, Legume has been busy making a name for itself in a new neighborhood.

The move was inspired in part by the size constraint of its previous location. The new space seats over 100 — as opposed to just 32 before the move — and the new kitchen is larger than the entire old restaurant.

The restaurant has marble flooring, which complements the art deco light fixtures and decor. The sense of openness highlights the pristine and opulent environment, but the spaciousness tends to take away from the intimacy of the restaurant.

While it now serves a wider range of customers such as students and other residents of Oakland, Legume has been able to maintain its previous fan base, and many of the original regulars still eat at the new location. With a diverse menu that changes daily, it’s easy to understand why people keep going back. The food is expertly prepared and there are plenty of vegetarian options.

Last Friday, the albacore tuna tartare had a clean, fresh taste. A light starter plate listed under the “Nice Things to Share” section of the menu, the tuna was served on a plate with toasted bread and a few garnishes on the side. Overall, the dish was enjoyable, though it seemed to lack any defining flavorful element.

The second course of the evening was an endive salad with pears, blue cheese, beets, and candied walnuts. A medley of textures and flavors, the salad was topped with a slightly tart dressing that was a nice balance to the creamy blue cheese and sweet walnuts.

The main course — a sweet potato ravioli — was the highlight of the meal. The ravioli was topped with mushrooms and salsify, a root vegetable. Instead of adding a heavy cream sauce to the dish, Legume kept it simple and let the flavors of the ingredients speak for themselves. The dish was sweet without being overpowering, and the fresh, light flavor made for an excellent dish.

For dessert: Caramel pots de crème with espresso meringue and maldon salt. The caramel flavor was a bit overwhelming, creating an unnecessary richness. However, this dessert was perfect to share and was a nice note to finish on.

Ranging from eclectic folk to dream pop, the music felt inconsistent with the general vibe of the restaurant. The food and decorations would have been paired better with cool jazz. The service, however, was efficient and the staff was knowledgable and professional, making the overall experience enjoyable.

Adjacent to the main dining area, the bar at Legume hosts regular DJs and bands throughout the week. There is live music every Tuesday at 9 p.m. — including bands like Sleep Experiments, Armadillos, and Boca Chica — and local radio legend DJ Zombo plays every Wednesday at 9 p.m.

While the price range may be a barrier for many students, Legume has an excellent, ever-changing menu and is a wonderful place to take a date or enjoy a nice meal while your parents are in town.