Homestead Restaurant in Oakland Opens Today

Homestead is now open in Oakland, California’s Piedmont Avenue neighborhood, providing the East Bay with an intriguing new dining option. Executive Chef and co-owner Fred Sassen presents an upscale farm-to-table menu prepared with seasonal, often locally sourced, organic ingredients. The venue was previously home to Zatis.

Chef Sassen, 30 years old and most recently at Camino in Oakland and prior to that, Executive Sous Chef at Farallon in San Francisco, grew up outside of Atlanta, Georgia. Working in neighborhood restaurants and then premier downtown venues led to culinary school and the decision to relocate to San Francisco to pursue a career. Seven years at Farallon, farm tours throughout California, stages at other acclaimed restaurants and a move to Oakland set the stage for opening Homestead.

Working with Fred Sassen to ensure that the entirety of the Homestead dining experience is a good one is his wife and co-owner Elizabeth Sassen (previously a sous chef at Farallon and Waterbar restaurants, both in San Francisco) who grew up on a farm in the Central Valley, as did her parents. In addition to time spent in San Francisco, Elizabeth worked in Madrid, Spain, running a small but very high-end restaurant called Memento. The Sassens are joined by Abigail Reser, former lead server and the co-manager at Bay Wolf in Oakland for 7 years, who is in charge of front of the house operations.

Homestead owners Executive Chef Fred Sassen and wife Elizabeth Sassen

Among the notable debut offerings to be found on Homestead’s frequently changing menu are such starters ($9.00 to $14.00) as Baked Ricotta with bitter greens and red walnuts and Grilled Asparagus with spicy coppa and preserved Meyer lemon. Main dishes ($18.00 to $24.00) include Spit Roasted Leg Of Lamb with spiced baby fava beans, green garlic and Strauss’ yogurt and Petrale Sole with morels and grilled pea tendrils. For dessert, diners can enjoy a Rhubarb and Wild Strawberry Tart with crème fraîche ice cream or Bittersweet Chocolate Mousse with malted milk shortbread cookies. Not to be missed are the restaurant’s housemade bread, charcuterie selection and pasta. Other products made in-house are vinegars, select cheeses, ice cream, and savory and sweet preserves.

The Homestead beverage menu includes a selection of craft beers and an international wine list compiled in consultation with sommelier and beer connoisseur Stephen Laborde of The Trappist Provisions in Oakland. The wine list offers more than 25 vintages, with about 15 available by the glass.

Highlights of the rustic 48-seat dining room located in a 1920s Julia Morgan building, with contemporary design work by Carrie Shores of Larson Shores Architecture and Daniel Austin of Rocket Restaurant Supply, include hues of fennel green, fresh cream and copper, floor to ceiling windows, original brick inlay, an open kitchen, home-style cabinets, a large butcher block table, repurposed antiques, a custom-built wood-burning grill, and artwork by local artists. An outdoor patio has room for 18 people, weather permitting. Homestead also has a semi-private room that can accommodate 10 seated guests, and afford the option of doing custom pre-booked dinners ranging from family style feasts to refined tasting menus.

Homestead is located at 4029 Piedmont Avenue, between 40th and 41st Streets, in Oakland, California. The restaurant is open for dinner Tuesday through Saturday from 5:00 to 10:00 p.m. Neighborhood street parking is often an option and there is a city lot directly behind the restaurant. For more information or for reservations, which can also be made via www.urbanspoon.com, call (510) 420-6962. The web address is www.homesteadoakland.com.