Benchmark Oakland to Host Benefit Dinner for Oakland Communities United for Equity & Justice
Benchmark Oakland will host a benefit dinner for Oakland Communities United for Equity & Justice (https://www.facebook.com/OCUEJ) on Sunday, March 17 with seatings at 5:30 and 8:00 p.m., plus 5:00 and 10:00 p.m. cocktail hours. Priced on a sliding scale from $60.00 to $100.00, this special evening will afford guests the opportunity to enjoy a three-course prix fixe menu and to participate in the East Bay Eats fundraiser series (https://www.facebook.com/eastbayeatsseries). Tickets are available via https://eastbayeatsmar2019.brownpapertickets.com/.
The dinner will be prepared with produce and protein that is being donated by Riverdog Farm and there will beer donations from Ghost Town and wines by Tessier (Berkeley). The first course will be Asparagus and Little Gem Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette and Green Garlic and Grana Padano Pizza. This will be followed by Spare Ribs alla Diavola with Braised Greens with Pickled Onions, Roasted Tokyo Turnips with Honey and Herbs, Gratin of White Beans, Spinach, Bread Crumbs and Pecorino, and Benchmark Pizza: Tomato, Fresh Mozzarella and Oregano. The dessert will be Brioche Bread Pudding with Butterscotch and Whipped Cream, plus Oranges with Mint and Honey. Coffee, produce, wine and beer have been made possible by local donations.
Unchanged is Executive Chef and co-owner Peter Swanson’s Italian-Californian lunch, brunch and dinner menus prepared with seasonal, often locally sourced, organic ingredients. Working with Peter is Chef de Cuisine Jennifer Moffitt and Operations Manager and co-owner Melissa Swanson.
The Benchmark Oakland beverage selection includes an international wine list, assorted beers and craft cocktails. During Happy Hour, Monday through Friday from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m., there is special pricing on house wines and select beers, as well as for small bites such as Cacio e Pepe Popcorn, Spicy Chicken Wings and Anchovy Toast.
Chef Swanson, 45 years old, set the stage for coming to Oakland by opening Benchmark Pizzeria in Kensington, California, in 2012. Previous professional experience includes working as lead line cook at Oliveto Cafe & Restaurant and helping open Dopo where he remained as sous chef for six years. Also playing a central role in the kitchen is Chef de Cuisine Jennifer Moffitt who was most recently at Boot & Shoe Service and who has also spent time in kitchens in Boston, Seattle and the Bay Area (Pican, Gather and 2223 Restaurant, in addition to Boot & Shoe).
Working to ensure that the entirety of the Benchmark Oakland dining experience is a good one is co-owner Melissa Swanson who was at Oliveto for ten years, at Chez Panisse as a server in the cafe upstairs and also helped with her family’s organic baby food company.
The building housing Benchmark Oakland is an historic structure erected in 1876 and a portion of the restaurant’s mosaic and tile flooring has been in place for the better part of a century. Highlights of the comfortable, engaging 50-seat dining room designed by Said Jon Eghbal, in collaboration with the Swansons, include a burnt orange and black color scheme, wood-topped tables, a high ceiling, abundant natural light from over-sized windows and an exhibition kitchen. On display are framed photographs of namesake round metal benchmark markers. The zinc-topped bar has room for 10 people and there is outdoor sidewalk patio seating for up to 16, weather permitting.
Benchmark Oakland is located at 499 9th Street, on the corner of Washington Street. The restaurant is open weekdays for lunch and nightly for dinner, Monday through Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., Friday 11:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., Saturday 5:30 to 10:00 p.m., and on Sunday 5:30 to 9:00 p.m. Brunch is served on Saturday and Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. An adjacent pay lot and neighborhood streets ensure accessible parking options. The web address is www.benchmarkoakland.com. Additional information and reservations, also available through Resy, can be obtained by calling (510) 488-6677.