Paul Canales, formerly executive chef at Oliveto, is getting very close to opening his Spanish restaurant-cum-music venue, Duende. The 4,000-square-foot space, which is also going to have an adjacent "bodega" with an art gallery, wine and charcuterie shop, and coffee bar, is in the historic Floral Depot Building in Oakland’s Uptown, which is also home to Flora and Xolo. Canales said he wanted to model Duende after the "playful collision of spaces" he saw at Royal/T, the now shuttered gallery, event space, gift shop and café in Culver City.
The restaurant has a new neon sign out front fabricated by Jim Rizzo of Neon Works to complement the Fox Theater’s big signage across the street, and Flora’s as well. And on the menu you can expect paella, of course, as well as dishes reflecting the whole melting pot of Spanish cuisine, with its French, North African, and Italian influences. We also gather Canales is making some mean soprasetta.
On the new website, Canales defines the word "duende" (a Spanish word that can mean "goblin") as "The spirit of evocation, soul and creative expression of which the core elements are irrationality, earthiness, heightened awareness of death, and a dash of the diabolical… Like duende the art concept, the aesthetic of DUENDE the restaurant will be cool, deep, heartfelt, and soulful."
Tonight there’s a pre-opening music event featuring Charlie Hunter and Scott Amendola Duo, and there are still some tickets available.
We’re still awaiting a firm opening date from Canales, but the Chronicle mentioned this morning that it will be in "late December." Stay tuned for a menu, and more.