As we’ve noted, Eric Tucker is planning Encuentro Cafe and Wine Bar in downtown Oakland, and the Millennium chef revealed today that it won’t be strictly vegan. The menu of bar snacks and sandwiches will include deviled eggs and a cheese plate, thought that last will be available in vegan and non-vegan forms. But even when he’s bad, he’s good. “When we do do dairy, it’s going to be locally sourced dairy; vegetable rennet, organic if possible,” Tucker said. He and partners Lacey Sher — who once owned Down to Earth in Red Bank, New Jersey — and Linda Braz, plan to open Thanksgiving weekend.
But what of the wine? “We’ve got a small, eclectic, mostly California list of wines that hit organic, sustainable, and a couple biodynamic parameters. For the time-being it’s an all by-the-glass list. A lot of wonderful, smaller purveyors that you can’t buy retail and I haven’t seen in too many restaurants around here,” Tucker told us. The most substantial food on the menu will be panini sandwiches, but for the most part it’s bar snacks. “Simple, small plate things: Roasted baby artichokes, gigante beans and sofrito, savory tomato bread pudding, oven crisped kale — a kale that’s been turned into kind of a potato chip,” Tucker said. He’ll stay on at Millennium too, but will put in his spare time at the 30-seat Encuentro. “I’ll be doing morning prep and will be there one night a week. I hope to be more in the front than back, for a change.”
Earlier: Millennium Chef Heding to Oakland [Grub Street SF]