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Blink and you'll miss the only East Bay restaurant with a Michelin star. No sign announces Commis, a slender, unassuming storefront in Oakland's Piedmont neighborhood, and the room is simple and polished: nothing distracts from the artistry of the food served here. Chef James Syhabout creates a fixed, multicourse menu ($75, wine pairing $45 additional) based on the season and his distinctive vision. Dishes might include poached egg yolk with smoked dates and alliums (members of the onion/garlic family) in malt vinegar, or duck roasted on the bone over charcoal with renderings, walnut, and persimmon. Diners don't see the menu until after the meal, the chef's way of ensuring that everyone comes to the table with an open mind. This isn't a place to grab a quick bite: meals last about three hours. The service is excellent.
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