Pican is a restaurant in revitalized Uptown Oakland next door to Ozumo. New Orleans native Michael LeBlanc started this restaurant in 2009. This area is undergoing a transformation from long closed auto dealerships and the like to a modern inner city. It serves California infused Southern Cuisine with lots of fresh seasonal ingredients in a vibrant cosmopolitan atmosphere. They were on the Michelin Guide Bib Gourmand list for 2010.
Kitchen and Dining area
Beautiful Bar Area
Decor, Vibe – Beautiful modern bar area with communal tables up front, two dining areas near the kitchen. High ceilings, high people watching energy, stylish decor with Southern accents. A blend of well dressed folks were dining with most in their 30’s – 50’s.
Menu (Click to zoom into any picture)
Honey buttered cornbread was top notch. Keep some room for food though.
Mint Julep ($9) Evan Williams Black Label Bourbon; rock candy syrup; fresh mint was strong and potent. Perfect southern drink to stay in the mood. High quality spirits but a little too much ice.
“Southern Foie Gras” ($11) Crispy natural chicken livers, white cheddar biscuit, hot pepper jelly had three big deep fried artery clogging pieces of excellence. Extremely crispy and smooth liver taste.
Cauliflower Crab Bisque ($11) Cornmeal fried oyster, crushed pepper was creamy and warm, perfect for this cold night. Hard to taste the crab and cauliflower though.
Amuse Bouche – Fried Chicken Wing with hoppin’ john was hot out of the fryer and delectable.
Buttermilk Southern Fried Chicken ($23) Crisp natural chicken with a mini skillet of smoked gouda “mac ‘n cheese” requires a three-day journey in the kitchen from brining to batter to achieve this crispy, moist, and seasoned dish. Very large portion of chicken.
We added the optional tableside truffled organic honey service ($2) in which the server slow drizzled the decadant honey all over the fried chicken. The Mac and cheese was merely ok, no super nice crust or cheese flavor like nearby Flora’s.
California Collards ($6) big heap of sautéed, greens resulting in a textured, leafy green side that resembles chard. Flavorful, healthful unlike many versions.
Seasonal Fruit Fried Pie ($8) Ginger ice cream, caramel, dusted with powdered cane sugar was a tasty a la mode golden brown turnover filled with apples and contrasted with some mellow ginger ice cream.
“Low & Slow” Barbecued Pork Ribs ($25) Pecan and hickory wood smoked with pretty spicy peanut-jalapeno coleslaw and molasses bbq sauce was a huge portion of tender fall off the bone meat but the sauce was way too subdued. It could have used a stronger sauce.
Pican had very good service with lots of water refills, friendly interaction, and servers circulating constantly. Prices are moderately high but typical for higher end fine dining. Those on a budget can order cocktails and small plates, or split the large entrees. Pican is a solid place to dine at for those looking for modern Southern food. This restaurant reminds us of Wexler’s in San Francisco, but with much more solid Southern flare. Oakland has established itself with solid restaurants making the trip across the bridge to San Francisco optional.
Moderate small wine list with glasses from $7, bottles from $28.