"Osmanthus is a modern-classic Asian restaurant located on College Avenue in Rockridge, Oakland. Our kitchen focuses on an array of Chinese Regional dishes, Japanese and South-East Asian flavors. We create bold flavors through casual dishes. A full bar serves craft cocktails inspired by Asian ingredients."
That's their description and here's mine in a word - ADDICTIVE!
Seriously, I've been there twice, once for lunch and once for dinner, and I'm hooked!
To be fair, I must admit I have addictive tendencies for the transportive qualities for all foods Asian - Chinese, Japanese, Burmese, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Thai, Korean - I crave it all.
I especially love the big, bold, complex flavors of this cuisine when it merges with what I like to call "California sensibilities". Basically that means, access to and use of the finest raw ingredients, an obsession with presentation, an unwavering dedication to ambiance - all in perfect concert with no sign of breaking a sweat.
Osmanthus has this, plus amazing cocktails, and is fast becoming a new favorite escape on College Ave.
A few stand-out items include: brussels sprouts with salt pork and honey-sriracha, prawns with coconut milk and mint leaves, dan dan noodles with ground pork and peanuts, and salmon with purple yam and curry.
I highly recommend you start with the single most addictive thing on the menu - the green tea leaf salad - a Burmese staple and something I could eat every single day of the week. I also recommend you check out Burmese Superstar for this intoxicating mash up of exotic tastes and textures.
For libations, if you like gin and ginger, and I do, I recommend the Ms Grant - as in Ms Ginger Grant from Gilligan's Island. Speaking of a stylish escape.