Upscaling in Orinda
Theater Square in Orinda has been home to a casual restaurant named Table 24 for the last 6 years. Recently the owner, Michael Karp, gave it a minor face-lift and a major menu change, re-naming the joint Wild Magnolia. It’s a considerably more upscale facility these days, tablecloths and all.
The physical changes are relatively minor–new lighting, some re-purposed windows hung in front of the wood fired pizza oven, a change of tables and chairs. It’s more modern than before, but you still have to go outside and around the building to find the restrooms.
The food, from executive chef Ulises Santiago, is very modern. Fresh, organic, healthy and with an emphasis on small plates that could be shared. Exactly what the health conscious, upscale, tres modern clientele of Orinda would appreciate.
Gail and Toby were taking me out for my birthday. We had a reservation, but 7:40 on a Monday night in the ‘burbs is pretty slow and we didn’t really need it.
Wild Magnolia has a full bar, if that’s your thing. They got the lime in my iced tea right, but have no Splenda or Equal–only stevia, because that’s what’s trendy. Automatic score deduction for preachiness.
Gail and Toby had a wild mushroom flatbread to start. I cadged a small slice, removed the fungus and enjoyed the thin but chew crust. The dish comes with a heap of arugula on top of the flatbread, but nobody seemed much interested in it.
I had the truffled fries, and they were excellent. The rich aroma of truffle oil filled the table and the fries were perfectly done.
We also had an order of “zoodles”, this years fad.
Drown anything in enough butter and garlic and you’ll be a happy camper. If you can label it “gluten and carb free”, so much the better.
I had the wild salmon. Of course it’s wild: a place like this would die of shame if they had a piece of farmed fish on site.
The salmon was cooked perfectly. The melangé of farro, carrots and kale was a well designed side, hearty and filling. I’d cook the farro and carrots at home. Kale, I can live without.
Wild Magnolia is a nice addition to the area. The food is excellent, the service was friendly efficient and smooth. Prices are reasonable for the quality received. Give this place a try.