A shot of the restaurant’s exterior at night. Slow is located downtown at 1966 University Ave.
It was a long and winding road that led Chef Kyle Anderson to opening his new eatery, Slow. A native of Omaha, Nebraska, Chef Kyle worked in the kitchens of Michelin three-star and AAA five-star restaurants, including Charlie Trotter's in Chicago and Daniel in New York. As a chef at high-end institutions, he noted that menu pricing consistently included significant mark-up—but that it didn’t have to be that way. Enter Slow: a casual, gourmet eatery, founded in sweet-and-savory partnership with Christopher Blue of Chocolatier Blue next door.
The restaurant takes a “no frills” approach to its operations, stripping unnecessary amenities and concentrating wholeheartedly on the food. Chef Kyle employs many effective cost-cutting measures, such as hiring a devoted full-time staff of only three people, using compostable wares instead of formal settings, and buying ingredients seasonally and from the source; he even built much of the space with his own two hands. Although it’s exhausting work, Chef Kyle noted that the sacrifices are worth it to bring delicious, affordable, food to the masses—by the end of our meal, we thought so too.
The modest space features an open kitchen with counter and outdoor rose garden patio seating.
We began our dinner with a small plate: the visually stunning “Margherita” puffed flat bread, jeweled with fresh tomatoes and herbs. Chef Kyle had mentioned that he’d originally conceived of a pastry-centered complement to his partner’s chocolate shop, a theme that was continued in the puff-pastry texture of the bread. Also pictured below is the accompanying peach iced tea I ordered, subtle and fresh with real peach bits floating inside.
Peach iced tea and the Margherita puffed flat bread small plate.
For my entree, I had the free-range chicken confit, which was, in a word, delicious; the meat was juicy and the skin perfectly browned. The sides of flageolet beans, surprisingly refreshing roasted beets, and haricot verts complimented the chicken nicely. My self-described “wannabe foodie friend” also enjoyed his braised short rib. The beef was melt-in-your-mouth tender; served with seasoned carrots, roasted cippolini onion, and mascarpone polenta, the flavors called to mind a much-upgraded pot roast. The most impressive part of the meal was how inexpensive it was; dinner entrees average $11 a plate, and lunch only half that.
The entrees: free-range chicken confit (top) and braised short rib (bottom).
After dinner, we chatted with Chef Kyle about his passion and vision for Slow. He told us that he decided to open his restaurant in Berkeley because he believed the locals were knowledgeable about food and could appreciate its simple, quality concept. We'll have to agree.