Slow In Berkeley Does Quick Food Right

Slow in Berkeley does quick food right

Its name intimates the pacing of a turtle, but in truth, Berkeley's Slow has the soul of a hare.

We'll explain. The weeks-old, casual restaurant from Kyle Anderson harnesses the trappings of so much Bay Area food: local, seasonal ingredients cooked in traditional French and Italian styles.

Fine. From there, though, Slow zooms into uncharted territory.

The prices for lunch and dinner are moderate, with no dish over $12, and the food arrives quickly, thanks to counter service and a short menu.

Rapid as they come, Anderson's dishes are studded with thoughtful flourishes, echoes of his fine-dining training under chefs including Charlie Trotter and Daniel Boulud.

At dinner recently, mussels ($6) were garnished with pickled shallots and served chilled with carrots in a citrus-laced broth. "Puffed" bread ($5) comprised a shattering raft of puff pastry speckled with goat cheese, caramelized onions, cremini mushrooms and arugula.

Anderson's chicken confit ($11) could easily oust duck's standing as the preeminent bird choice for the luxuriant cooking technique. The skin crackled under its lashing of lemon zest and chives. Alongside were well-seasoned green beans, roasted beets and braised flageolets.

Sure, the flageolets were a mite undercooked. But at these revolutionary prices and with this kind of smart cooking, we didn't mind in the slightest.

Slow, 1966 University Ave., Berkeley; 510-647-3663 or