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Walnut Creek Magazine

Emeryville's The Periodic Table Features Winning Elements

Oct 02, 2017 11:14AM ● By Fran Miller

Photo by Eric Rorer

Jake Freed and Hiroko Nakamura, the husband and wife team behind the successful fast-casual ramen house, Shiba Ramen in Emeryville’s Pubic Market, have opened a companion tap room and sake bar right next door. Stylish and intimate, The Periodic Table, features sake, Japanese distilled spirits, craft cocktails based on Japanese spirits, and a wide range of craft brews sourced from the Bay Area and beyond. To complement the bar program, The Periodic Table serves simply prepared West-meets-East influenced bar bites.

Photo by Eric Rorer

Good Chemistry

The Periodic Table evolved out of Freed and Nakamura’s desire to introduce Japanese drinking culture to a wider American audience, and to fulfill a taproom need in the popular Public Market. Both Freed and Nakamura are Harvard-trained PhD chemists who met while working on a molecule-model project at Harvard. The Periodic Table combines their organic chemistry backgrounds with their passions for Japanese culture, good drinking, and modern design.

Stylish Design

Designed by Oakland architecture and interior design firm Arcsine, with input from Freed and Nakamura, the décor features dark blue Richlite countertops, blue and white half-hexagon tile mosaics arranged in a traditional Japanese geometric tortoiseshell pattern, and laser-cut oak screens in the same pattern. Extensive oak paneling and parallel oak ceiling beams add intimacy and warmth to the small space. Six pendant lamps, shaped like chemistry flasks, hang in front of the oak screens. The back-bar shelving is fashioned to resemble the periodic table of elements featuring a collection of colored fabric panels. Panel designs include elements like Californium and Nihonium, a 500-year-old sake logo, and drinkware. The bar space seats 18 people; a wall-mounted TV is tuned to the day’s sporting events. To further illustrate Freed and Nakamura’s connection to chemistry, The Periodic Table’s logo is a graphic representation of the ethanol molecule.

Photo courtesy of The Periodic Table

Drinks and Eats

The Periodic Table features a selection of curated sakes, craft brews from the Bay Area and Japan, as well as Japanese whisky, and shochu. The menu showcases Japanese-inspired cocktails such as the Shochu Highball served with lemon or seasonal fruit ($6) and the Bloody Mariko, a shochu Bloody Mary with wasabi ($10). The Periodic Table also operates as a bottle shop selling sake and other bottled alcohol; patrons are encouraged to further explore at home. The food menu features an assortment of simply prepared dishes that pair well with sake and beer such as pickles, charcuterie, and cheese and The TPT Burger with yuzu kosho mayo, shiso, griddled onions, and house slaw, served on sesame pain au lait ($11), as well as dishes from next door Shiba Ramen such as Nagoya-style fried sesame pepper Shiba Wings ($7.50 for six pieces, $13 for twelve pieces), Chashu Pies stuffed with miso pork chashu ($4) and ramen ($10.50 - $13.50). The food program is jointly overseen by Nakamura and Chef Danny Keiser, who assumed culinary development and kitchen oversight for Shiba Ramen in late 2016.

The Periodic Table:  5959 Shellmound Street #11 : Emeryville, CA

Monday - Saturday: 11am - 9pm

Sunday: 11am - 8pm


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