Chilebrown at home

Thursday, November 8, 2012


We are mounting our horses and sauntering down to Tanya Holland’s cowboy themed BBQ restaurant ‘B-Side BBQ’. We are not sure our horses will be outside when we finish because this BBQ joint is located in the Wild West Oakland California. Thankfully we got a parking spot out front. Safely inside this small restaurant we were pleasantly greeted with a cowboy themed décor. Tables that had brand markings were corralled by walls decorated with old west pictures. We lassoed a table and surveyed the menu. We made our choices and placed our orders. Guess who walked through the door and sat right next to us? Yes you are right, it was Narsai David. This would be a celebrity fueled lunch.

The menu has the usual BBQ fair with meats and side dishes. Everything is ordered separately and is priced on the high side. All dishes are accompanied by some pickled vegetables and some ‘Texas Toast’ that is made with ‘Acme Pain de Mie”. B-Side has a full bar and a good selection of micro beers to choose from. Most bbq restaurants offer a plate with a combination of meats so you can sample a variety of their offerings. This was not the case here so I ordered a plate of brown sugar rubbed brisket and a plate of ‘St. Louis Dark & Stormy’ ribs. Ms. Goofy ordered a pulled pork sandwich and a side of mac & cheese. Narsai ordered a few different plates and an appetizer of deep fired okra that he shared with us.

Our food arrived and it looked picture perfect. Let’s start with Ms. Goofy’s sandwich. This large ‘Semifreddi’ roll surrounded and cradled pulled pork saturated with hot vinegar sauce and topped high with spicy slaw. Ms. Goofy had a choice of spicy or mild slaw and made the wrong choice. The cook was a little too generous with the amount of slaw and the degree of heat. The pulled pork was tender and flavorful but it was overpowered by the amount and heat of the slaw. The pulled pork was on the greasy side demonstrated by the pool of fat on the bottom of Ms. Goofy’s plate/tray. The mac & cheese side dish was pedestrian

Dark & Stormy St. Louis Style ribs were marinated with stout beer and ginger. The crust was flavorful and interesting. The actual meat was on the tough side and overcooked. It was served with a lackluster tomato based sauce. Enough of this not so flattering critique and on to the highlight of the meal; Brown Sugar rubbed brisket. This was some of the best brisket I have had in a long time. It was so tender it could be eaten with a fork. It had a dry rub that consisted of a paste of brown sugar and black pepper. This rub rocked the brisket to stardom. The pepper was not overpowering but complimenting the beefy flavor. Another star of this plate was the little side of pickled peppers. cauliflower, onions, peppers, and carrots in a sweet/tart vinegar was the perfect accompaniment to the rich brisket.
    Narsai’s deep fried okra did not impress. B-Side BBQ is a fun cowboy themed restaurant located in a challenged neighborhood. The brisket was impressive, the rest not. The food was visually stunning but did not live up to their appearance. There are too many other great BBQ joints in the Bay Area that I want to spend my money at. Narsai David did give us a lesson on proper bow tie’s.

B-Side BBQ
3303 San Pablo Av.
Oakland, Ca. 94608
510 595-0227


Aaron said...

I agree- brisket's the only way to go here. The pickle is good but the bread is a jarring choice. The side to get was roasted yams, but I see they have been replaced by smoked and mashed yams.

Speaking of brisket, I placed a ban on Uncle Willie's (downtown) a year or so ago due to pale, wan, tough brisket but yesterday I needed a fix and lifted the ban. The brisket was excellent, with plentiful toothsome bark, tender meat and good smoke flavor.

A return visit must be made before they are declared fully rehabilitated.

Kailyn said...

You still need to hit Brick Pig's House. They have my favorite brisket to date.

As for the neighborhood that B-Side is in, I am totally cool with going there in daylight. Then again I go to a lot of neighborhoods that many others wouldn't.

Chilebrown said...

Hey Aaron, Long time no see.I have a new respect for brisket. I have never been to Uncle Willies. We may have to meat there. Our next event is Lake Havasu. See you soon!

Kailyn, Bricks Pig's House is on our list.Smoky J's Q House is next.
I am an Oakland native and work in Downtown Richmond.I limit my visits to daylight hours like you. One block from B-Side was a store that had almost a dozen people congregating that knew we did not belong in this neighborhood.

cookiecrumb said...

That's a great review. And Narsai shows up! BFFs now.

Chilebrown said...

cookiecrumb, Narsai was a gentlemen. We talked about barbeque and he shared his appetizer with us.

Chris said...

What was the heat in the slaw, raw chiles? It doesn't look loaded with rub or anything like that so I was curious.

Chilebrown said...

Chris, I am going to guess cayenne powder.