We are in Oakland California to try the much anticipated opened 4505 Burgers & BBQ. This is a sister restaurant to the original San Francisco venue. Traffic was light today and we found a parking spot right across the busy street. Bring lots of quarters because you will need to feed the meter. It seems that the new 4505 occupies a former hot dog joint and have remodeled. There is a very neat old fashioned revolving sign proclaiming you have arrived at 4505.
Before we go any further I would like to mention this disclaimer to our critique of 4505. We are dedicated bbq judges. We taste championship bbq from some of the best bbq competitors in the nation. We eat, score and enjoy bbq almost every weekend. It can be a little hard to not judge even when we are not officially judging. With that said we enter 4505 with open minds. We would like to tell you our thoughts about the whole package of food, service and venue. Let’s go.
Walking into the restaurant you walk through a Disneyland type of que for the line. I believe they are expecting big crowds. It is around 1:00pm and the place is busy but not crowded. The line does move slowly even though it is not crowded. You make your menu choices from a printed paper menu located next to the cash register. There are a lot of choices and options. I also found out one must and cannot deviate from this printed menu. I usually order ribs, brisket and pork shoulder to sample. A three meat choice option is offered but for some reason ribs are not included with this offering. You can order ribs and other meats by the pound but be prepared to pay three times. Do not deviate from the menu I have been reminded and told.
The order is placed and you need to find a seat. The waitress will bring you meal to an outdoor table. The outside is fun and inviting. It is like being at a catered outdoor picnic party. There is an area for children and there are lots of board games available for young entertainment. There is a great local mural and some fun wall hangings make this an inviting area. It is a summer afternoon and I am not sure if this will work in the winter.
There is a station to for water and self-serve bbq sauce. Three choices that are all on the sweet side are available. House White that is mayonnaise based, a tomato base and our favorite mustard and vinegar. Our meals are delivered quickly. They look like they just have been arranged for a magazine layout photo shoot. They are beautiful and because one eats with their eyes first we are happy. Ms. Goofy tries her deep fried mac & cheese and it is almost refrigerator cold. I flagged down a waitress and she scurried off and replaced this transgression with a piping hot fresh replacement.
This Deep Fried Mac & Cheese has bits of 4505 hot dogs in the creamy center. The cheese & noodle is battered and deep fried. Ms. Goofy loves it. This was the highlight of her meal. She had a ¼ pound grass fed burger. This is 4505’s signature dish. Ms. Goofy liked it and devoured this small offering. I had a bite and it did have the slight gamy twang that grass fed beef sometimes has. (I am not a fan of grass fed anything). Ms. Goofy was happy with her meal and proclaims her love for deep fried mac & cheese.
I had a 2 meat combination of pork shoulder and brisket served with sides of Cole slaw and bbq beans. I really liked the sides of beans with shreds of smoky meat to make this a satisfying side dish. The Cole slaw was fresh and properly dressed. Some pickles were served that were sweet and crunchy. A very fresh parker house roll was soft and pillow like that had a slightly malty/sweet like top that was great. The brisket had good smoke flavor. It was dry and when I drenched it in the mustard sauce it was quit palatable. The pulled pork was chewy. This was a good chewy because it had nice balance of smoke and pork flavor. I believe there was some crunchy pork cracklin’s in this mix. (I sure hope they were pork cracklin’s)
Overall 4505 Burgers & BBQ is a great addition to the neighborhood. It is a clean, modern and fun place to bring the family. The staff is professional, young and great with service. Our waitress corrected the kitchen error immediately and with a smile. The kitchen turned out some magazine cover looking plates of food. It is impressive and appreciated when a restaurant turns out such a good looking plate of food. The meats are good, not great. I need to remind myself that we are not judging competition bbq and follow all menu rules. With that said; 4505 Burgers & BBQ has good food, great service and is a fun venue. Winner, Winner, BBQ Dinner.
Those rules are extremely off-putting; I do not recall ever seeing a meat banned from the combo plate. I would like to know the rationale for this- ribs are generally cheaper than brisket so it can't be price.
White sauce is only good for chicken (and should definitely not be sweet!); an odd one to pick if you only offer 3.
The Chronicle wrote this place up in a recent review of the "best" BBQ joints in the Bay Area and said to order... the burger. There are many problems with that article BTW.
Surprised you did not make a hipster comment.
Thanks for the intel.
Aaron, I make no apologies for my dislike of grass fed anything. I choose not to be politically correct in my meat choices. Speaking of choices from what I understand 'diet' sodas are not sold here. So many rules and restrictions. I am not sure if I am numb or just did not notice hipster factor. I would say the crowd was diverse and probably financialy sound. 4505 BbQ is not cheap. See you at the next bbq competition.
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