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Hollow Leg's Profile

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Alameda - Japanese - Sushi - "Sushi House"

On an island that contains Angelfish, Yume, and even Kamakura, I have no idea why anyone would ever go to Sushi House. Crowded, terrible service, mediocre fish.

Then again, I like traditional sashimi and nigiri, not giant $12 kitchen sink rolls topped with pencil shavings and RC Cola.

Egg Foo Young (Old School version)

Fortune Cookie on Webster, in Alameda, makes all your old-school American Chinese favorites, including Egg Foo Young, Chop Suey, General's Chicken, and so on. Take out or delivery only.

Their sign isn't as cool as Gim's but the food is better IMO.

Recent Gary Danko Recommendations?

No doubt the OP has already come and gone, but I'll offer my opinions from the current menu:

Appetizer: Seared Foie Gras. Absolutely sublime. Defines "rich" but retains balance. If he took this off the menu there would be riots.

Fish: Herb Crusted Ahi. Advised by the waitstaff since I had already chosen the venison, and correctly so. Very fresh and green and French-tasting, not Japanese at all as you'd expect from the ingredients. Smooth and subtle. If you order it anything but raw/seared you are a Philistine. Contrasts perfectly with...

Meat: Juniper Crusted Venison. This is full of hearty winter ingredients and flavors: smoky (chestnut spaetzle), gamy (rare venison), fruity (cranberry-based sauce), and just a hint of peppery. Symphonic, wonderful, and strongly flavored -- a fitting main course. Warning: not for the timid. Those afraid of big flavors should get something like the lobster.

Cheese: It's the cheese cart. You already know whether you want it or not. We did.

Desserts: Five Preparations of Apple. A wonderful little game with four shot glasses full of different apple desserts, hot and cold, and a little apple salad. It's like a tasting menu of apple desserts, all delicious.

Do you get the idea I enjoyed all of the dishes? You're right, I regret nothing. A less decadent person would have started with a salad, but missing the foie gras would be criminal, and I can make my own damn salads.

Costco Mexican Coca Cola - - No!

Really? The last time I checked Mexican bottled Coke was labeled "sugar and/or HFCS". That's when I stopped buying it at taquerias. Does Costco get it from a different bottler?

Alameda: Park Street Marketplace

Both JP and Baron's are excellent.

Everything at JP is always fresh: if they can't get great fish, they just won't carry it that day instead of stocking something substandard. They're also very helpful with cooking suggestions. The diver scallops and oysters are amazing, and they frequently have tasty oddball stuff like skate wings and whole squid in addition to the usual salmon, ahi, and whatever. It's a family business and they take well-deserved pride in it.

Baron's has the best red meats in the area, period, which is saying something when you're on the same island as Scalise and Sons. You can get everything from ground chuck all the way up to dry-aged grass-fed filet mignon, and they have a huge selection of tasty sausages.

Fish & Chips

H. Salt in San Jose. Totally downmarket, but better than anything else I've had in the Bay Area regardless of price, "authenticity", or proximity to a pub. Their onion rings are very good, too.

The best I've had, period, is at the Boathouse in Bodega Bay.

Xyclo Vietnamese on Piedmont Ave.

Been there twice and it was great both times...think of a lower-budget version of Slanted Door.

The Double Surprise rolls are a great combination of cold and hot, crunchy and chewy.
The apple salad is an excellent fresh combination of flavors, nicely presented.
Contrary to some other reviewers, I found the carpaccio quite tasty, although between all the vinegar and capers and spices, you don't taste the meat much.
Garlic noodles are not too heavy but also not very spicy: definitely a pleasant interlude vs. a dish.
Tumbling Dice is Shaking Beef, but for under $20.
To my mind, the standout is the curry fish. It's got that light crunchy texture you only get out of the best Szechuan beef, and a little bit of the taste, though more spicy, less hot, and much lighter because it's not drowning in gluey sauce.
Haven't tried the ribs or the clay pot.

All the flavors were well-mixed and well-presented: you can tell there's a chef at work and not just someone making food. Service is a bit overwhelmed...not bad, just a little slow sometimes, possibly due to success (they're a lot busier than they were).

Eventually it'll get too crowded to eat there and prices will go up, but I'll enjoy it while I can.

Barbecue: let's dispel some myths

Ribs are a whole another thing unto themselves. There's a whole lot to talk about with ribs, but they're not barbecue.

As Punko said, if I were being a regional bigot, I'd be ranting about how brisket really isn't barbecue, let alone the unclean intrusion of mustard or tomato into the sauce.

As rich in stl said, it's the cooking technique: low and slow. 3-4 hours is not nearly low and slow enough. To get real barbecue, you have to go either all day or overnight. And the only place I've found so far that actually does that is Great American.

As far as the sauce: yes, sauce is important, but it had better not come on the meat. That just means that you've got a pile of tough or burnt meat that you're trying to disguise. The proper amount of sauce is a very personal decision, and it also depends on the fat and end/surface content of the meat on your plate.

I guess I'm a traditionalist. If you've eaten real barbecue you'll understand. I love grilling meat, but I can do that myself at home.

eatzalot: I'll have to try Uncle Frank's...sounds like the brisket could be the real thing.

Meanwhile, anyone wanting to know what I mean should come up to Alameda sometime. If I'm around I'll meet you for lunch or dinner.

Barbecue: let's dispel some myths

"Slices" are the problem. If it needs to be sliced at any stage, it hasn't been cooked long enough and isn't tender enough to be barbecue. Memphis Minnie's has a good selection of sauces, and their food isn't bad. But it isn't barbecue.

rich in stl: I'm marking the Fairfield event on my calendar. Thanks!

Barbecue: let's dispel some myths

Let's dispel some myths about barbecue.

First, ribs are not barbecue. Barbecue is pork shoulder, or if you're from Texas, beef brisket.

Barbecue is slow-cooked, preferably in a pit, at least overnight. If it doesn't fall apart, it's not barbecue. If you need a knife, it's not barbecue. Grilled meat is tasty but it's not barbecue. What most of us call "barbecue" is "grilling".

Barbecue does NOT come pre-sauced, ever. The sauce should be in a ketchup squeeze bottle on the table, or in a little container if your meal is to go.

Sauce composition depends where you're from. Around the Mason-Dixon line it's primarily vinegar based...further south it gets more tomato-based and much sweeter. It's usually not thick and smoky...smoke comes from the meat, not the sauce.

Memphis Minnie's is not barbecue. Everett and Jones is terrible, and it's not barbecue either. Even the place that used to smoke meat in old oil drums under the gas station canopy on Old Oakland Road in San Jose isn't barbecue (though it was tasty).

The only place in the Bay Area I've found that cooks real barbecue is Great American Barbecue Co. in Alameda. The pork shoulder and beef brisket are both fully legitimate, the sandwiches are huge, and the sauces are exceptionally tasty and not too sweet. (I prefer the medium, but they're all mostly the same.)

As has been said, it's really easy to miss the place. Drive over the High St. bridge and it's literally the first thing on your right. Their signage sucks...I drove by it hundreds of times before I noticed it was there.

No, I don't work there or have anything to do with the place. I was just happy to discover a place that served real barbecue after being disappointed so many times by places that claimed to but didn't.

Anyone know any other places that serve real barbecue?

NC Barbecue?

Assuming NC-style is like Kentucky and Tennessee style, the Great American Barbecue Co. in Alameda is the only legitimate place I've found. Pulled pork shoulder smoked overnight...yes.

The sauce might be a touch sweet if you're used to the northern style that's almost all vinegar, but it's quite tasty...and not a horrible sugary "smoke"-flavored mess.

Worth a trip to Alameda?

Sushi House serves some of the worst sushi I've ever had the displeasure to taste, and the service is indifferent at best. It's not cheap, either. I have no idea why it's so popular.

Angelfish, on the other hand, is worth the trip. There is no comparison between the two.

Toomie's Thai serves a wicked plate of pad khee mao, and the other lunch specials are really good too -- except the pad thai, which is nothing special. Get something else.

The best deli sandwiches on the island come out of the Scalise and Sons meat counter in the pleasingly retro Encinal Shopping Center at Encinal and High. The meat and cheese selection is stunning. Unfortunately it's take-out only.

Domenico's on Webster is a close second place. The sandwiches are just as good, but the selection of meats and cheeses isn't as broad as Scalise and Sons. However, you can actually sit down and drink a Stewart's with your meal.

Baron's Meats and JP Seafood, in the Alameda Marketplace, are worth a shopping trip. Both are staffed by extremely helpful people and stock the best quality meat and fish.

I don't think there's any Mexican food in Alameda worth making the trip from Oakland, except *maybe* the tequila lime chicken at La Pinata.

FRESH Sashimi in East Bay?

Just had another delicious meal at Angelfish. Plus they serve ankimo...get it while it's in season.

India Palace (Fillmore x Post), San Francisco

I don't really like gulab jaam, so I can't tell you whether theirs is any good.

Seriously: this place deserves some more business. They get enough customers that the food stays fresh, but at those prices you'd think they'd be jam-packed all day. It's easy to eat $8 worth of garlic naan alone.

India Palace (Fillmore x Post), San Francisco

Finally, an Indian buffet that doesn't suck, although you have to go to Japantown to find it.

In fact, several dishes are excellent (the chicken tikka stands out), and the naan and samosas are both tasty and fresh. Service is good. I keep on trying other cheap Indian places and ending up back here. The kicker: $7.95!

It's quality over quantity: there aren't all that many dishes on the buffet, but what's there is good. If you need more selection you can order off the menu.

Apparently they have a website:

Dim Sum at East Ocean (Alameda)

East Ocean is still the best dim sum value in the Bay Area. They make the fluffiest steamed pork buns I've had in a long time, and the place is always packed on weekends so everything is fresh. I've had marginally better dim sum but it cost three times as much...we had six plates for $20 including tip.

FRESH Sashimi in East Bay?

I've had good experiences at Angelfish on Bay Farm Island, near the Oakland airport.