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Smoke -- new BBQ (maybe) on San Pablo, Berkeley

I've had the brisket, and my serving was quite moist, tender, and flavorful. There's no pink 'smoke ring', but that's not really necessary.

I do wish the serving size was bigger - it's a few slices too small for my stomach. The brisket is so good, that it really only needs sauce sparingly, and mine was served smothered under it. A tasty, but itty-bitty cornbread muffin came with the meal. All in all good, but frankly a little pricey.

Good, well-priced meat market in East Bay/Tri-Valley

"mesquite is for grilling not smoking.'

In your opinion only.

In many parts of Texas, mesquite is THE choice for smoking.

Help me fill in the blank: Fleur de Lys, Incanto, ________?

Agreed on the tartare. I ordered it as a novelty, and to push my comfort zone, but will order it every time I re-visit. It's that good. Seriously good.

Help me fill in the blank: Fleur de Lys, Incanto, ________?

"Wood Tavern is more of a neighborhood restaurant in a small space (also need a rezzie as they are continuously busy). Camino is more of a destination in a handsome, expansive room, and they're unique in that everything is cooked on an open fire. "

I have found it next to impossible to get an Open Table Reservation at Wood Tavern. On the other hand, I've rarely had an issue as a walk-in at Camino, and often we have dinner in the 'bar' area.

Camino is certainly more expansive - with the beams and high ceilings - but the informal wood tables, communal seating, are pretty casual. And it is definitely as much of a neighborhood restaurant as WT.

The cocktails are good, but they are even better at Boot and Shoe down the street. Arguably, quite a bit better.

Help me fill in the blank: Fleur de Lys, Incanto, ________?

I think tied with Wood Tavern on that list should be Camino. Across the board excellent.

Non-vegetarian restaurant that does great vegetarian?

...as does Camino. There a always three entrees for the evening - one meat, usually one fish, and one vegetarian.

Help me decide! Adesso/Camino or Plum

I'm torn on Plum. Went there for a Valentine's Day prixe fixe and though it was great. A revisit on a 'normal' night and I though many of the flavors were a little muted and frankly the portion sizes were small - a few dishes outrageously so in my regard.

I love Adesso, but for dinner you can really only fill up on oysters, cured meat and booze. I've done it, and enjoyed it, but it's not for everyone.

Camino continues to be my go-to for a great meal. The menu is limited - there are generally only a veggie, meat and fish entree each night - but while it may not impress on paper on the plate it's never been anything other than fantastic. The starters are often even better than the mains, the wine selection is good and the cocktails are really interesting. It's just a solid restaurant. I'm not entirely crazy about the communal seating, but it's a small gripe.

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Adesso
4395 Piedmont Ave, Oakland, CA

Good Petite Sirah in Dry Creek area

I'll add in Preston, which is a nice experience overall, and David Coffaro which is a very laid-back, taste in a shack kind of place. With couches and a big screen TV. Don't be fooled, David makes some very, very good wines, and some which are just 'interesting'. You won't be bored.

Good Petite Sirah in Dry Creek area

Ridge, and not just for their Petite Sirah.

I'd look up Kokomo while you are out there - they are smaller outfit not a lot of people have heard of, doing some nice things.

Big Nates BBQ Review

See, this is the problem - good brisket shouldn't need sauce.

I'm not surprised by the review, as I went here years ago and thought it was really nothing special. The problem with many BBQ joints is if they don't have predictable foot traffic, I think they leave things in the smoker too long and they get dried out. But not long enough to get a smoke ring, though.

Memphis Minnies has, for my money (and my central-Texas bred palate), the best brisket in the city. It does have some inconsistencies (occasionally dry) - but when it's on it's excellent.

Best cioppino in San Francisco

I think the first time I went to Tadich upon moving here, which was admittedly years ago, the cioppino was a real disappointment. I seem to recall the shrimp were darn near like the frozen pop corn variety, limp and without flavor. The whole dish was off.

These days, I stick to the Charbroiled fish (usually the Petrale Sole), while my better half goes with the Seafood Saute (solid, though a bit rich).

Everett Jones BBQ in JLS Oakland

Hmmm...chunked? Sauce? That's how you hide mediocre brisket. But RL is usually spot on, so I'll have to give it a try.

MM does have the brisket that, on a good day, is a rival for any good Central Texas brisket. They can do a nice job, but consistency is an issue.

Dopo 2010

Agreed that the pizzas and salumi are quite good. Excellent, really. One night we were recommended the lasagna special and it was criminally oversalted. Service was excellent.

I'm underwhelmed by Oliveto, but I've only been once. I was drawn to their rabbit dish, a relative rarity, but it materialized as four very small portions wrapped in pancetta. The rabbit was overcooked and overwhelmed by the pancetta.

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Oliveto Cafe
5655 College Ave., Oakland, CA 94618

Bluefish at Hayes Street Grill

Nothing you've linked says the FDA issues a 'no eat' policy.

The data are also from the 80's.

Everything in moderation.

Best chicken mole in SF - where?

The best mole poblano in the city is at Nopalito. Lots of depth to the flavors, complex. The draw back is that it's $13 for a chicken leg. Granted, a fairly large leg, but it's pricey.

Across the board, they've done a very good job with the interior Mexican dishes there. Still lacking a little heat, but very good.

Nopa?

I can't believe anyone hasn't mentioned the pork chop. It's brined, and it's fantastic. As mentioned, hard to get a table, quite loud, but well worth it. The 'donut holes' for dessert are quite good.

Edit - missed the original reply which praised the chop!

Top 5 Napa Wineries

Rombauer is overcooked (Zin) and overpriced, IMHO.

Mexican Food in Bay Area

"The sesame seeds sprinkled on top was a nice unique touch."

That is the traditional way this dish is finished. Not exactly 'unique'.

Looking for pickled herring

Trader Joe's has pretty decent Herring (in a jar) as well - in wine or cream sauce.

My dinner at Incanto

I can see the OP's point on the lamb neck being gamy. I just had it last week and, when I actually stopped the bliss for a moment to talk to my wife, mentioned that this might not be the meal for everyone. It was, to my taste, a bit gamy which frankly was fantastic. But not everyone likes lamb that way. Agreed that he must source his lamb like everything else. It is nice to have lamb that doesn't taste like beef.

Certain cuts seem to have more, or less, of that than others. I've had tenderloin that was nearly devoid of it, while shoulder steaks are more so.

It was my first time having the neck, and it was simply perfection (as was the lamb kidney on mashed peas). Both the essence of spring.

I've also complained about aloof service before and finally had a perfect server, with great wine recommendations (a Super Tuscan I didn't know).

Chris Cosentino's Cooking at Incantato - anyone?

Maybe. Not everyone is into rabbit (and 'offal crustino'), and lamb neck may sound more adventurous than it really is. On any given night, half of the entrees may seem a little out of the norm for some. The OP was talking about taking his whole family out, which is why I mentioned it.

That said, Incanto does things that can change the way people feel about things they may not consider their favorites. My wife is not thrilled about duck - often too heavy, rich and fatty - but the papparedlle with braised duck and greens was a huge hit. Gorgeous plate.

Chris Cosentino's Cooking at Incantato - anyone?

Glad (sort of) to hear other people have felt a little left out by the service - it's not just me.

One can say many things about the food there, but I can't possibly imagine 'dull in flavor' being one of them. What did you have that was 'dull'?

The one caveat is that if you are not all that adventurous, the menu may seem limited. Certainly, those who like home-made salumi, and various odd bits and nasty pieces will be right at home (as am I). My wife...not so much. Myself, I can't wait to return for the 'duck fries'.

Cyrus (Healdsburg) - Report

You lost me when you said the d'Yquem and Gaja were 'okay'.

A Crash Course in San Francisco Dining...?

Seeing this post makes me wonder what I'm doing wrong at Incanto. I've been there a half dozen times or more, and though the food is wonderful...'fun staff'?

I wouldn't say I've had bad service. Perfunctory and aloof perhaps, and I have generally no great expectations for service. It's the darndest thing.

Is Brandy Ho's Hunan Going Downhill?

Just ordered delivery from the Castro street operation, and thought the results (steamed dumplings, three delicacies, lamb with string bean) were excellent.

I've eaten there sporatically over the past 5 years, and certainly their level of spice is erratic. On one visit a few years ago, they had a note saying they had changed or resourced their chili pods, and they were significantly spicier than before. I'm a lover of spicy food, but we ordered 'medium' heat that day and it was plenty hot.

Fast foward to this weekend, and 'medium' was a fair to low amount of spice. The food, though, was quite good. Excellent fresh ingredients (including the seafood).

"Southwestern" restaurants in the Bay Area?

I've had take-out from them twice now. The first was truly unimpressive - even the dished described as 'spicy' were totally bland. Not a good start.

The second try was better, so perhaps the kitchen is still fine tuning things. On the whole, the menu appears to be a pretty fair representation of some styles of New Mexican food.

Sonoma in April! Good lunch suggestions?

I admit that I've not tried many places in Point Reyes Station, mostly because I've been so pleasantly surprised with the Station Cafe. Agreed that they oysters are great (even the fried version), the sandwiches and all lunch entrees are fresh and tasty.

Best calamari Fritti, or fritto misto

The salt & pepper squid at Yuet Lee in Chinatown gets my vote for best.

Of course, no wine, cash only, and you'll be under the glare of fluorescent lights in one of Chinatown's ugliest restaurants (and that's saying something), but it's still oddly my favorite...

Nopa: I like it.

The problem with most pork chops is partly cooking, partly American pork. We've bread these guys to be so lean - the other white meat - that they've lost flavor.

Aside from well-purchased pork, the chops are also brined at Nopa which makes them fantastically juicy and flavorful.

favorite spots in Chinatown for a tourist who is not afraid of authentic food?

Yuet Lee is constistently great. Sit down, order the salt and pepper calamari before you get your menus, and then go from there...