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Really bad BBQ

Mrs. Smith | Jan 7, 200401:58 PM

We live in the neighborhood, which is the only excuse I have for this latest dining fiasco.

I KNOW that SF is not a good barbecue town. I know that, also, I don't necessarily know good barbecue having grown up bbq-deprived on the Arctic Tundra (Minnesota). But we thought we'd try Claypool's BBC on Steiner between Chestnut and Lombard. Bad mistake for two hungry people.

We ordered the "plates" (6.95) which means sandwiches with two sides. The side choices were 'Arkanslaw', which, being coleslaw ignoramuses we decided not to try, "Whiskey baked beans' and "Potato salad". I think this is supposed to be like Tennessee or Arkansas barbecue -- but whether there are differences between those states' respective barbecue traditions, or what they entail, I know not!

I ordered the chicken, Mr. ordered the pulled pork.

I have to say, the actual meat wasn't bad. The pulled pork was nicely shredded and the sauce was vinegary and peppy. Sam sauce for the chicken, in tender 1-inch chunks of both white and dark. Served with coleslaw ON IT (causing shivers of revulsion in we ignorant non-barbecue people) on a soft white bun that was obviously from a commercial bakery and not baked on the premises.

Ok, so the actual meat, which is their main product is okay. Next time, if there ever is one for me, I would order the "platter" which is just meat and cornbread and two sides, no sandwich bun.

However -- the sides were revolting.

The "whisky beans" had the unmistakable odor and flavor of stomach acid. Yes, you know what I mean. I could barely even taste one bite before I decided I was not going to eat them. They were soupy, and served inconveniently on the plate in a paper rectangular container, oozing out the edges. Yucky.

The potato salad was one of the strangest concoctions I've ever seen. The potatoes had the texture of being canned. The mayo-sauce had a thousand-island tinge of orange to it, and it was filled with shreds of strange pickle-like substances. And it was sour and hot at the same time. Not good.

They have RC cola on tap, which I like and remember from my youth. They also have Clausthammer nonalcoholic beer, which, for those of us who can't imbibe (I'm pregnant) right now is a good substitute for the real thing.

The smoked salmon sandwich sounded interesting -- smoked-on-the-premises (it said) salmon with cream cheese and cucumbers. Not what I'd expect at a barbecue joint, but, again what do I know. I might have that if I ever go back.

I will never order the sides again, though, and I'd have to be pretty desperate to go back.

Small tvs on the ceiling with Larry King Live playing. In a barbecue joint. You go figure. I suppose that's what I should expect from a barbecue place in the Marina District of San Francisco.... but I was hoping for more :(

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