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Restaurants & Bars 2

Chef Edwards, San Pablo Ave, first time

moto | Apr 29, 200605:49 AM

greetings, cane. My return loop from picking up some unroasted coffee (7 lbs.,three premium varieties, $36) would take me close to the reborn Chef Edwards bbq at 19th St. on San Pablo; I'd never had their interpretation from the old spot, and the price of gasoline dictates consolidating errands, so now's the time...
A tidy, small cafe counter-with-a-few-small tables arrangement. To sample a range of their offerings I ordered the piggly wiggly sandwich(4.75) which comes w. slaw, plus a two-way that comes w. two sides(11.25), my choices, both kinds of ribs, greens, and black-eyed peas. I liked how the crusty sandwich roll got grilled, and the large range of sides offered (partial list--mac'n'cheese, green beans, fries, potato salad,sweet potatoes in addition to my choices).

The early reviews posted on this place critiqued the efficiency of service. I was there at an off-peak time, so one lone woman ran the front--taking orders, serving the sides and wrapping the take outs, and serving the dine-ins--and my wait wasn't bad at all, but I couldn't say how well staffed busier times would be. Everyone working had imperfect(the woman's was earnest and efficient) or minimal fluency in English, so if someone had specific requests, Spanish might get better results.

Overall, I think the food is superior to the nearest competitor, Everett and Jones, but the flavor of the meats lacked assertiveness in both smoke and spice (not counting the sauce, which is best addressed separately).The pork in the piggly-wiggly had some dry and chewy parts from the edges, but there was a good portion of it. Didn't have the tender-shredded pulled pork texture, but it was o.k. There were two large beef ribs, tender but not falling off, whereas the pork ribs were falling-off. I'd requested the hotter sauce (only two options), it was basically medium, on the thin side, and very similar to a spiced-up Chinese-american sweet'n'sour sauce, which I didn't mind, but can't consider noteworthy either. The sides were good, and not salty, which is the usual defect, just straightforward and homey. The slaw had so much pickling spice it had turned to a color close to sauerkraut, but tasty, in a crunchy, non-salty sauerkraut way.

I wouldn't make a special trip there, but the decent portions/prices(the 16.25 included tax and would feed two well) and good sides might get me back to try the links and chicken. I'm sure the brisket won't equal M.Minnie's. For ribs, those from KC bbq in Berkeley (San Pablo Ave. nr. Parker) have better smoke (they go through a lot of oak) and overall flavor but they have minimal sides and flawed sauce. Bo's by my flawed standards isn't great enough to justify the trek out, so Flint's and Cliff's in SF are next for me to try. salud

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