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San Francisco Bay Area El Cerrito

El Cerrito – Little Ange’s grilled meats ??? ... gratuitous info about Antler’s in Pinole


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El Cerrito – Little Ange’s grilled meats ??? ... gratuitous info about Antler’s in Pinole

rworange | Aug 4, 2006 07:47 PM

This week’s East Bay Express review mentions Little Ange’s in El Cerrito.

John Birdsall writes

“Little Ange's has something special: a line cook who works killer transformations on meats sourced from the cooler bins at Costco or Smart & Final ... He knows what he's doing. The three loin chops are a proper medium-rare (deep pink around a central whorl that oozes red juice)”

Supposedly they have good gumbo too.

The cook, Todd Allen, worked in steakhouses and, I guess, worked in the kitchen of the Duck Club for a while.

So has anyone tried this place? It sounds like it is near Golden Gate Fields.

I don’t know how reliable the actual description of the place is. Birdsdall is out of his comfort zone in restaurants like Nellie’s and finds them a lot more colorful than they actually are.

When he was a critic on the Contra Costa Times, I emailed a complaint to Birdsall and the editors of that paper when he picked up on one of my Chowhound posts about a breakfast place in Pinole. It is a blue collar place, but Birdsall’s description of it was unfair and, from my experience, untrue. It embarrassed the restaurant.

I wrote that for the few bucks that the breakfast cost, maybe don’t do reviews about little places like this if it doesn’t meet certain personal standards. There were lots of interesting little restaurants in the area. Birdsdall emailed back about many of the restaurants I was posting about in the area ...

“I'd have written about prime rib night at Antlers Tavern, but I know there are only about 15 servings. I'd have written about the chicken joint if there were more to it than one dish. I did write a lengthy description of the beajoulais nouveau party at Swish, gave them props in a recent column about Vintage Berkeley. We who love Pinole love what's surprising, and very often outside of time about it. Right? That's a very rare quality for the intensively cultivated Bay Area. So your foot might stick at the Alley; so the pancake is remarkable for its size, not it's deliciousness; so the door out to the bathroom is covered with a black lacquer of hand grease; so the syrup contains about as much maple sap as a Pepsi. That's the point: it's not Bette's Oceanview Diner, even a Bette's filled with the crisply-dressed churchgoers you've seen there after mass. You seem to fear I've surrounded Pinole with yellow tape, warning readers to avoid it as if it were some crackpot village of the damned, where unshaven residents drool and shout across rooms at each other.”

Yeah, that’s my fear exactly. That little place is nothing like that. So the food must be good at Little Angie’s. However, sight unseen, I’d take the description of the place with a grain of salt ... again with "the patina of nicotine that still stains its ceiling" ... how long has it been since people smoked in restaurants ... and it seems Antler’s finally got worked into a review.

Alley Café from my perspective

Antlers Tavern - The $5 Tri Tip Dinner

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