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Guided by hounds, to Uncle Frank's Bar-B-Q

Shep | Aug 29, 2005 08:54 PM

Good fortune got me from Livermore to Mountain View; sneakiness got me to Uncle Frank's. This place is in the venerable tradition of Bar-B-Q within a bar, as previously exemplified by Bobby's Backdoor, and by the lamented Wilson's,which flourished for a couple of bright, brief seasons in a scary club on E. 14th around 46th in Oakland. I knew I wanted a combo, and the links were not their own, so I went the State Trooper's Choice, brisket and ribs. The server was more than happy to put the sauce on the side, which turned out to be a fortunate choice.

Most forgettable side was the potato salad, seemingly straight from a supermarket deli. Not an onion in sight. I will double its volume with coarse-chopped red onions, and then I'll like it. The beans were seasoned unlike any beans I recall, almost like pumpkin pie seasoning, or maybe five-spice. I mixed in the crumbs of meat from the tray, and they were a great snack later on. Portions of both sides were generous, maybe a third of a pint each.

Now, meat. I've heard smoked meat described as melt-in-your-mouth tender, but never experienced it; this brisket truly fit the description. The beef was tender throughout, with a slightly oily, lush mouth feel like good cabeza. The smoke ring ran damn near to the center of each slice, and wood smoke permeated the meat (and still permeates my cubicle, hee hee). This brisket had no need of the pleasant enough, no heat sauce; a little German mustard and a good light rye would have been the perfect frame.

The pork was cut in a most unusual way; it was less like ribs than big chunks of boneless pork, with the type of black chewy surface I prefer, and again that red smoke tint permeating deep into the meat. Below the surface, the meat was very tender, with a flavor compounded of freshness and deep smoke. Again, the sauce was not really necessary; some lechon sauce would be good with this. Don't believe I've had pork like this ever before, but I'm gonna have it again. The combo came to $17.27, with tax.

Uncle Frank's
2135 Old Middlefield Way, just west of Rengstorff
Mountain View
In the back of Francesca’s bar.

While I waited for my order, I watched a guy working the room. Most of the diners seemed like old-time regulars. Then the guy came over and shook my hand and said, "Hi, I'm Uncle Frank." He seemed real glad I was there, and I'm sure glad that he's there.

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