Cruising down the East Bay's bbq row of San Pablo Avenue late this morning, I noticed that KC's (2613 San Pablo Ave., Berkeley, 510-548-1140) was still around. This was my favorite ages ago when I still lived in Berkeley and for some reason, I'd stayed away all this time.
I ordered a take-out lunch of the 2-way beef brisket and rib combo which comes with bbq beans, potato salad, and bread for $10.50. Checking out the antique washstands, victorolas, and family memorabilia that decorate the dining room while I waited for my order almost made me sorry that I didn't have more time to linger. Especially interesting was the case of now politically-incorrect "little black sambo" type tsotchkes.
They definitely get extra points for care in packaging take-out orders. The meats topped with sauce and potato salad are carefully arranged on the bottom of the cardboard carton. Then a layer of wax paper to separate the bread and small cup of beans. Using the kind that closes at the top, nothing spills out the sides. And, I liked the heavy napkins, lots of them too.
KC's had been my choice in the past because the sauce was lighter and fruitier and not as jammy and stewed-tasting as E&J's. Today I still feel the same way. But tasting the brisket also reminded me that E&J's meats are better. The ribs were just fine, but skip the brisket. Beans tasted burnt, and the potato salad had too much pickling spice for my taste. That's almost enough to hold me for the next 20 years...