What a lovely sunny day for a chowdown! Chowfish, Lisa K. and I met for Authentic Texas barbecue at Texas Original in downtown Oakland (14th at Jefferson) today. It's a really nice little place, with plenty of seating in a sunny storefront (facing west and, happily, not in the shadow of a huge office building). Wall murals feature a whimsical map of the state of Texas, and likenesses of some true American heroes - Martin Luther King, Jr., Thurgood Marshall, John F. Kennedy, and...Ronald Reagan (no, your eyes don't deceive you).
We ordered the 4 Way Combo ($12.95) which consists of ribs, brisket, links, and chicken, plus sides of beans, coleslaw, potato salad, and brown bread. We also got an order of fried catfish filet (which came with potato salad and fries!) for Melanie's benefit. (Though she didn't benefit much, not being there.) With a can of soda each, the total came to about 9 bucks per person! And I have a big parcel of leftovers in the fridge. What a steal...
Catfish - Delicious cornmeal batter, light as a feather! We were all really impressed with this dish. I have to say it's 10 times better than the places that specialize in southern-style fish and chips. The catfish tasted fresh and we didn't feel it was greasy at all. A deep-fried miracle! The fries and potato salad that came with it were in huge quantities, and perfectly respectable. Chowfish thought the potato salad heavy (too much mayonnaise?) but I thought it was acceptable.
Ribs - Darn good, meaty pork ribs with a heavy dose of sauce (tomato based, I think - the people working there didn't know). Lisa K. said she'd order the ribs without the extra sauce next time, the better to experience the meat. Some of the meat on the ribs was tough, but it sure was satisfying to gnaw on those bones. Not too much fat, either. Sometimes they have both pork and beef ribs, but not today.
Links - All agreed the links were not up to the standard of the rest of the meal. A little too hot-dog like. Slick and smooth, rather than coarse like a Sausage. Still, smothered in the tasty sweet barbecue sauce they were quite edible.
Brisket - Also smothered in sauce. Very moist, very tasty.
Chicken - Also smothered in sauce. Very moist, very smoky and tasty.
I've mentioned the potato salad. Coleslaw was heavy on the honey mustard, which I found odd. It was good and very fresh (crispy cabbage), but there was too goop on it.
A small container of baked beans was also included with our meal. Good, sweet, little beans (navy? definitely not pinto). Different from the ones in Texas (they're usually pinto, I think), but I liked them better.
The only drawback to this big meal was that everything was very sweet. There's no vinegary-y or mustard-y sauce to cut the sweetness. They do provide slices of brown bread, but we didn't even touch ours (it looked like Wonder).
Nice beverage selection, too! All the usual soft drinks plus Texas favorites grape and strawberry Welch's and Dr Pepper!
They also have a tray of wrapped desserts from a Richmond bakery by the cash register - chocolate cake, lemon cake, and an okay-looking sweet potato mini pie.
All in all a fabulous lunch for a fabulous price! Highly recommended...
614 14th St. (at Jefferson)