Wife and I went to this BBQ and Seafood place in Pleasanton last night for the first time. OMG, I am now hooked. It was the best place around this part of the forest I have found for BBQ. I have not yet ever been to Bo's in Lafayette, but compared to Armadillo Willy's in Dublin, Emil Villa's in Walnut Creek, or Back Forty BBQ in San Ramon, this place ROCKS. Owner, Roderick Williams, was a very friendly guy, as was his enthusiastic staff. A clean place, in what seemed an unlikely location in a strip mall on Stoneridge Drive where it crosses Gibralter Drive, it was well lit and clean. Roderick said they are very busy for weekday lunch and at 5 or 6pm Saturday night, before we got there at 7pm, we were told that the line was out the door. The place was uncrowded and the crowd friendly when we got there, as two tv's played a football game. Service was fast, efficent, and enthusiastic.
Though Roderick's does seafood, like catfish (which looked fantastic), snapper, calamari, and shrimp, I can't attest to those dishes. But his ribs, we thought, were grand. Wife tried baby backs ($12.25 for regular). She loved them. I on the other hand, had Betty Jean's Alabama smoked ribs in combo with beef brisket ($17.00). They were a pork rib, basted in special herbs and spices. I was impressed by the flavor of all the meats. Though I thought the brisket could have been served a tad bit warmer to my liking, I usually don't order brisket, so luke warm might be about right, just like ribs usually seem to be served. Hey, my preference for warm meals, okay?
We both ordered "hot" sauce as opposed to mild. Hot sure made me sweat, a good thing, and put a smile on my face. Seems no matter where I go, hot sauce is dumbed down to gringo proportions. NOT HERE. Gosh, I was happy. HAPPY. Reminded me of Doug's BBQ in Oakland, but at least this was a place that had a dining room to eat in. More sauce was offered as a side to us by the server/cashier when he brought the meals to our table, and we happily agreed to his offer. In retrospect, I wish I had a gallon of it at home.........
Hush puppies were offered as an option to bread, and we agreed. They were crisp on the outside, tender inside. I don't have much hush puppy experience, but they were good. Other tables were voicing happy opinions.
Two sides were offered with each dish. I chose candied yams and coleslaw. Yams, which the chalkboard said were sweet potatoes (go figure), were mashed and tasted great with the nutmeg in them. Seemed like mashed potatoes, not candied yams. But gosh darn, they were fantasic. Coleslaw, a very big bowlful, was okay, but reminded me of a deli bought finely shredded version, though they make their own. It may have not been my rough cut, crunchy idea of a good slaw, but it was a cut above store bought. Definately adequate.
Wife had baked beans and garden salad. She loved the baked beans, that were nice, with a hint of sweetness (my preference to flat tasing beans). She was impressed. The salad, a small bowl, was a nice mixture of mixed greens. My idea of good salad greens instead of cardboard iceberg lettuce. She had a bluecheese dressing, commenting that finally she had been given dressing that was not watery, as is usually served to her.
We were happily given "to go" containers for the leftovers, and ordered peach cobbler to go for dessert at home.
It was not too sweet, but tasty. I thought it good, but not great. My wife thought it too moist.
All in all, a great meal. I told Roderick that he made a new best friend. A friendly place, good food that definately put a smile on my face, and I walked out saying to my wife that I finally had a meal in a restaurant that I felt great about eating.
There was even a two-fer cuopon in the Entertainment Book that I forgot to use in my enthusiastic stupor.
Roderick's BBQ and Seafood
5681 Gibraltar Drive