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Next on my exploration of black-owned restaurants was Roderick's in East Oakland that I tried in July. Pulling up a few minutes before the doors opened at noon, a socially distanced line of more than a dozen masked customers waited outside. I was relieved when they told me they were picking-up advance online orders and I could go ahead of them. The other thing I noticed were the luxury vehicles in the lot -- M Benz, Escalade, Range Rover, Tesla -- and I wondered if Roderick's might be too fancy for the likes of me.
The cashier was friendly and efficient. He was great at helping me choose my first order. He set me up with a mini-sampler and recommended the fried catfish that they're famous for, as well as encouraging me to come back for the fried chicken. When he said it would be ten minutes, I indicated I'd wait outside in the fresh air and would return then. He provided good service by bringing my order out to my car sooner.
The mini-sampler included BBQ ribs, smoked chicken, sliced beef brisket and slices of hot links. I'd say these were above average. A surprise, the chicken turned out to be the best meat on the plate with well-balanced sweet smoke and succulent texture. I'd forgotten to ask for sauce on the side, good thing that it's from a proprietary recipe and not overly sweet.
However, the fried Cajun-spiced catfish was the star of this meal. The catfish was cut in boneless cross-sections rather than fillets. The spicing was unique, different than the generic spice packet, and quite addictive. A very delicate crusting, not made of cornmeal, was still a bit crisp, and we would like to taste this again when our food won't have traveled 45 minutes.
We also liked the sides. Glossy braised collard greens retained some texture. Candied yams were not candy-sweet. Mac and cheese turned out to be al dente penne pasta shellacked with a ton of mild cheddar cheese.
Searching now for any previous reports to link, I discovered that Roderick's at its original location in Pleasanton https://www.eastbayexpress.com/oaklan... had been recommended to me in 2003! https://www.chowhound.com/post/bbq-25... Too bad it took me so long to follow up.
2708 98th Ave
Wednesday to Saturday, noon to 7pm
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