Flint's a big disappointment
Finally got around to trying the reborn Flint's yesterday. Pork ribs were dry and chewy. Quality may be variable but these were nowhere near as good as any I've had there in the past. Hot sauce was one-dimensional and not very hot. (In the last incarnation their sauce easily beat a head-to-head comparison with Everett & Jones's.) Links were OK but not as good as E&J's. I won't be back.
I don't know what's going on that there's no cooking or food prep visible to the customer but it doesn't seem to be good for the food.
re: Robert Lauriston
Although my last stop there some time ago was going to be my "I'm in no rush to go back", I was a few blocks away this afternoon, so I stopped in to get a big midday meal.
2 way - Ribs and Brisket. There were 3 ribs with a bunch of shredded burnt brisket pieces soaking in sauce. The ribs were ok, although they didn't all seem to have the same consistency, and one was pretty hard to eat. The beef was clearly just burnt scraps thrown on top, slathered in sauce, so you wouldn't notice until you were eating it. They were not slices, they were not tender, they were burnt strings.
I had one bite of yellow gloop (the potato salad) and a couple bites of the canned beans. I substituted my own piece of Acme baguette for the bread. Unless I see several really stellar reports about this place in the future, and absent a case of serious temporary amnesia, I don't think I'm going back.
If this is the current state of Flint's it is indeed a shame and a loss. I was a law student at Boalt in the mid-80's, lived south of campus, and loved a latenight stop at Flint's after dancing and enjoying the music at the Starry Plough. (Does anyone remember the Vicious Hippies?) Loved to stand in that line in the afterglow and then take home a big order of ribs soaked in half-hot/half-medium sauce. I even took my parents there to grab some BBQ to take back to my house or their hotel -- I think some of the other dining on their visit was Chez Panisse Cafe and Fournou's Oven where we met Julia Child.
If the grizzled old women are not chopping and serving the meat in front of you, Flint's is no longer as I cherished. Good eats, experiences, and memories.
Why not give KC BBQ on San Pablo and Parker a try? I have been eating their ribs for most of my bbq-eating life (30 years). I like it so much, I never understand why people rave about Flint's, Doug's (which I kinda like) or Everett and Jones.
KC's sauce is on the sweet side and their meat is usually fall-off-the-bone tender and their pork particularly sweet. I invariably order a short-end dinner and a link sandwich.
re: Robert Lauriston
Well if 6-6-06 doesn't do me in, all this meat will.
I had T-Rex's ribs tonight and I gotta go with chocolatetartguy, try the ribs at KC's. My opinnion is that the sauce is only needed for the beef or links at KC's.
We got a combo of both types of ribs at T-Rex, baby back and spare ribs. I liked them both, but preferred the baby back which had less meat and were leaner, but the dry rub and meat were one. They were excellent gnawing ribs.
The meatier spareribs were good too, but didn't have as nice of a balance of rib to rub as the baby backs.
The smoke in both ribs didn't call attention to itself but married nicely with the meat. You don't get hit over the head with the smoke, but it's there upping the flavor.
I agree with A Amore about the sauce doing nothing to enhance the ribs, but it didn't overwhelm them either. First of all, these are ribs that stand on their and don't need sauce. Second, I'm not all that into BBQ sauce anyway.
That being said, I really liked the sauce and will be usinging it to make some T-Rex brusetta at home. Maybe some T-Rex sauce nachos. Oh, even better ... an omelet topped with T-rex sauce.
The spicy isn't all that spicy, but leaves a nice tingle and has a fresh chili smell to it. The mild is good too, with a light background sweetness that complements the spices. There seems to be little pieces of meat in both and, the word gritty is not right, but the texture of the spices is evident.
I was really amused to see the piece of thick-cut artisan bread with the ribs. No Wonderbread at this BBQ.
So, after all that ... I wouldn't turn down a T-Rex rib, but if I needed to satisfy a rib craving, I'd go to KC.
At each BBQ, I've tried one item stands out for me and I don't need to look at my notes to remind myself what I ate. At KC's it is the ribs, at T-Rex it is the brisket, at Flint's it is the chicken. They just rose above everything else served in those BBQ's and above anything else locally.
The ribs at KC's are not over cooked or really fall-off the bone, but are so tender, meaty and wonderful.
I do disagree with chocolatetarteguy about the links at KC. I kept thinking of the word 'sawdust' while eating them. They really needed the sauce. The beef really needed the sauce ... and a lot of water. But the ribs were super.
I never was at the old Flint's, but I like that unique burnt-tasting, chocolaty sauce. It is one of the few places where the sauce, IMO, works well with the meat.
I'm not sure, but I think if you sit at the T-Rex bar you get complementary jerky. My server gave me some to take home.
Jerky isn't my thing, but I think jerky lovers would find the T-Rex jerky interesting. The first taste is sweet-ish but chewing brings out a nice jalepeno-like pepper that makes the mouth tingle and lingers for a while. Very pleasant.
Finally tried those mini bannana pies - vanilla, butterscotch and chocolate. The tarts are little larger than a silver dolar with a thin layer of banana topped with the flavored fillings. The chocolate has a chocolate crust.
They were good, but what upped the flavor was the little cups of chocolate fudge, whipped cream and delicate chocolte shavings ... especially that fudge sauce. A bite of tart with the fudge, whipped cream and chocoalate shavings ... well, they really have something there.
Due to the discussion of Manhattan Special Espresso soda on the General Board, I decided to give it a try. It was good, sort of like a fizzy, liquide coffee nip.
My server said the root beer would go better with the ribs and gave me a complementary bottle of the Sprecher root beer. He was right. In fact, I think the root beer is a better match for the ribs than the real beer.
The only dish that missed was the califlower with green onion. I like butter, but there was just too much melted butter on this dish. I never thought the day would come where I wold think anything had too much butter.
Even though I'm not the biggest fan of the slaw at T-Rex, I would have liked to order it as a side to counter the richness of the meat.
I had one of the best servers ever at T-Rex. I think he is a bartender since I was seated in the bar area. He was very friendly, knowledgable and helpful.
I am really looking forward to trying the beef ribs at T-rex.
re: Robert Lauriston
I should have left out the hyperbole. I have usually found that the meat pulls easily off the bone when bitten, as I prefer it. It is not actually off the bone as served, but is moist and sweet.
KC BBQ was recommended to me by Black co-workers along with The Albertine, The Barn, Golden Fried Chicken (all long closed but not forgotten). They knew food.