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Jul 27, 2008 07:46 AM

Frank's Bar-B-Que (Novato)

Frank's Bar-B-Que has appeared at the Thursday morning Marin farmers market for a long time, and now Frank has a real restaurant. I went there for lunch yesterday. It's a quite large space with the open kitchen and smoker on the left side and uncrowded tables in the remainder of the space. The service was quick and friendly, and Frank came out to "work the room" during my stay. I had the Mardi Gras Pork Ribs plate ($13.50) with cole slaw and beans. These were the "spare ribs" (my assumption) and they also have baby backs and beef ribs. OK, this is real barbecue, no doubt about that. The four large and meaty ribs were nicely smoked, pink inside from the smoke, and not over-smoked or harsh in any way. The meat wasn't "falling off the bone tender" but required a bit of chewing (that's a good thing), although maybe a bit too much chewing sometimes but that's being very picky. They were good barbecue ribs, period. The beans were good (a bit sweet which I like), not the best I've had but good, and the cole slaw was also quite good. Will I make it a regular stop? Regrettably not. I just plain didn't like the rub he put on the ribs. I didn't like the aroma or the taste of it. I realize this is a very personal thing, and Frank sure likes it and I'm sure others like it. Frank calls it his "green rub" and it contains rosemary, oregano, and tarragon plus other spices. To me, it just didn't taste like barbecue "should taste" to the point that I found it unpleasant. I had a similar but not as strong reaction to the sauce (on the side by my request). I really can't describe the red sauce well, except that it didn't do much for me at all and, again, wasn't what barbecue sauce is "supposed to be" to me. Again, a very personal thing. Barbecue fans, please check out this place for yourselves.

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  1. >Frank calls it his "green rub" and it contains rosemary, oregano, and tarragon plus other spices.<

    Oops, it should have been "rosemary, oregano, and thyme ...".

    5 Replies
    1. re: Mick Ruthven

      A barbeque joint that is vegetarian-friendly is something. From the IJ review ...
      "grilled veggie burger plate ($8) and portobello mushroom in sauce with salad ($9) or in a sandwich ($7)."

      Did you get the mild or hot sauce?

      No interest in the other items like catfish, tri-tip or fried chicken? I'm kind of interested in that smoked hot dog.

      Franks Bar-B-Que
      459 Entrada Dr, Novato, CA 94949

      1. re: rworange

        I just asked for the sauce on the side, not specifying mild or hot, and the waiter didn't ask. It certainly wasn't hot.

        I really only thought about the "real barbecue", the ribs (they don't have brisket). The other things may well be very good, but they don't interest me enough to make a special trip to Novato.

        1. re: Mick Ruthven

          I didn't feel cruel enough to link to a long ago report about the que at the farmers market ...but it might have saved you a trip.

          1. re: rworange

            I've had his tri-tip sandwich a couple of times at the farmers market and it wasn't great (but it didn't have the rub I don't like). I had hopes for the ribs because they are "real barbecue" requiring long slow cooking/smoking, very different from tri-tip. It turns out he does ribs quite well in the restaurant (at least the one order I had) if you like the rub. I don't know what they're like at the farmers market.

      2. re: Mick Ruthven

        The herb run explains why my Novato source described it as "the place with the green stuff on the meat." Which I don't think was intended in a good way, so I nixed my plan to request takeout.