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Mar 30, 2009 09:34 PM

Looney's Smokehouse sandwich of the day (Berkeley)

In the Chronicle last week I read about Looney's $6 sandwiches before 3PM.

M: brisket
Tues: fried chicken
Wed: pulled pork
Th: hot links

I tried the brisket today. It was a large serving of small succulent pieces and larger chewy ones between two pieces of sourdough bread. Kaiser roll was also offered, but that would be silly. Actually, even with the sourdough, it was silly. I couldn't possibly haven eaten it as a sandwich. I ate the meat with a fork, instead, and it was good; not too much sauce and nicely spicy, better than T-Rex's, I thought. It came with a big pickle, a small container of coleslaw, and a bag of bbq potato chips.

This is frat boy (oops, typed fat boy the first time) food and I'm too old for it, but for $6 I got my yearly brisket fix.

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  1. We had dinner at Looney's this weekend after a movie. Two of us shared the three meats platter with mac and cheese and collard greens.

    I thought the brisket was great, and I don't usually like brisket. Spare ribs were delicious too. The other ribs were enormous and messy. Sides were okay. Sweet tea was a little off. They do have a bunch of wines by the glass, and we had a zin and cabernet sauvignon, both from Lodi...

    Aside from the $6 sandwiches, it's not cheap, but portions are huge. $55 including tip got us enough meat for two meals for two, two glasses of wine, and an iced tea. And a lot of napkins. I do wish they served a side of bread of something. The Kansas City spicy sauce was particularly good, although not that spicy.

    I'd go back.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Windy

      Ditto on the KC sauce. Excellent pulled pork.

    2. I stopped by yesterday (Tuesday) for a sandwich because I have been craving fried chicken. Alas, the sandwich on offer was a "pulled chicken" sandwich with bbq sauce like their pulled pork. I skipped it because I'm over Looney's bbq. :(

      1 Reply
      1. re: bbq babe

        Sorry I led you astray! I could've sworn I heard "fried."

      2. Interesting...I have tried Looney's brisket on two occasions. The first time I was certain it wasn't even brisket (texture more like roast beef). The second time I had heard they hired a new chef so I though I would give it another chance. After that I vowed never again.

        As they say, fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me! Do I dare try it again hoping the third time is the charm? Well, it is going to probably have to wait until football season anyway...

        6 Replies
        1. re: Civil Bear

          agree with Civil, I have a hard time getting back to Looney's even though I've tried it only was that bad. Brisket Sandwich was like shoe of the toughest pieces of meat I've ever had to deal with. my jaw was so tired after trying and I was in such a rush that day I couldn't even complaint in to re-order. Not to mention the undercooked blueberry cobbler. ugh.

          If anyone can guarantee me that things have changed, I'll go back, but it seems to me that they are still too inconsistent to risk it.

          1. re: nicedragonboy

            I've never been there before, but the brisket was tender and didn't really need a knife.

          2. re: Civil Bear

            I recommend giving the new place on Lakeshore--Taste of Joy--a try. It sounds like Looney's is doing a similar style of brisket (vaguely roast beef-esque). It wasn't the MOST tender piece of meat I've ever had, but I wouldn't describe it as tough or dry either--actually, I thought it was pretty tasty. Didn't have the sandwich, but it is on the menu. "Frat boy food," as the original poster said, but comforting when you're in a certain mood.


            Taste of Joy Barbecue & Southern Bistro
            3909 Grand Avenue, Oakland, CA

            1. re: Civil Bear

              I went twice, within the first 12 months. The brisket was dry. The pulled pork sandwich was good but not phone home seemed to have too much sauce and the bun was terrible. The ribs according to a friend were okay but not return okay. Ironically the best thing I had, after the first visit was a burger. They just didn't seem to have it together. My attitude now is if I'm with people who want to go, I'll try it again and hope I'm surprised...but otherwise no.

              1. re: ML8000

                I've been of the same mentality since my third and final visit about 6 months ago - I'd go for the company and a beer, never again for the food. Dry meat and slow service.

                1. re: adrienne156

                  Ditto what you all have said. I used to get takeout from Looney's often when I lived just down the block, and remember it being OK. I came back last night for the first time in a year or so, and it was...still just OK.

                  I like the breadth of items on their menu as well as that they're the only place near here that offers the full range of sauces (NC vinegar, KC "sweet", mustard, etc.) but the items themselves are just kind of OK, kind of surprising given the effort that's been put into improving the place. My pulled pork was a little tough and not all that flavorful.

                  Looney's, to me, is a bar that serves food, a place to watch a game with your buddies and a few beers and maybe some nice greasy bar snacks (it works great for that in my experience). To those of you who went there to enjoy a nice meal with a glass of wine, it seems to me like you're knocking on the wrong door, but more power to you if you liked it.

            2. I had some awfully dry ribs at Looney's a year or so ago and wouldn't have risked a full meal there again because, as Windy says, it isn't cheap. However, the brisket in the sandwich was not tough. No sore jaw. I swear! On the other hand, I'm not an expert. I can only compare it to the tough, dry, salty and overly smokey brisket from T-Rex. Oh, and I got it to go because the place itself does not appeal to me at all.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Glencora

                T-Rex's brisket is usually tender and moist.

                If you get dry or tough BBQ, send it back.