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Favorite dishes at T-Rex

There's no very current topic about T-Rex in general so I'll start a new one.

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T-Rex Barbeque
1300 10th St, Berkeley, CA 94710

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  1. New dish worth a visit: pan-roasted artichoke with herb aioli ($7), listed as a side dish but really more of an appetizer. This is one of my favorite artichoke dishes ever, up there with the whole deep-fried ones in Rome. The delicious dipping sauce is so light that it's hard to believe it's a conventional aioli. I'm usually too lazy to eat more than a dozen leaves but I polished off my half.

    We pretty much always order a full slab of ribs to share (and have lots left over to take home) with (not very) spicy sauce on the side. Though more often than not we decide to go there because we're in the mood for the seasonal vegetable sides such as the curried cauliflower (one of my favorites dishes on the currently starch-heavy menu).

    At happy hour, I pretty much always order the devilled eggs.

    As amusing as chicken-fried bacon sounds, this was less than the sum of its parts.

    1. This may sound odd, but it isn't their bbq that does it for me, it's their salads. The dungeness crab salad with green goddess dressing is the one I order the most, but the mixed greens with apple, candied pecans, and feta is also very nice. They are always incredibly fresh, nice ingredients, well dressed.

      Other than that, whatever oysters are on offer.

      4 Replies
      1. re: adrienne156

        That crab green goddess is great. It's ironic to go to a BBQ place for vegetables, but there's Berkeley for you.

        1. re: adrienne156

          I love that crab salad. I also really like their fried oysters. The BLT I had recently fell apart and didn't taste like much. I shouldn't have ordered it.

          1. re: Glencora

            I've never had the fried oysters, but will have to try them out. The ones on the half shell are always so sweet and briny, and that cucumber-habanero mignonette is just great.

          2. re: adrienne156

            Ditto - my go-to meal at T-Rex is the Crab Salad + The Other Burger accompanied by the Bloody Mary. I get the deviled eggs if there is someone to share with, and the coffee custard (comes with the beignets) during brunch, occasionally. I was a huge fan of Belma Buckett's cornbread up until about a year ago, but wonder if they're using a different type of honey now, it doesn't soak into the cornbread quite the way it used to.

          3. Does T-Rex still serve the $5 grilled burgers at lunch, outside?

            2 Replies
            1. re: ML8000

              No, but they do offer a $5 "outside burger" inside on the regular menu. Smaller than the regular burger, with white cheddar and no side dish (like fries). They offered a happy hour special of the outside burger and a half pint of PBR for $5 for a while.
              Love the crab salad and the beignets with coffee custard.

              1. re: ML8000

                They've got a permit posted for improvements to the outside area.

              2. The lamb burger with their fantastic potato salad! Yummie!

                bbqman

                1. Their smoked half-chicken is the reason I finally bought my own smoker--so delicious. They used to serve it with stone-ground grits, which I loved, but more recently they switched to mashed potatoes. The $5 "outside" burger is the perfect size for me, plus then we can order a side of the totally decadent mac-n-cheese. And I agree with Robert on the cauliflower and deviled eggs. The lightly dressed watercress that accompanies the eggs is usually all the salad I need at T-Rex.

                  Service, on the other hand, is not so satisfying, but probably that's a topic best reserved for another thread.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Leadbelly

                    Service varies. I rarely see the same server there twice, which surely has something to do with it. But the food comes promptly.

                  2. THE BEEF RIB!!

                    We usually order a 3-way, and have lots to take home. I love their fries, and cole slaw and the beignets are TO-DIE-FOR.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: chemchef

                      The "outside burger" is now called the "other burger." I've had the long cut beef short rib twice (as a change up from my more usual 2 ways) and the first time I loved it, the second time there was way too much I had to cut away, but that is the nature of dead cows, and I will order it again.

                      The cornbread is always great if you order it when you are ready to eat it. It doesn't hold up well when it sits. I love the new small sized dessert options.

                    2. Two way: long cut beef rib, baby back ribs. They can't cut the beef rib in half, so you end up getting a full order at half the price. The two way is more than enough meat for two people. With a couple of sides you can walk paying $40 on dinner for two.

                      I like the cornbread, which is more a dessert than a side, and the sweet corn with broccolini and green beans, the artichoke, and of course, the Red Racer 5 on tap. Mrs. Mousse likes the mac and cheese, which has improved quite a bit since they first opened.

                      Anyone ever ordered dessert here? I can't imagine, after their enormous portions.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Morton the Mousse

                        They have some mini dessert portions for $5, which is nice, though I think I've only gotten dessert in the times that I've stopped in for drinks. The desserts are fine, but not particularly memorable, it's definitely not a place where I would save room for dessert.

                      2. Corn Bread and a cocktail. When our parisienne cousine came to visit we wanted to take her somewhere with American food, but also something we'd want to eat ... so TRex it was. Everyone had a great time.

                        Hmm, haven't had that beignet yet....

                        1. I hear they have a happy hour -what is that like?

                          1 Reply
                          1. The mac and cheese at $8 and probably 1200 calories is one fine meal.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: Chuckles the Clone

                              Tonight we ordered take out for 3. The short rib was great. I thought the spare ribs were a bit on the dry side - but not by a lot. I ordered a side of polenta - that I wouldn't get again. One of the short rib bones is already buried in the yard. The guilty party is sitting here on the floor.

                              As an aside, any tips for the best way to reheat their cornbread when getting it to go? (They put the bread in one container ,and the sauce in a separate one, so it doesn't get ruined.)

                            2. Tried the seafood scatter from the Happy Hour menu today. Nice, crispy, lots of calamari, 3 shrimp and some fennel. The sauce seemed more like aioli than tartar, but I did not read what it was supposed to be. I really liked having a small (for a bar) fried seafood appetizer. My taste was satisfied without defeating my dinner.

                              1. Had really disappointing takeout from T-Rex last night. The spare ribs were way fattier than usual, with almost no smoke flavor, the bread wasn't grilled as it usually is, and the sauce came in a tiny "salsa" container. Has anyone else noticed a change?

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Glencora

                                  In the last three months, we've gone four or five times for Happy Hour. Kids love the mac and cheese and we like the oysters, scatter, deviled eggs, and nachos. Drink specials are good too. That is pretty much all we get and it's been good every time.

                                2. Maybe a new favorite: the smoked brisked "banh mi," $4 on the happy hour menu. Despite the name it's a soft hamburger bun, but the carrots, jalapeños, cilantro, and so on are a really great match for the smoky, juicy meat. I had a couple bites of the regular brisket sandwich to compare and much prefer the banh mi.

                                  Also tried the corn dog. Best I've ever had but I never had an upscale one before.

                                  Happy hour is 3-6pm seven days a week. Outdoor seating upstairs, which by the way is now wheelchair-accessible.

                                  1. I was there recently too -- they now have the mac and cheese with bacon for $10, and it was fantastic. I got the fried chicken, which I've read good things about, and it was good, but not great. First, it's only white meat, no dark meat (I asked) which is already a minus for me. There was a big boneless split breast with part of the wing portion, and a smaller cutlet. The boneless split breast was pretty moist for breast meat, but the cutlet was dry. I did like that the chicken had a nice spice to it and nice flavor but it wasn't as crunchy as I would like.

                                    8 Replies
                                    1. re: JasmineG

                                      I did not like the fried chicken. Very disappointed.

                                      1. re: The Dive

                                        Went to T-Rex on Sunday and had a few updates:

                                        - bbq oyster - not all that. there really wasn't any melding between the oyster and the sauce. Tasted like a cooked oyster that had bbq sauce added on top.
                                        - had the fried chicken again, and it was better, but not quite what I am looking for. There were two pieces, both boneless, one white meat and the other dark meat. Unlike the first time, they didn't taste smoky. Came with tasteless mash potatoes.
                                        - also had the spare ribs and those were better than the last time too. Very smoky and falling off the bone.
                                        - no artichoke on the menu right now - too bad. I really love it.
                                        - we ordered a "kids" mac-and-cheese and I think it is different from the side dish version. A little weaker, but it could have been just off. The little Dive ate it, though.
                                        - curried cauliflower -- I felt the vegetables were both over and under cooked, if that is possible. The appeared to be almost steamed then tossed with curry powder and oil for a quick, almost-non-existent sear. I brought them home and roasted it longer in the oven and it was great.
                                        - corn bread is perfect as always.

                                        Service was off, as usual, but I am used to that now, so it is not that big of a deal.

                                      2. re: JasmineG

                                        When I had the fried chicken, it was flavorless and overly reminiscent of Shake 'n Bake.

                                        1. re: abstractpoet

                                          That's why I never order fried Chicken at a BBQ joint?

                                          Or BBQ at a fried chicken joint.

                                          Or...

                                          1. re: Mission

                                            I know, but T-Rex's fried chicken gets raves on this board, so I figured I would give it another try. Will stick to BBQ from now on. Or, oddly enough, the vegetables.

                                            1. re: The Dive

                                              Been awhile since I'd been there happy hour/evening. There's a new-ish special on the menu (not just happy hour) - a plate of riblets and fries, a pint of PBR (per person) and a shot of Trace Bourbon (per person) - $9/pp, 2 person minimum. The riblets were really good, and the fries were crispy and great. We also got some happy hour tacos (tonight was brisket) and a tombo tuna melt, which was quite tasty.

                                              The plates of fried chicken walking by (and there were quite a few) looked great, but I have no idea if it tastes like described above, some ethereal dish, or something in between.

                                              1. re: lmnopm

                                                Just so happens I enjoyed that meal on Sat. nite. The riblets were piled high. The pitcher of beer was enormously fun. We enjoyed ourselves silly.

                                                Then as we were leaving, we noticed that there was a 9pm happy hour. So we did a u-turn, headed over to the bar, and enjoyed fabulous cocktails, and very delicate small and sweet oysters -- both raw and bbq. Our friends visiting from Twin Cities were in heaven.

                                                My one huge complaint: one of the group doesn't eat beef or pork, and was expecting to enjoy bbq chicken. But it ain't on the menu any longer. The only chicken is fried (not good for those with cholesterol issues) or a green salad with shredded chicken. BUMMER. wassup with that??

                                                1. re: escargot3

                                                  I think the half smoked chicken has been off the menu for a long time. Maybe it didn't sell well.

                                      3. T-Rex is doing happy hour all day all this weekend, through 10pm Monday.

                                        http://k2restaurants.typepad.com/trex...

                                        1. Whole hog buffet this Wednesday, $19. One large pig plus mac & cheese, chopped salad, grilled asparagus, red beans & rice, corn bread with maple syrup butter, cole slaw, and ambrosia. Officially runs from 6 to 9, but I suspect they might run out faster than that. Reservations recommended.

                                          2 Replies
                                            1. re: ernie in berkeley

                                              I went later, the hostess said it had been full up. I wonder how fast the line moved?

                                              http://k2restaurants.typepad.com/trex...

                                          1. Message to T-Rex's mailing list says they'll be changing the menu this week. New items will include:

                                            Memphis Baby Back Ribs
                                            Kansas City Spareribs
                                            Arthur Bryant Inspired Burnt Ends
                                            Carolina Slow Smoked Pulled Pork
                                            Texas Beef Brisket

                                            Except for style and burnt ends, that's pretty much the current smoker menu, from which they're keeping the long-cut beef short rib:

                                            Baby Back Ribs ½ Rack 14.00 Full 28.00
                                            Spareribs ½ Rack 14.00 Full 28.00
                                            Long-Cut Beef Short Rib 14.00
                                            Pulled Pork 12.00
                                            Beef Brisket 14.00

                                            1. Just don't get talked into one of their meat omelets for brunch. Eager to try the new, I opted for something like a pulled pork or maybe a brisket omelet (this was a number of years ago). That dish was ill-conceived; not a good combination. In fact, I won't recommend for brunch (both of us left disappointed).

                                              4 Replies
                                              1. re: jman1

                                                Hard to judge an entire brunch on one ill-conceived item a number of years ago. I'm looking forward to trying some of the new items as stand alone dishes, i.e., not as part of the buffet when 6 flavors were melding on the same plate.

                                                1. re: lmnopm

                                                  I wasn't aware that they did a buffet. At the time that I went, we ordered from a menu.

                                                  The fact that it was on the menu and that the waiter didn't steer me away when looking for a representative dish where negatives. Couple with the fact that I disliked the ambiance or the space, I didn't feel a desire to return. BTW, I had better experiences at some of their other restaurants (Lalime's, Sea Salt and Jimmy Bean's). For lack of a better word, T Rex felt corporate.

                                                  1. re: jman1

                                                    The buffets have been Wednesdays from 6 to 9 though not every week.

                                                    T-Rex has been my favorite place for spareribs, my favorite BBQ item, for the last few years, and I like their happy hour. I've never found the brunch menu appealing.

                                                2. re: jman1

                                                  I'll vouch that the brunch has been terribly disappointing the past two or three times I've gone--two years ago, I liked it a lot. If they're revamping, hopefully they'll revamp the brunch menu too, or at least restore it to what it used to be...

                                                3. This week's Wednesday buffet (08/31) will include a number of newly-added BBQ items; menu looks great.

                                                  http://t-rex-bbq.com/