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Berkeley Bowl's Cafe W Rotisserie and Grill - BBQ brisket, wood-fired pizza, gelato, frites and wine

The Cafe is finally open.

There are a number of wood-fired items such as chicken, pizza and wood-roasted mussels or little neck clams with garlic and chorizo.

Brown paper-lined cones of hand-cut frites are $3.25. The salt and pepper potato chips are house-made and come with all sandwiches. Onion rings are also on the menu.

There's a beverage cooler at the door with soft drinks, juices, wine and beer. They had Vinagrette sodas.

To the left is refrigerated section with pre-made salads and sandwiches. Some of today's included
- Herbed goat cheese with avocado, shaved celery root, heirloom tomatoes, pesto and Upland cress on multigrain bread
- Line-caught tuna sandwich
- Tarragon chicken salad sandwich
- Olive oil poached shrimp with heirloom tomato salad
- Chinese chicken salad
- Wood-fired tureky breast with grapefruit, avocado, grapes, greens and black olive vinagrette

At the front right are the bbq ribs, beef brisket, Louisiana hot links, baked beans and greens.

There is another long case on the other side facing the tables with 24 flavors of Figaro gelato, baked goods, pate and wine. Peet's Coffee is served.

Order at the back of the restaurant, pay at the register and get a number, the food is brought to your table.

I went for a hot sandwich with the chips - Grilled cheese with sharp cheddar, havarti and gruyere on herbed foccacia. $4.95

It was a nice-sized sandwicth that was very buttery with panini indentatations. The herbs distracted me a little, but all in all a good basic oozy cheese sandwich at a good price.

The chips are very thin, which I prefer. Some were translucent with oil and there was a little oil soaking into the paper. Though they were called salt and pepper chips, they tasted like regular chips and weren't overly salty ... which I also liked.

Other hot sandwiches included meatloaf, wood-fired turkey, Saag's hot dog with grilled onions, beer-steamed sausage (Aidell's or Columbus) and marinated eggplant with roasted garlic. There was also the 'Ultimate Cubano" - Columbos pork loin, rosemary ham and Swiss cheese.

Soup is $3.25 small $5.50 large and today was popcorn bisque or chicken and white chili bean

It looks like the menu changes daily. Currently they only have 2 copies of the menu at the register.

If It wasn't the end of the day, I would have went for the beignets from Artisan Bakers of Berkeley. But a donut at the end of the day ... well. As an aside, the bakery in the store sells them and Kingpin donuts. I have been really impressed with the Artisan baked goods I've bought in the store, especially the canneles. I was really tempted by one of the other fat Artisan donuts embraced with a chocolate topping.

Prices are good. Sandwiches run from $4.95 - $7.25. The 9 inch pizzas are $6.25 - $7.25. The bbq plates start at $8.99. Glasses of wine are $5. I don't know if that is an opening special ... they won't have wine glasses till next week and this week wine is served in plastic glasses. Also don't know if it was all of the wines shown such as Qupe, Ramsay pinot noir, Chateau St. Jean chardonnay and about a half dozen more along that line.

They are really .. really ... just setting up this week Hours are 11 - 7 this week. Next week they are hoping to open for breakfast and hours will be 7 - 7

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Cafe W Rotisserie & Grill
920 Heinz Ave, Berkeley, CA

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      1. re: wolfe

        Yeah, I was going to ask about that and forgot with reading the menu at the register and being pre-occupied with potato chips. Popcorn shrimp? Kernels from popcorn corn (I've seen those before at the Bowl). If it is still there, I hope someone asks.

    1. How does this work with all the other hot food? Could you get Chinese food or burritos in the main part of the store and comfortably eat in the cafe?

      4 Replies
      1. re: milklady

        I doubt there would be any objection since BB owns both. There are enough tables and until the cafe opened, that's what people were doing, buying food at the market and eating in the cafe.

        Now the real question would be if they objected to buying a beverage in the market and bringing it to eat in the cafe. The wine selection seemed nice enough but the beer in the cooler was a little boring ... Sierra Nevada and such ... tho I didn't look closely. So it might be nice to buy an more interesting beer in the market and eat it with a meal. BTW, I forget the producer, but that orange blossom beer is jusl lovely. I bought it in the past and wasn't impressed but the current batch has a lovely fragrance and nice taste. Another one of my rare repeat purchases. Then again I'm not a beer person, so take that into consideration.

        Again, I was contemplating the beignet and forgot to ask about the beer. They were busy setting up anyway so I didn't want to bug them too much.

        1. re: rworange

          That's helpful. I can imagine wanting to get something from the cafe for dinner, but my kids wanting to eat burritos or something else from the market... (The Bowl has been a popular lunch/dinner spot for my family for years.)

          The cafe doesn't have table service, does it?

          1. re: milklady

            No. Order at the counter, take a number and they bring the order to the table.

          2. re: rworange

            Buffalo Bills from Hayward on the beer? Don't know if this is the one but they make one and their beer tends to vary since it is contract brewed elsewhere.

        2. Columbus sausage has apparently gone over to the dark side. It now comes loaded with corn syrup (second ingredient, after pork on many of their sausages). Sad to see a good brand go wrong.

          1 Reply
          1. re: giant_zucchini

            "Loaded" is an exaggeration. In many sausages and other cured meat products, sugars are the second or third ingredient after pork and salts, but there's not very much, typically 1-2% by weight.