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Apr 16, 2010 03:50 PM

Chop Bar: Sunday pig roasts

Looks like Chop Bar is going to be doing outdoor pig roasts for its Sunday Suppers -- this Sunday is going to be either the first or second one. Sounds like the menu is going to be roasted pig with various grilled veggies, served buffet style (as I believe they've done with their other Sunday Suppers). When I called, they hadn't decided for sure on the price yet, but they said it'll probably be either $20 or $25 a person.

I'm excited about this, as the roast pig flatbread that Chop Bar was serving at last fall's Eat Real Festival was the most delicious thing I ate that day.

They'll be starting at 5:00 and going until around 8:00 (or until they run out of pig).

Anyone know if they already had one of these pig roasts last Sunday? And, if so, any reports? From their blog it sounded like this was going to be a weekly occurrence, weather permitting, at least for the time being.

Chop Bar
247 4th St, #111, Oakland, CA 94607

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  1. So I guess they rethought the logistics and pricing structure between the time I called and today, because when we arrived we were pleasantly surprised to find that they were just charging $10 a plate, tax inclusive (rather than $20 or more a person for an all-you-can-eat type deal). They were also selling Trumer Pils for $3 a bottle and draft beers for $5.

    Apparently they got swamped the first time around, so for this pig roast they wanted to altogether avoid handling money inside the restaurant itself. Instead, they instituted a somewhat convoluted system where you first had to go to the window outside to buy "tickets": 1 ticket = $1, so for $23 (one plate each for me and my wife, plus a Trumer) the man working the window handed us a roll of 23 tickets. There was some confusion, and it felt a little bit like we were at the state fair, but no big deal. Gave three tickets to the bartender to get my drink, then brought the rest of the tickets up with me when I got on line after the food was ready (a little before 5:30). It seemed to be a cash only deal, but I'm not 100% certain.

    The plate came with: a reasonably generous helping of pig (say, four or five thickish slices), some lightly dressed arugula, a tasty potato salad with capers, flatbread, and some grilled asparagus. And then at the bar they had three or four different kinds of sauces/salsas and some good grilled Spanish chorizo on sliced baguette.

    My God, these guys know how to roast a pig. Unbelievably tender meat with just the right amount of fatty, gelatinous goodness; and smoky, beautifully charred and crispy skin. We were there right when they starting serving up the food, so the meat was still nice and warm. So, so, so incredibly good. There was a lot of moaning. I really can't think of one thing they could do to improve upon it.

    Similar to when Chop Bar was serving roast pig at the Eat Real festival, the housemade salsas and sauces were also a highlight. Particularly good was a tangy red sauce that I believe was a pimento aioli. They had also made a batch of BBQ sauce that was nice (though it didn't have any heat). Habanero salsa was good and spicy.

    It's a no-frills type of event: get in line to get your grub, then bring your (paper) plate back to your table or to the bar to dig in. But I can't think of a much better meal that I've had for $10, and I had to exercise extreme self control to keep myself from buying another 10 tickets to get a second plate. Plenty of people buying takeout plates too -- I doubt there's a better $10 takeout option in the East Bay on a Sunday evening.

    So run, don't walk! If you head over now, you might still be able to grab a plate of porky deliciousness before they run out tonight. Otherwise, I think they're planning on making this a regular thing at Chop Bar ... and if so, I just might have to start planning my weekends around it.

    4 Replies
    1. re: abstractpoet

      Wow, thanks for posting about this! I wish I hadn't just eaten dinner, otherwise I'd have been in my car to head over there about 30 seconds after clicking on this post. I'll call this week to see if they're going to do it next weekend.

      1. re: JasmineG

        We were there too and the food was definitely worth $10. Hopefully next week they'll get the system down a bit better, because it was a bit confused for a bit. It took them nearly 45 minutes after that original 5pm start time to actually serve food, but it was such a lovely, warm afternoon it wasn't an issue.

        1. re: PegS

          when do you think we should arrive? i had their pork at eat real festival and that was damn good (topped everything i ate there, hands down).

          1. re: majordanby

            We got there around 5:15 and waited a little while longer, after we'd bought our tickets and everything, before the food was ready -- couldn't have been more than 10 or 15 minutes, though. They passed around some of the chorizo while we were waiting. The line was starting to look a bit long by the time we left, just after 6:00.

            I'd call ahead and ask about next Sunday, but would still lean toward arriving earlyish so you can get at that pig as soon as they start serving it.

    2. We were planning on going to this today, but when I called Chop Bar to check it out, apparently they are only roasting pigs, every 3rd Sunday. Just thought I'd let everyone know to call before you go to make sure the piggy is on the fire!

      1 Reply
      1. re: llietzke

        Thanks for the update. I guess that would make the next pig roast Sunday, May 16th, if they stay on schedule. Good to know!

      2. I was so excited about a pig roast but it took me till the last roast of the summer to get over there. Unfortunately, my experience was not very good. I got there at 5:45 and saw a line, but happily it was moving pretty quickly. By the time I got to the front the pig pickins were getting slim, they did have another pig but it was still in the caja china. They had changed the format that it's no longer all you can eat. They said on the website that portions would be "generous, including seconds", but when I was in line and asked about seconds I was told that I could get more once everyone else had eaten. I did not feel that my portion was generous, but I didn't make a thing of it, thinking I'd get seconds. I was unable to get a seat, as many people were saving them for others. All the food was cold, which isn't shocking since it was a cold evening, but when you are standing out in the cold, eating cold food, it doesn't make for the best experience.

        The pig was tasty, even cold, and I was happy to get some crispy skin. There was also a salad, black beans, green beans & cornbread. I liked everything except the black beans. After my husband and I finished, we waited for a bit hoping to get our seconds, but the line never died down enough and finally the cold got to us and we headed home.

        I'm sure this would have been a different experience had it been warmer, but I do have a problem with the management of this type of event. It seems unlikely that this cold October night brought in a bigger crowd than the rest of the summer, and if they had an idea of the crowd size I think they should have brought in some extra folding chairs. As much as I like the idea of it, I wouldn't go back.

        4 Replies
        1. re: rosie7477

          this is their last pig roast till the spring, which may explain the possible big crowd.

          1. re: majordanby

            Nah, I went a couple of months ago on a rainy day. We got there early (6:30) and it was already too crowded to get a seat. Even so, the bartender commented that it was a really light turnout "it's usually a hundred people standing around and packed in like sardines." They were much more generous with portions since the turnout was much lower than expected - I ended up with big portions of skin, belly and cheek - but the guy doing the carving commented that he could only hook me up because turnout was so low. I had a great time - the pig was delicious and we were eventually able to land chairs - but decided not to go back based on the staff reports that it's normally as crowded as rosie described.

          2. re: rosie7477

            I've always gone at 5:00, before they even start--would much rather snatch up a table and wait around until they're ready to serve than the alternative, which is a much longer line and little chance of being able to sit inside.

            1. re: abstractpoet

              The other option is to show up a little later - I got on line around 6:15, and by the time I got my food, the first wave of diners was starting to leave My group of 4 was able to snag a table easily (in fact, multiple tables cleared out around then). We had no problem getting seconds of pork, although some of the sides ran out by then.

          3. From Eater SF:

            "Chop Bar's monthly pig roast has gotten so big that they've had to move it to the Linden Street Brewery. Pigs are brined for two days, roasted in a Caja China roasting box and served with multiple sides, and live music for $20. The next one is this Sunday starting at 4:30 p.m. "

            Looking forward to reports. The last couple reports about the big crowds has kind of put me off!

            Linden Street Brewery
            95 Linden St #7, Oakland, CA 94607

            2 Replies
            1. re: betterbeheaven

              I don't think that is accurate -- all of the details, yes, but not the date. I was at Chop Bar yesterday and we were asking him about the pig roast, and he said all of the above, but that the next one is July 17th. The Chop Bar website indicates that the next one is in July as well.

              1. re: betterbeheaven

                As the person who posted about these pig roasts originally, I have to say that I loved them when the crowds were at least somewhat more reasonable. But more recently, the ridiculous lines and lack of seating have made it really unappealing - especially since you have to go through the line at least twice for the $20 to really be a good deal. It's nice for people who live in the neighborhood, though - kind of like a big block party.

                Will be curious to hear reports back about how it goes at the new location.