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Jun 30, 2011 12:28 PM

T-Rex's Wednesday BBQ Buffets

I've now gone to two Wednesday BBQ nites at T-Rex and am ready to opine about their offerings. I've dined with three others in these 2 visits and we've all felt similarly about the food. On the first visit, there were delicious biscuits and the ribs and beans were pretty good. The other sides were not very tasty and we all deemed them mediocre. Last night's ribs were very good, meaty, juicy, cooked beautifully and the sauce was just right, vinegary and tomatoey. The only other really tasty offering was the cheesy corn dish which had discernible corn and was well-seasoned as well as cheesy. The beans, slaw and sweet potato salad were underseasoned and uninteresting. The chicken was dry and rather tasteless and the burnt ends were mediocre as well. T-Rex can do good food; I know it. Their fried chicken w/mashed potatoes and kale is delicious; their mac and cheese is good, and they do ribs pretty well. I'm surprised at how boring they're able to make a multitude of sides. Are they not caring about the food b/c it's only a $19 buffet? Come on, K2. I like your ideas, but, in terms of taste, you can do better.

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

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  1. Is that every Weds through summer?

    2 Replies
    1. re: nicedragonboy

      I'm guessing it's every Wednesday as long as it brings in business. The K2 group seems to be very savvy about dealing with the economic downturn.

      1. re: lacerise

        Yeah and its smart to let people fill up on starches but they should at least be seasoned or sauces available to make them tasty.... Sweet potato and slaw are pretty hard to mess up.

    2. we didn't go to the buffet, but we did go today for lunch - for the 4th of july weekend they had happy hour all day. Food was mostly bad. I had baby back ribs which were totally dry and flavorless - sauce wasn't all that great. sister had the fried chicken - it came to the table very dark and uber-crunchy (like Pioneer Chicken crunchy) with an acrid taste, so she sent it back. it came back just as dark. she didn't eat it. two others with us had the "other burger" = 4 oz - i guess they liked them, tho they looked awfully dry to me. i tasted the fries (not included with that burger) - very subpar. my sister's kale was the best thing on the table - it was delicious. we also had a half order of the mac-n-cheese = very good. we ordered a happy hour portion of deviled eggs - just deviled eggs, nothing special or fancy, just very meh. the bbq potato chips were pretty flavorless, perhaps because we didn't order the side of bleu cheese dressing for $2.00 extra on the side with them. bloody marys were ok. $80+. oh yeah, the marys came with little chasers of warm PBR. This is only the 2nd time I''ve been - last time was not long after they first opened. wasn't impressed then, not impressed now -ESPECIALLY with the bbq - that at least they should get somewhat right, shouldn't they? will not being going back.

      5 Replies
      1. re: mariacarmen

        I really want this place to be as excellent as it could be, and hope that they'll find a way to steer the ship in the right direction.

        1. re: escargot3

          Tomorrow's sounds really good - not sure if I'll make it or not (I haven't been to one of the Wednesday dinners yet)

          Slow Smoked Carolina Pork
          Pulled & Chopped

          Sliced Carolina Pork

          Carolina Pork Bellies

          Three Sauces on the Side
          spicy pepper & vinegar, smokey mustard & vinegar, smokey tomato BBQ

          Hoppin' John
          black-eyed peas, rice & spicy sausage

          North Carolina Red Slaw

          South Carolina Collards

          Grilled Sweet Potatoes
          with bourbon glaze

          Ho-made* Southern Buttermilk Biscuits

          Classic Carolina Banana Pudding


            1. re: Melanie Wong

              Was at home with a nasty cold and stayed home, sorry, no report.

      2. They're doing Carolina-style whole hog barbecue again this Wednesday. I don't like that style myself but people regularly complain that they can't get it around here. Price has gone up to $22.

        9 Replies
        1. re: Robert Lauriston

          I went to tonights whole pig feed!

          It was all average to bad.


          1. re: Mission

            We've gone to a couple. The "Korean" one was not very Korean but the short ribs and fried chicken were quite good. The Mexican one was pretty good, though the refried beans with chorizo were the only item I liked as much as the spareribs on the regular menu, or the sliders, tacos, nachos, or deviled eggs on the happy hour menu.

            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              The entire whole pig menu was like a "BBQ buffet" you would have in Vegas for $8.99 or on a cheap cruise ship.

              Everything tasted stale and processed.

              The only highlight was I can now say without a doubt I've had the worst "corn bread" ever made in the World!


              I used to love T Rex's happy Happy Hour, Appetizer Specials.

              But I don't think I will ever return.

              1. re: Mission

                Mission, that's too bad, because the ingredients are fresh. I didn't go to either of the whole pig events.

                I have been to two of the Wednesday buffets.

                (1) Mexican - I thought it was good - I agree with Robert - the beans were my favorite thing - although the carnitas were a close second. I also liked the corn. Actually, I didn't dislike anything, but if I had to make a plate of my favorites, it would have been the above.

                (2) The "best of" - they did this after several weeks in - and put the favorites all on one buffet. I thought everything was good but too many conflicting flavors (as it wasn't a theme, but rather, "best of." The biscuits were great.

                Overall, I think it is a fun concept, and a good value at $22. They are constantly preparing small quantities of the items for the serving trays, so for the most part, nothing is sitting out all that long. Once a month max for that kind of eating is plenty for me.

                Re: Mission - One "bad buffet" at a non-buffet restaurant I like wouldn't keep me away in the future.

                1. re: lmnopm

                  I went last night too and didn't go back for a second plate let's say. I agree that the food was average to not great. The sliced pork was best but the ribs were kind of tough (even the fatty ones). The sides were heavy. There were no cracklings! The meal seemed indifferent. The Korean one was superior in every way, so I would say there is a range of experience one can have. At $22/whole meal one can afford to spin the wheel now and again.

                  1. re: rubadubgdub

                    There is no crackling in that kind of chopped Carolina BBQ. That and the vinegar are the main reasons I don't care for it.

                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                      I love vinegar based BBQ.
                      I guess that is why I was so disappointed at this "Sysco" tasting BBQ buffet!

                      My $22 meal ended up costing me $40 out the door.


                      "Mission, that's too bad, because the ingredients are fresh. (however) I didn't go to either of the whole pig events."

                      No they were not!
                      Every dish had a stale taste to it.

                      Even their homemade Potato chips, that I got a sample of were stale and old.

                      Is Berkeley in a culinary De_evolution?

                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                        Due to the low & slow cooking method which leaves the skin leathery, many NC pit masters fry the skin to make pork rinds. Good stuff!

                        1. re: Civil Bear

                          Here's the fried skin at Lexington Barbecue #1,
                          and what you look like after you eat it,

                          And the chopped whole hog Eastern NC style at Ayden's Skylight Inn, idiosyncratic for mixing in some of the skin,
                          (roll over the photo for the note).

                          P. S. I never liked vinegar-based sauces till I went to North Carolina. They're spicier, sweeter in the balance, and less harshly sour in their native place than what's served out here.

            1. re: Mission

              I thought about it, but the Paisan dinner sounded so good (and indeed, it was).

              2514 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley, CA 94702

            2. This week's "Italian barbecue fusion" seems kind of scary to me:

              spaghetti with barbecue sauce
              manicotti stuffed with beef short rib meat and goat cheese
              pulled pork ravioli
              brisket lasagne
              beans with ham hock and Carolina-style BBQ pork
              grilled asparagus with bacon
              mushrooms stuffed with hot links and pesto
              corn on the cob
              garlic toast

              2 Replies
              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                Sounds great to me. If I wasn't on a diet so I could fit into my suit for my daughter's wedding I'd be first in line.

                1. re: wolfe

                  The pasta actually looked great. We were walking in for happy hour yesterday when they were doing the "photo shoot" on the pasta.