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Nov 27, 2011 10:27 PM

Smoke -- new BBQ (maybe) on San Pablo, Berkeley

I heard today that the little Mexican restaurant adjoining the car wash on the west side of San Pablo has been replaced by a place called Smoke. My friend was pretty vague, but he mentioned brisket and sandwiches. Didn't know if (despite the name) they actually smoke their meat there. Oh, and he said it was "gourmet." Anyone else know anything?

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  1. Just opened about a week ago. Chef Tina hails from Texas, and knows her way around the kitchen. In addition to Texas BBQ of ribs and brisket, she offered tea smoked salmon last week (prepped in a wok). So it's more than just a Texas influence. I plan to go over this week. It's definitely likely to be a chow worthy location.

    Hours are limited as they get their feet wet:
    wed-friday 11-2 (I think)
    i forget the weekend schedule.

    2 Replies
    1. re: escargot3

      'car wash on the west side of San Pablo'

      anyone know the address?


      1. re: escargot3

        I stopped by today. Hours are wed-friday 11-2, sat-sun 11-4, closed m&t. Looks good!

      2. Here's more info:

        The address is 2434 San Pablo and the phone is 510 548-8801.
        The website is:

        Menu includes a Feta Leek Tart, Salads and Texas Slow Smoked Beef
        Brisket and South Carolina Pulled Pork plates, sandwiches and sliders.
        Her Chocolate Pecan Pie won the Blue Ribbon at the Blanco County Fair
        and is to die for. She is serving fresh squeezed lemonade. No sodas.

        The food is fresh and locally sourced including the vegetables which
        come from Catalon Farms.

        Sounds promising.

        2 Replies
        1. re: escargot3

          Thanks for supplying all the information. It does sound promising.

          1. re: Glencora

            Try the delicious, moist Tea Smoked Salmon with ginger cilantro sauce, endorsed by Mrs. wolfe.

        2. I stopped in for lunch today. The brisket (plate, $8.00) was some of the best I've had, tender and moist. They're ramping up slowly, so they only had a mild sauce for it, but it was pleasantly citrusy without being too sweet. I asked about the South Carolina pulled pork; they aren't currently dressing it with the SC vinegar sauce, but that's coming too. They do their smoking in-house.

          Only a couple of tables, order at the counter, and chat with Tina the owner, a Chez Panisse alum, while you wait and while you eat.

          2 Replies
          1. re: ernie in berkeley

            I'm curious as to what makes it particularly South Carolinan as opposed to North Carolinan- have any idea?

            1. re: Pius Avocado III

              You can get the classic tomato and vinegar sauces in SC, but the thing that usually distinguishes it is a yellow mustard based sauce. There's a good post on serious eats at

          2. I drove by Smoke, by the car wash where La Villa Taqueria used to be, and hey, they were open. Got a Brisket sandwich and quite liked it. Smokey and flavorful, slight dryness moistened by tasty red sauce. Tangy cole slaw as a choice for side dish. This bodes well. Plotting return visit soon.

            1. brisket plate (8)had brisket that was moist, tender and some portions were dry. nice tangy, sweet sauce.
              wasn't sure of the smoke in the meat. small portions of cornbread, salad, and potato side as well.
              lemonade(1.5) made to order. pretty tart as i didn't want sugar in it.
              open days scheduled tuesday thru saturdays for now. limited staff.