Elevation 66 - El Cerrito
I'm surprised there hasn't been more about E66 on Chowhound. I'd been hearing about it for months from friends and locals in the area and finally got the chance to stop by there before a couple rounds of bowling down the street.
First off, it's a brewery, and you can see the tanks behind the counter as you walk in. Cool. They have about 5 -6 regular drafts on the menu plus a few more rotating brews. They do a really good job with all of them. With my group we got to try their Golden Ale, East Bay IPA, Choco-Nut, Red Ale. My favorite was the Choco-Nut, which my friend described as "a light Guinness on a Hawaiian vacation".
There were also a couple of other local beers available on the menu as well.
On to the food, which included a few of what you'd expect at at pub, like fish and chips and a burger, but this place is definitely aiming higher. There was also grilled calamari, seared scallops, porkbelly, chicken cassoulet, risotto and did I mention the burger was Waygu? The food was definitely better than expected.
This spot is a really great addition to the area and makes a perfect stop before or after a movie at the El Cerrito Theater next door.
four of us went here for lunch today and split the causa - a peruvian, molded potato salad-type dish (commonly made with chicken or tuna) and the kalua pork tacos. for mains we had the fish & chips, the roasted pork sandwich (a cubano), the BLT, and the mac-n-cheese.
the best dish of the meal for me was the kalua pork starter. cooked 12 hours in banana leaves, these were the best, most tender and succulent pork tacos i've had in a long while. they came with a sauce made of blended kimchi - faintly recognizable as such, a tad spicy, utterly delicious. i'd come back and have this as my main - 4 little tacos would make a perfect light meal.
the causa was good as well, accompanied by two shrimps, and i believe there was finely chopped shrimp throughout. the sauce it came with had habaneros in it so it had a very nice kick.
my dad's cubano only suffered in that it was served on ciabatta (Acme) that was too hard for him to chew (he's 84). and for me, a cubano should be like a panini, and this wasn't, but it still had really nice flavor. the accompanying fingerling potato salad was fresh and bright.
my BLT suffered from the same bread problem (although i love Acme) - too much bread for a proper BLT, in my opinion. other than that, perfectly tasty. oh and it had avocado on it too.
our friend who had the fish and chips ordered a curried mayo she saw on the menu, and the dish came with its own ponzu aioli. both were outstanding dips, and we all dipped different things into them. the fish & chips tasted fresh, but for me the beer batter breading had steamed a bit and was coming off the fish a bit. still, very good.
my sister had the porcini mushroom mac-n-cheese with oyster mushrooms & white truffle oil. and, oddly, fried pickles on the side. the mac-n-cheese was a rich enough dish that the side shouldn't have been something fried, we felt, and were too heavily breaded, in my opinion. the pasta was good and cheesy, although you really couldn't taste the truffle oil. the dish comes in its own covered little cast-iron pot, which stayed hot throughout our meal.
i had a really delicious lilac pale ale (i think that's what it was called.) not a huge beer person, so i can't comment too much more than that. refreshing and not too bitter.
looking forward to trying the rest of the menu - Piemontese hangar steak with banana fingerling bravas, grilled cheese "spontanee" (basically, they spontaneously make it with different cheeses), the Wagyu burger, pork chop... this is a good neighborhood place.