Westbrae Biergarten (Berkeley)
- Robert Lauriston Jul 27, 2014 10:15 AM
Walked over last night. Fun that it's right off Ohlone Greenway.
Place was pretty full but some people left and we got one end of a table. Pleasant to sit outside but as it got chilly there weren't enough heaters.
Eight taps but they had run out of a couple of things. We had a decent gose ($6.42), Trumer pils ($5.50), a Linden black lager, and a Racer 5 (they didn't give me itemized receipts for the last two).
Brazil Cafe was it for the food. Apparently they changed from their original plans and now have a second guest truck only a couple of times a month.
The only standout dish was the risolis (cheese corn fritters), kind of expensive at $7 for three. The coxinha (chicken croquettes, $7 for 4) were undercooked, dry, and bland, couldn't take more than a bite. The fries ($5) were impressively awful, somehow simultaneously dry and soggy. Do they buy this stuff frozen in bulk from Sysco or whoever? The coxinha looked machine-made.
Shared a linguica sandwich and carnitas sandwich ($9.50 each). Poofy tasteless bread got soggy and was falling apart so I just picked out the filling. Tasted OK but there are so many places that do better for that price. Had a bite of the tri-tip, it was no better.
re: Robert Lauriston
I'm glad you posted this review today-- it encouraged us to eat before meeting up with some friends there. Glad we did--- it wasn't that crowded, but one of our party ordered a sandwich that took 45 minutes.
They'd run out of a bunch of beers by 6:30, but had the following left:
Gose Sour Wheat from Almanac
Linden Black Lager
Aroma Coma IPA from Drake's
Smoked Amber from Fort Point
1881 Indigenous California Red Ale
The lack of music and noise, besides BART, made this a good place for nursing some beers and chatting.
re: Robert Lauriston
I noticed a sign up this morning that they will have the No Worries Filipino truck there on Thursdays moving forward--don't know them, but I gather they are a regular at the North Berkeley OTG. We were similarly underwhelmed by the fries and the tri-tip sandwich (husband says the tri-tip is better from the main location) but the risolis and the rice bowl were actually quite good. We got the kid version of the rice bowl with linguica, but I think it is pretty similar to the adult version. (My kid was not a fan but fortunately happily ate the fries, risolis, and tri-tip so I ate the rice bowl instead!)
My main issue with the place was just how ridiculously crowded it was--I don't like having to stalk tables, wait in line for 20 minutes, and then wait another 30 for my food to come. Ugh. But we went on a Friday night when they had only been open a few weeks, so maybe it will hit a better cadence in the future. Perhaps the key is to go for lunch or on a weeknight when things are mellower in general and they have time to pay more attention to the food. (I will say that on a warm night, it was a terrific place to eat outside once we finally got a table, so they get points for that concept!)
And yes, I think the cheapest wine is $11 a glass, though it sounds like that's about the going price for that winery. Most people with wine seemed to be ordering it by the carafe, though (and the vast majority of people had beer). They also have Caamano Bros. sarsparilla soda (one of my favorites) and a few other soda options. If I lived in the neighborhood I'd probably go back since it's an easy place to eat with young kids on a summer night, but since I don't, we won't be in a rush to return.
No Worries is vegan Filipino ( a contradiction in terms IMHO)- faux meat.
I was excited to see a Filipino truck at the 12th St. pod last week, until I saw the menu and recalled that this is the former brick and mortar spot that didn't last long near 14th and Franklin.
The place is a bit controversial in the nabe, fueled by the World Cup:
re: Pius Avocado III
Interesting--I can definitely see the neighbors being frustrated (parking was a nightmare the night we went, and it's after Berkeley permit parking would expire anyway so I'm sure maddening for those who arrive home from work to find no street spaces left). Also very interesting on the occupancy debate. There were far more than 100 people when we were there--I guess that must have been during the period when they were going by the cap of 270--and honestly it would have been a lot more pleasant if they had kept the numbers down. I have to imagine that contributed to the backup on ordering, too.