You guys are so patient with me - thank you!
The ingredients in the photo on the last post were most closely guessed by Brett, who got everything right except the focaccia. However, Miss Cathy actually names the whole dish as it was listed on the restaurant's menu. Problem is, Hangtown Fry is most often made with the oysters cooked INTO the omelet, as opposed to the way these were served, kinda loosey-goosey. Congratulations to Brett!
Still, though, no one guessed the restaurant, which I can't say say surprises me much.
C's been wanting to hit T-Rex for quite some time, but I've struggled with the whole "cross-the-border-into-Berkeley" thing. Still, when some friends raved about it, and another pair of friends suggested it for our upcoming brunch, I was happy to have the chance to check it out.
T-Rex is a pretty, bright, airy space -- and it's big. Much bigger than I expected, in fact, with a 2nd story and lots of well-spaced tables. I could see the place getting really loud on a hopping Friday night, but on a Sunday afternoon, we were pleasantly surprised at how tolerable the noise level was.
We settled in to review a varied and nicely seasonal brunch menu, but as soon as my eye caught a glimpse of Maple Sugar Beignets, Espresso Custard ($9), my food-filter shut down and I practically hollered the order to our waitress before she'd even taken our drink orders. (Look, in my defense, it was 2pm and none of us had eaten a thing all day.)
We'd all heard stellar reviews of the cocktails here, with their whimsical and often literary names (but, you know, not in that gross pretentious way). Their spin on a champagne cocktail (Prosecco with a sugar cube and lemon bitters) was so delightful that I found myself ordering some of these heady bitters online. C ordered a Death in the Afternoon (bubbles and pastis -- kill me, indeed). He loved it, though I really don't care much for anise-flavored spirits, and am thus a crummy judge of said cocktail. J's cocktail was perhaps the most unique - something vodka-y and grapefruit-y, with rosemary simple syrup. Oh, and a rosemary sprig for visual interest. (See for yourselves, people - it was visually interesting! And only a wee bit affected.)
So, by this time, the beignets have arrived (thank god, 'cos I was about to eat my hand), and we've ordered our mains. But first. The beignets? Not really so much - more like really, really good donut holes. But no one cared - they were lovely and the espresso custard? It was only because there was a child in attendance that I didn't use four letter words and eat more than my fair share. But this child? He would have understood if I had. (You'll see why shortly).
C, bless his heart, ordered Duck Confit Hash ($15). I love creative uses of stuff that wouldn't otherwise be sold -- including the best, crispy-brown bits of confit. Tasty dish. My Hangtown Fry ($14) was exceptional. Really. Thick-cut, chewy-crisp bacon? Check. Fluffy (and I do mean fluffy), delectable scrambled eggs? Yup. Battered and fried oysters, all plump and juicy-like? Uh-huh. The toast and potatoes, too, were really good. This is a dish I could order again and again.
CG ordered the Baked Tart of Niman Ranch ham, Gruyere and Caramelized Onions ($13). Was it good? Couldn't tell ya - by the time I did my bloggerly duty and looked up from my plate, she was already wiping the last of the oozy goodness up with the puff-pastry shell. J was the only one who stayed true to T-Rex's "calling", and ordered the Beef Brisket Platter ($12).
<rant>If you're going to call yourself a barbeque joint, then your meat damn well better have some solid smoke rings. And also? Don't serve dry brisket. It's insulting to the cow who gave up his armpit for my eating pleasure. </rant>
'Nuf said, right? Right.
OK. So, that kid I was talking about? He ordered a burger, medium. And him? He gets some good pleasure out of eating delicious things. Here's how I know:
He was also the catalyst for order the Mac & Cheese with Aged Cheddar, Parmesan and Niman Ranch Ham ($8) -- which was just stupid in it's oozy and delicious goodness. Do I even need to tell you that he's my favorite kid of all time?
So. T-Rex. I really liked the place. And in all fairness, I do need to give their 'que another try. Still, I just kinda wish they'd take the "BBQ" out of their name -- it would give their kitchen a whole lot more credit for pulling off some really outstanding dishes that have nothing to do with a smoker.
1300 Tenth Street, Berkeley