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First Bite: Sidetracked by Sandwiches

Pleasanton’s latest bar and grill offers up premium cuts at reasonable prices.


SideTrack Bar and Grill

If you are a sucker for a Reuben or a Cubano, or are defenseless against braised-barbecue pork or drool-inducing Wagyu beef in artisanal buns topped with, say, roasted poblanos, just go—you can stop reading here.

On our early December visit, SideTrack Bar and Grill’s exterior was festooned with cutouts of candy canes and gingerbread men, while the dining room sported a sea of tables and a slick sports bar. But owners Todd Utikal (look for the side of tater “Todds”) and Skip Hensley (a longtime local restaurateur whose gorgonzola-stuffed scoozzi—made legendary at Pleasanton’s Girasole—leads the menu) are after a little cache and have engaged Jeremy Troupe-Masi (of Pleasanton’s Sabio on Main and Livermore’s Range Life) to develop the bar program (mostly craft beers and wine, but innovative cocktails too). Sidetrack also boasts a pair of semi-enclosed patios for those who just want a little peace, an icy Coke, and an oversized bowl of garlic fries.  

The Reuben was all about the rye (thick) and the house-made corned beef (peppery and plentiful). I prefer a gooier model—more sauce and sauerkraut—but this was damn good, as were the pile of onion rings (for $2 more than fries). The Cubano came with the requisite roasted pork and smoked ham, and had almost enough zingy mustard and pickle. But the bun was fluffy, not griddled, which was OK, as this less greasy formula allowed me to demolish my superior garlicky fries ($1 extra than regular).

There’s also a great appetizer list, including a tower of fresh avocado and ahi poke that we devoured, plus other seafood treats such as crab cakes and shellfish ceviche.

30 West Angela St., Pleasanton, (925) 399-6789, sidetrackeats.com. Lunch and dinner daily.

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