T-Rex Barbeque 1300 10th St., Berkeley (510) 527-0099
Barbecue gets the gourmet treatment at T-Rex. The meat comes from small, high-quality ranches and is smoked in-house. The results are unforgettable: juicy pulled pork butt, tender brisket, and addictive, smoky ribs. T-Rex’s owners, Haig and Cindy Krikorian, are as close to moguls as the high-minded, food-centric East Bay will ever allow: They own five unique restaurants in Berkeley.
T-Rex’s two-story building has a modern design, combining enormous windows with sleek furnishings. The bar offers an impressive array of whiskeys, beers, and wines, and blues music is often in the air. Servers are young but proficient, and you might find restaurant types hanging out late, because the kitchen keeps cracking past midnight.
Welcome reminders that you’re in a Northern California barbecue joint include Hog Island oysters with a killer mignonette sauce and, on our visit, a salad of mixed greens with roasted beets and Point Reyes blue cheese. The spicy, smoked chicken drumsticks, while a bit oversized for nibbling, are T-Rex’s scrumptious answer to a sports bar’s buffalo wings. The house burger gets a similar upgrade. The juicy half-pounder comes on a super-fresh bakery roll. Tangy, house-made jalapeño ketchup and bread and butter pickles set off its flavor.
You’ll be full after dinner, but try a scoop of the coconut sorbet. It’s light, fruity, and the perfect ending to a well-made, unpretentious meal. Lunch and dinner daily. $$$.