Woo! There’s another BBQ place in the East Bay. When we tried to stop by the beloved and increasingly popular Commonwealth Pub, there was nary a seat to be found. We are the type of people to celebrate having to be turned away because we are happy our fav places will stay in business. Anyway, we were in the neighborhood of upper Telegraph and trying to figure out where to eat and saw the sign for Phat Matt’s, a yelp favorite. Since we were there, we decided to give it a try.
Phat Matt’s is an interesting restaurant. Half of the space is a bar and the other half is homey diner style tables with big rolls of paper towels. We went in and had a warm greeting from one of the owners, Charlotte (wife of the namesake Matt who is not even close to phat). The folks at Phat Matt’s are really friendly and we learned their roots of being home cooks who entered amateur BBQ contests and then decided to go pro (which took a LOT of experimenting). According to Charlotte, while the food is made with love, it’s actually low-sodium (except for the collard greens) because she has high blood pressure.
Their meat options were as follows:
Smoked Tri-Tip $13.50
Texas Style Brisket $12.99
N. Carolina Style Pulled Pork $12.99
Memphis Style Pork Ribs $12.99
Hot Links $12.50
Pulled Chicken $13.50
Chicken Leg Quarter $12.50
And then the side options were pretty traditional:
So. Style Macaroni & Cheese $3.50
Collard Greens $3.50
Baked Beans $3.50
Potato Salad $3.50
We outed ourselves as newbies and asked what we should get if we were going to do a two-item combo. Charlotte insisted that whatever else, we get the ribs. So I ended up getting a combo plate of the ribs and the hot links with a side of collards and coleslaw. J got the combo plate of ribs and the brisket with the baked beans and coleslaw. I’ll let you know, all of the sides are solid. They are exactly what you would want. In particular, the collard greens were well seasoned as they were cooked with a ham hock. But the meat! Holy cow. The hotlinks were your standard fare but THANK GOD Charlotte recommended the ribs. They were SMOKEY! Just fully infused with smoke flavor. Because they were thoroughly smoked, they don’t have that fall-off-the-bone texture. The meat is drier and chewier but still delicious. The brisket had that signature ring of smoke and the deep smoke flavor of the ribs and was amazingly tender. Complementing the meat was the spicy sauce that lived up to its name. Really, the sauce made me sweat. It was a perfect balance of sweet, sour, salty and spicy. The following week we went back and J tried their pulled pork and I tried the chicken quarter. Both were as good as the ribs/brisket. I was happy to see that the pulled pork somehow didn’t have a stringy consistency. AND we had a slice of bacon-pecan-chocolate pie. HEAVEN.