Note: Biggies has closed.
Biggies BBQ has been opened for a couple of months already, but I didn’t find out about it until the San Leandro Times did a story on it last Thursday. Of course I had to go – not just because it’s my moral imperative to review each and every restaurant in San Leandro (except for those that are obviously bad), but also because I like Brazilian food. I will note that while Brazilians love meat and their espetos corridos are legendary, their meat is unfortunately not as good as that from Argentina. Then again, nobody’s is.
Biggies BBQ is a very most restaurant located in the Marina Faire shopping center in San Leandro. It looks like a shopping mall restaurant, it has no decorations or ambiance and the tables/chairs are the cheapy kind. But that in itself is an advantage, as it suggests cheaper food. We went there for dinner the Friday night after the article about them came out, and while the place was pretty empty when we got there, it really filled up by 7 PM or so. Alas, they weren’t prepared for this – the lone waitress could barely keep up with the needs of every table, and every table in the restaurant was occupied. The kitchen seemed to have the same problem, while our appetizers came right away, we had to wait over one hour for our entree. And believe me, an hour with hungry/antsy kids is just not fun.
Biggies’ menu needs to be redone. As it is it lists appetizers, drinks, daily lunch specials, weekend specials and desserts. No, it doesn’t list entrees, which makes it quite disconcerting. Apparently this is because they have different offerings each night (though only a couple of these), though they have the Brazilian BBQ plate ($13) every day. Many of the offerings, furthermore, are listed by their Portuguese name, and the menu doesn’t explain what they are. This all means that the waitress needs to spend some time explaining the menu to each table – which, of course, makes service even slower.
We started with two pasteles, which turned out to be large, square, fried empanadas-like pastries filled with minimum seasoned ground beef ($3 each). Despite the lack of meat I really liked them, the dough was both crispy and doughy and had a nice flavor, the meat was also nicely seasoned (not in the least spicy). The kids liked them too.
We followed by what I thought was the esfirra ($3 each) but, looking online, might have been a joelho (not in the menu), a baked sweet bun filled with cheese and tomato (I think, though the waitress said it was ham). This was also very good.
After an hour or so we had the Brazilian BBQ which consisted of two chunks of beef, a tiny Brazilian sausage and a small chicken leg. The meat was a little tough and overdone (medium rather than the medium rare I’d requested), but it had a great flavor. The intense marinade brought up, rather than hid, the gamy taste of the beef and I loved it. The only problem was that the marinade was too salty. The same can be said about the sausage and the chicken. The latter had a very crispy skin and moist meat. The meats were served with a large quantity of rice and (refried?) beans (which Camila liked).
In all, I was very happy with the food, but Mike and I thought that it was a tad expensive – HOWEVER, I just realized that you can buy gift certificates for the restaurant (dinner only) at restaurant.com – a $25 gift certificate usually costs $10, so you’d save $15, but sometimes you can get them for as cheap as $2 (keep an eye on dealdetectives.com. That would be a savings of $23!!! I wish I had thought about checking restaurant.com yesterday! I don’t know how they can make any money at those prices, which worries me a little (I want them to stick around!).
I will definitely go to Biggies BBQ again – though in several weeks, when it becomes less busy 🙂
13700 Doolittle Drive #110
San Leandro, CA
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Biggies BBQ Restaurant – San Leandro – Review
Note: Biggies has closed.