When my kids were younger, I used to take them to Yerba Buena Gardens and we’d often had lunch at the Buckhorn Grill in the Metreon. I wasn’t super fond of that restaurant, but it served food they would eat. So when my husband suggested that we had lunch at the Buckhorn Grill at Stoneridge Mall, after a visit to the Apple store, I wasn’t extremely enthusiastic. But food options were limited and it was Father’s Day, so he had the right to pick the place. I have to give him credit, he picked right. Not only was the food at this Buckhorn Grill excellent, but it was reasonably priced.
I had the “bacon cheddar buck” ($8.50) and it was pretty much the perfect sandwich. The roast beef itself was delicious, and the bacon and cheese complimented rather than competed with the meat. Mike liked his “big buck” ($9), which came with caramelized onions and he also thought it was great, at least until he tried my sandwich.
My daughters had the burgers, and while the old one was pleased with hers (at least until she tried my sandwich), the younger one didn’t like it at all. It was a plain burger, so my husband, who finished it, didn’t find it particularly exciting.
In addition to sandwiches, Buckhorn Grill offers platters of their BBQ meats. A whole take home tri tip (feeds 5 to 6) is $25. You can even order online.
Buckhorn has ten restaurants in the Bay Area/Northern California. I think they would do great if they came to San Leandro, and if our business development unit at City Hall wasn’t so lame, they would be trying to entice them to come to town.
2245 Stoneridge Mall Rd.
Today I took my daughter to lunch at her favorite chain restaurant, Panda Express (783 A Street, one of *three* locations in Hayward). It was much better than I expected. For $5.50 you get your choice of fried rice or a simple chow mein, and any two of about a dozen entrees.
All the meat is tender and seems to be of decent quality.
I didn’t try the fried rice, but the chow mein has “wok hei” – the smoky aftertaste of a properly made stir-fry. The orange chicken (my daughter’s favorite) was tangy and not over-sweet; the crust was not mushy at all. The sweet and sour pork is – well, inoffensive.
I had broccoli beef and black pepper chicken. The broccoli was cut a little too large to be convenient to eat. It would have been more manageable either cut smaller or cooked a little longer. Mind you, it was delicious. The pepper chicken was aromatic with black pepper, but not hot, and strewn with slivers of onion and green pepper.
Very little of the food is prefab; we were able to see a huge glass-fronted refrigerator filled with trays of raw vegetables.
I don’t know that it’s a particularly child-friendly place: most of the chairs and tables are tall, like bar stools, which would be risky for small children. (My daughter’s an adult, so that wasn’t an issue for us.)
There are banners hung from the ceiling proclaiming “Gourmet Chinese Food.” I wouldn’t go that far, but Panda Express presses most of the Chinese-American-cooking joy buttons.