Dan Gordon's [ Palo Alto ]

Gordon Biersch in Palo Alto - the long flagship - has been off my radar for years due to the now-average quality of GB beer, the Sysco-ish food ( except the pizzas last time I stopped by ), and overall cave-like atmosphere.

Dan Gordon, the Gordon in GB, has apparently taken the location and updated. I like it.

I detest downtown palo alto more and more every day, with only a few places I enjoy remaining. High rents are putting the squeeze on restaurants, causing simplified reduced menus in many cases. We’re left with restaurants that I would call tourist traps if Palo Alto was a tourist town - like Sam’s, Opa!, Umami. Chains - small chains - all. At least we have Delfina ( small chain again ) and Steam and maybe the burmese places.

Not high hopes for an “elevated BBQ” place. And yet - the visit was good.

We got a “meat board” sampler, which as an app would have satisfied us for the entire meal, and gives both the brisket and the pulled pork. Sandwitches are reasonably priced. We also found something vaguely not meat in the “cold green beans” with a large side dish at $4.

The BBQ is quite good. As BBQ has become popular, I’ve done a little bit of BBQ eating nationally - north carolina, kansas city, texas, and many of the places that have been cropping up. I still like Smoking Pig quite a bit, but Dan’s is a cut above. Smoke level is good but not overwhelming. Brisket is moist ( get the fatty ). Sauce is not required but welcome. Links were only average.

I had the czech-style pilzner, from the “Dan Gordon style” beer list, and pronounce it tasty. It has that freshness that you get within the city limits of pilzen, and I haven’t tasted for a long, long time. It’s a far step up from GB’s beers, which are probably using the same recipies from 25 years ago ( and were quite good then, the world has just moved on ). There are hipster touches like whiskey on tap, wine on tap, and a very large selection of american whiskey.

More importantly, the atmosphere is airy and inviting, with a very large number of tables. High, low, communal, outdoors. There are a lot of tables, so your chances of going and having to wait seem low. It even seems child friendly. It’s going to be another long warm summer, and if you’re in Palo Alto thinking of a burger and a beer, you could do worse than elbowing up to the bar here.

Even better - we were stuffed ( wanting to try as much as the menu as possible ) for a total of $25/pp, with one large beer shared and a togo box. We could have easily eaten well for $20, which currently passes for a bargain in Palo Alto.

other local notes:

BBC in MP’s construction has been continuing. Starting to think about being habitable, maybe? Still issues like the elevator to the new roof garden is not complete, so I’m thinking they won’t hit a summer opening.

Tokyo Subway’s location is getting built out with a good-looking japanese place.

You might enjoy the new oaked strong blonde ale at Bon marche next time you find yourself in mid Market in SF

no bbq but the pork chop (culotte) is quite juicy

A few comments about other BBQ:

  • Perdition in Berkeley had a tendency toward dry, I never loved them.

  • Smokestack in SF is better, but light on smoke & flavor

  • 3 Pigs is about at the same level as smokestack.

  • Smoking Pig is still a little light on smoke to my taste, but I think they’re the real deal.

  • Brick Pig was juicy and about at the same level as Smoking Pig.

— a number of others I haven’t tried.

I like DG better than any of these.

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Isn’t he credited with bringing garlic fries to America?

The internet says it so it must be true.

Thanks for the report. What kind of style of BBQ is Dan Gordon’s? Kinda curious where they smoke their meat…

The style feels mostly texas to me. They have the three sauces like North Carolina does, but aim toward a fattier style I think of as Texas.

More informed people can report.

I doubt they smoke on site… the roof? … so I’m now curious too. Maybe I’ll chat someone up next time I’m in.

LOL I actually looked at the Google satellite map to see if they have any ‘facilities’ on the roof or in the back alley. I didn’t see anything obvious places. But then again the menu just changed to include BBQ.

There’s a lot of room in the back where they seem to still have the big brewing tanks. Maybe they removed one or two. And, maybe they have enough of a scrubber to take out all the odor. Or maybe they do it offsite. I’ll report back if I find out.