First Look inside Slow Hand’s new BBQ restaurant in Martinez

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The King is retired. Long live the King.

Martinez lost a barbecue jewel with the retirement earlier this year of Rob and Yvette Zavatero, proprietors of Beaver Creek Smokehouse. The BBQ spot was instantly one of my favorites when the Zavateros opened it in 2015. But never fear! Award-winning pitmaster Dan Freng’s Slow Hand BBQ, which has been gathering a devoted following for several years in Pleasant Hill, is expanding to a second location and taking over the Main Street spot.

Best of all, the Zavateros and Freng are all friends in the East Bay barbecue community, so there’s nothing but love and support in the handover. For customers, the upshot is easy: You had great BBQ in Martinez before, and you still do.

THE VIBE: Easy-going and small-townish; this is downtown Martinez we’re talking about, after all. Slow Hand is counter service, so diners step inside, contemplate the giant menu, make their choices and find a place to sit. Your meal is brought to you after a few minutes.

Slow Hand has a dining room to seat about 30 people, and a back patio that can accommodate about that many again. The dining room is fairly simply decorated, with lots of dark wood and orange-and-black highlights, also seen at their Pleasant Hill restaurant. (Giants fans, maybe?)

THE FOOD: It’s delicious.

Oh, you wanted more? OK. Slow Hand is masterful in smoking its chosen BBQ staples — beef brisket ($7 for a quarter pound, $12 for half a pound, $23 for a full pound), smoked chicken ($11.95 whole chicken/ $7.95 half), baby back and St. Louis ribs ($29.50 for a full rack/ $15.50 for a half), and chopped pork ($5 to $16), served in a zippy mustard-vinegar sauce that is not shy about its tangy bite. For the most part, Slow Hand’s BBQ is served sauce-free; “regular” and spicy sauces are available, but not necessary for the well-seasoned meats.

Side dishes complete the meals, with guests choosing from a vinegar-cilantro coleslaw, German or traditional potato salad (German is served warm, with red potatoes, vinegar and crumbled bacon), velvety mac & cheese, and “loaded” tater tots that you can customize with smoked meats, cheese sauce, and onion jams.

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DON’T MISS: Slow Hand’s Pleasant Hill menu has grown immensely

Source:: The Mercury News – Lifestyle


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