Hungry for 'cue in the west Valley? The meats smoked in salvaged propane tanks behind Eric's are the best you'll find. Eric Tanori smokes the old-fashioned way, meaning without the assistance of gas, a labor-intensive method that raises the ceiling for how good marquee cuts, like brisket, can be. In his spacious, cafeteria-style dining room and out on a homestyle patio, that brisket adorns just about every platter. Slices come thick, broad folds pungent with the deep smoke of mesquite. They almost dissolve on your tongue like spoonfuls of pudding. This is one of the best briskets and some of the most impressive barbecue in the Valley. In this brisket, you can taste musky echoes of the charcoal-grilled carne asada Tanori grew up eating. As with brisket, he seems to approach each meat a shade differently; the stripped-down Texas style that many of his meats recall remains a reference point, not a law like gravity. At Eric's, smoked turkey (one true test of a pitmaster's skill) is subtly flavored and tender-as-can-be, thanks in part to garlic and a doctoring with butter au jus. Aggressively dry-rubbed ribs tingle with pleasantly warm spicing. Pulled pork is a more-standard-but-still-admirable version, everything you'd want in a shredded pile. Low-key sides and desserts, like banana pudding and cheese-dusted elote, call to mind the backyard barbecue fiestas from which Eric's was born. New Normal: Open for dine-in or takeout, till 7 p.m. or when they sell out.
- Price: $$
- Hours: Tuesday-Sunday 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
- Outdoor seating: Open-air patio
- Alcohol: Beer/Wine
- Reservations: Not necessary
- Parking: Lot available