Archives - December 2008
Joints Directory Madness
Here's the latest batch of BBQ Joints directory activity, spanning four states. This time there are two new joints, two closings, one move and one change of ownership.
Big Lou Rib House (Revere MA) has sent the pink pig that once graced its roof to that big rib house in the sky, because they're now closed. Signage out front announces that it will re-open soon as the 338 Grille. Whether they'll be featuring barbecue, "barbecue" or neither remains to be seen.
United BBQ (Providence RI) is a new barbecue joint that offers the usual assortment of smokey staples along with some Mexican and a surprisingly strong roster of vegetarian items, including a vegetarian chili and a "seitan" (wheat gluten) sandwich. Featured recently in a Providence Journal article, United BBQ is a unique addition to the Providence BBQ scene. Thanks to both Robert and Sledneck for the lead. www.unitedbbq.com
Barnacle BBQ (Mamaroneck NY) is yet another addition to the already dense cluster of New York barbecue joints north of the city and east of the Hudson. As the name would imply, the menu features both barbecue and "fish shack specialties." The smoker is a Cookshack. Thanks to Sledneck for the lead. www.barnaclebbq.com
BT Lane's (Griswold CT or Jewett City CT) is indeed moving their operation, as reported here previously. They've updated their website to announce that the new location is just down the street, that they hope to re-open in March and that they're still available for catering. www.btlanesbbq.com
Outlaw BBQ (Foxborough MA), despite their location a stone's throw from Gillette Stadium, is now closed. Thanks to Mark for the info.
The Bayou Smokehouse (Westerly, RI) has only been in the directory a month, but a routine check revealed that their website was down and their phone—though working—ddidn't get answered during stated business hours. It turns out that the business was sold and temporarily closed. The Bayou re-opened under new ownership on Tuesday, with most of the menu inact. Thanks to Mike of the former ownership and to the random clerk who picked up the phone at neighboring Cumberland Farms for answering my questions. www.thebayousmokehouse.com
Old Lang's Sign
Actually, it's Adam Perry-Lang's sign, but hopefully you get the idea. Happy New Year!
Massachusetts BBQ: East Coast Grill's Chris Schlesinger to Appear at High Street Grill Grand Opening on January 2
Partner and consulting chef Chris Schlesinger will appear at the grand opening of High Street Grill (North Andover MA) starting at 4:30PM this Friday. The opening marks the release of a new menu that showcases what High Street is calling "some of the best comfort food dishes on the North Shore."
Schlesinger will be available to discuss menu items such as seared chile crusted black and blue tuna taco, New England style fish chowder, Buffalo fried gulf white shrimp, chipotle braised short ribs, High Street meatloaf and a braised lamb shank. High Street Grill will continue to serve its signature Real Deal BBQ platters featuring in-house wood-smoked meats such as the Kansas City style spareribs and Texas style beef brisket. Additionally, Schlesinger will be available to sign copies of his new book, Grill It and to talk with customers about grilling techniques.
more details from High Street Grill on the Grand Opening (Jan 2)
Chris Schlesinger book signing at High Street Grill (Jan 28)
New York BBQ: New Year's Eve at Hill Country, Southern Hospitality, HarborQ, Swingbelly's
If you haven't made New Year's Eve plans yet, here are a few ideas for New York BBQ fans. For Boston BBQ joint New Year's Eve events, scroll down to the 12/17 posting.
Hill Country (NYC) is featuring live music from Yarn starting at 10:00PM. New Year's Eve dinner specials include smoked chile-rubbed lamb chops, wild boar ribs and pit-smoked pork belly bites. A 3-hour open bar from 10:00PM to 1:00AM is available for $50 per person and Hill Country is providing one free bottle of beer for every pound of barbecue you buy. Deals on bottle service, specialty drinks and pitchers are too numerous too list but here is the complete rundown. www.hillcountryny.com
Southern Hospitality (NYC) has a logo that features the words "BBQ" and "Bar," and on New Year's Eve, the bar takes the forefront, with a three-tier event supplying three different options. General Admission ($80) includes a 5-hour top shelf open bar from 10:00PM to 3:00AM, with party favors, passed hors d'oeuvres and Champagne toast at midnight. The VIP Package ($120) includes a 6-hour top shelf open bar from 9:00PM to 3:00AM, with party favors, stationary hors d 'oeuvres, a Champagne toast at midnight, seating for groups of 4, 6 or 8, two bottles of Vodka, one bottle of Champagne and two buckets of beer. The Ultra VIP Package ($140) offers the same deal as the VIP Package, plus a family style three-course dinner. www.southernhospitalitybbq.com
Harbor Q (Port Washington NY) is featuring a New Year's Eve dinner buffet for $40.00 that includes ribs, brisket, pork, chicken, two kinds of wings, salad, dessert and a Buffalo Soldier appetizer for every couple. www.harborq.com
Swingbelly's (Long Beach NY) is featuring a 3-hour open bar from 10:00PM to 1:00AM for $50 per person. www.swingbellysbbq.com
Long Island BBQ: Newsday's Joan Reminick Also Digs Ruby's Famous
Despite the recent flurry of barbecue joint closings, things may be looking up for Long Island BBQ fans, as two favorable reviews have already been posted for the 12 day old Ruby's Famous BBQ Joint in East Meadow. First to weigh in was White Trash BBQ ("one of the best restaurant briskets I've ever tasted"). On Christmas Eve afternoon, Joan Reminick quietly posted some praise on Newsday's Feed Me blog, liking all of the meats but the pulled pork and noting that the deceptively dry appearing brisket "was actually bursting with smoky juices."
read White Trash BBQ's review of Ruby's Famous
read Joan Reminick's review of Ruby's Famous
Massachusetts BBQ: A Second Visit to High Street Grill in North Andover
Last night my wife and I stopped into High Street Grill (North Andover MA) for our second visit. This isn't a formal review, just some notes from the visit. Now in its third month of operation, the restaurant seemed to be running fairly smoothly on a Saturday night. Although High Street Grill is hardly a barbecue joint, barbecue does constitute a section of the menu, with ribs, pulled pork, brisket and burnt ends available in various permutations (chicken is spit roasted).
We started with Buffalo shrimp and an arugula salad for appetizers. The shrimp were cooked to the perfect doneness and bathed in a bowl of piquant sauce that was a little thinner and a little more complex than traditional Buffalo. I also added a single "Xiao Jianming wet bone" with chile-ginger sauce and wound up with the last rib on the slab, a nice bonus because of the extra bark. The Asian flavors and subtle heat worked well with the smokiness of the rib, whose natural meat flavor still stood out.
Since I wanted to get a good survey of the barbecue, my obvious entree choice was again the BBQ trio of ribs, brisket and pulled pork. The St Louis ribs were short but thick, with a nice smoke ring and tenderness that allowed a clean bite. The sauce was a kicked up Kansas City style variety that had the perfect blend of sweet, heat and tart, in that order. I'm glad it was untinkered with since our last visit, because it was one of the best sauces I ever tasted. It's the perfect complement to the ribs, though its intense sweetness is a bit much for the pork and brisket.
The pork, though heavily sauced, had a nice consistency with a variety of textures, an instantly noticeable smoky flavor and a generous amount of bark. The equally smoky brisket was tender enough and juicy enough to not even need the sauce; its thin slicing was more of a stylistic choice than a necessity. I liked that the edges were crisp and that there was just enough fat to provide flavor but not so much that it needed to be trimmed away.
My wife's roasted chicken was perfectly moist inside but its outer skin was pale and rubbery.
Sides of onion strings and seared greens were outstanding. Cornbread has been changed from a molasses-infused variety to a more traditional version with hints of vanilla.
Overall, a good visit, with all of the barbecue items at least solid. I'm looking forward to trying some of the sandwiches and the pork and brisket unsauced.
Boston BBQ: All You Can Eat Wings at SoulFire in Allston
If you're shopping for bargains this holiday season, SoulFire (Allston MA) is offering a steal every Monday night from 5:00PM to 10:00PM. SoulFire's new all-you-can-eat extravaganza features three different varieties of smoked wings for just $6.99.
My wife and I were there last night, and it was great seeing a nearly packed house on the Monday before Christmas. The starter plate, shown above, supplies the three wing types: spicy honey (SoulFire's original flavor and my personal favorite), "pit boss" (made with their newest sauce that combines heat and sweet) and Buffalo. After that, the wing refills are offered cocktail party style, with piping hot new batches brought around to those who are participating. You can keep sampling all three or just stick to your favorite.
All you can eat is nice, but it's nicer when the wings are good, and SoulFire's wings are very good. The smoke is subtle, the skin is just crisp enough to ensure a perfectly moist interior and the flavor is on target. If I were to nitpick, I'd probably want to see one of the offerings be a little more different from the other two, with perhaps an all-savory approach, but that's just nitpicking. These wings are the real deal.
See you next Monday night!
Long Island BBQ: White Trash BBQ Hits Ruby's Famous On Opening Night
It's only four days old, but Ruby's Famous BBQ Joint in East Meadow NY already has a review from barbecue blogger Robert Fernandez, who visited on day 1. There were some hits and some misses, but overall the review was fairly positive, with much more detail on the food than usual.
read the review of Ruby's Famous on White Trash BBQ
Boston BBQ: Rallying Against Recession at Uncle Pete's in Revere
Uncle Pete's Hickory Ribs (Revere MA) is doing its part to eliminate recession, depression or whatever you want to call these tough economic times. They're currently offering $1 hot dogs during the weekday lunch shift.
I can see some of the locals stopping in at lunch and buying two or three dogs for a quick, satisfying meal, but Uncle Pete's barbecue lunch specials—offered seven days a week—have already been providing excellent value since long before the hard times hit. Three beef or pork ribs and two generous sides for $7 constitutes a steal, and that's what my table started out with on Saturday's lunch.
Less of a deal but still satisfying was the burnt ends platter ($17), which also comes with two sides. This is a different plating (alas, no crispy taco bowl) and a different meat preparation (fewer but larger slices of beef to preserve the moistness) from what I've had on previous visits. Fried pickle spears rounded out the plate nicely; tomato and jalapeno slices seemed a bit out of place without the taco. I prefer the earlier incarnation, which yielded crispier bark—for me that's the whole point of burnt ends—but this was still a nice platter of beef, with tender, flavorful meat.
We also sampled pork ribs and split pulled pork and brisket sandwiches. The brisket sandwich is the current Recent Eats photo. The other photos will be included in my upcoming review update in early 2009.
Uncle Pete's specials menu currently features smoked prime rib on weekends.
When Worlds Collide
I've twice posted my rankings of the "BBQ Amigos," listing the number of barbecue restaurant visits at which various friends have accompanied me. After the last rankings, #1 ranked Steve demanded to meet #2 ranked Ling. Long story short, the three of us tackled an assortment of sandwiches and bones today at Uncle Pete's Hickory Ribs in Revere MA. The good news for Ling was that he incremented his total by one. The good news for Steve was that he got to go to his favorite barbecue joint and managed to talk (read: nag) us into ordering the wings even though we were there for ribs, brisket and pulled pork. The good news for me was a relaxed lunch with minimal bickering and many laughs.
More on Uncle Pete's and the Revere barbecue scene early next week.
Walking, Watching, Wondering
This morning I walked the dogs a little earlier than usual, so while I was letting them do what they do I heard the rare sound of a car rumbling down my ordinarily silent street. The cadence of the engine, with its intermittent stops and starts, meant it could only be one thing: a newspaper deliverer. I'm fairly certain it wasn't the Globe, because they don't deliver that early, at least in my neighborhood.
I studied the car as it made its rounds to a few of my neighbors. One paper was hurled out of the car as it barely even slowed down. Another paper was gently dropped from the car after it pulled slowly into a driveway. Another paper was carefully placed on the front steps after the driver speeded from the still-running car all the way up the walk. Same paper, same deliverer, three papers, three very different deliveries. I couldn't help thinking that it was a lot like a restaurant, where different customers receive very different service experiences, often from the same server. I wondered whether the distinctions were a result of negotiations, complaints or tipping. I wondered if I should get in on this. No matter where the paper drops, I'd love to be able to read it this early.
New York BBQ: Joints Directory Madness
Here's the latest batch of BBQ Joints directory activity, spanning just one state: New York. This time there's three new barbecue joints and one expansion.
Ruby's Famous BBQ Joint (East Meadow NY) opens for business today. www.rubysfamousbbqjoint.com
Green Apple BBQ (New York NY) is an uptown joint that's been open for three months.
Adam's Rib (West Babylon NY) is a Long Island mini-chain that also has branches in Massapequa Park and Rockville Centre. Thanks to Robert for the lead. www.adams-rib.biz
Mo Gridder BBQ (Bronx NY) within the last month opened a second location that's more of a restaurant setting. Unlike at the original, you can't get an oil change while you eat, but you can get burgers, BLTs, salads and wraps. Thanks again to Robert for the lead. www.mogridder.com
Massachusetts BBQ: New Year's Eve at East Coast Grill, Route 7 Grill and Tremont 647
Maybe it's just too early in the game to list all of the options for your New Year's Eve enjoyment, but here's a start:
East Coast Grill (Cambridge MA) is featuring a four-couse prix fixe menu for $59.50 that starts with ECG antipasti, with subsequent courses offering a choice of three to five different options. As you'd expect, there's plenty of meat, plenty of seafood, some Latin and some Asian. Entrees include pecan crusted black grouper, cumin seared red snapper, wood grilled bone-in sirloin and grilled giant pork chop with chunk lobster butter. Champagnes are offered separately by the glass. www.eastcoastgrill.net/menus/newyearseve.htm
Route 7 Grill (Great Barrington MA) is presenting a three-couse "Surf and Turf" event for $40.00 that includes a champagne toast. Seafood chowder or mesclun green salad starts things off; the main course is local Angus beef filet mignon and stuffed Gulf shrimp with Maine crabmeat; a trio of homemade desserts caps the meal. The regular menu will also be available. www.route7grill.com
Tremont 647 (Boston MA) has a five-course prix fixe menu for $59.00 that starts with the legendary Tibetan momo as the amuse, followed by a choice of four appetizers, followed by lobster chowder of arugula salad. The entree is a choice of vegetable Napoleon, grilled swordfish, Bourbon braised short ribs or scallop and soy braised pork belly. Two desserts are offered. www.tremont647.com
Hudson Valley BBQ: Sloppy Rib on a Bun and Smokey Pot Pie at Big W's in Wingdale
My wife and I took "a little drive" on Sunday and we wound up at Big W's Bar-B-Q (Wingdale NY). It was my third visit, her first. I had this joint on my mind for a while now, and this visit was a good chance to celebrate Big W's two years at their indoor location (previously it was a roadside operation a few miles down the road in Pawling) and also get another take on their chili before I announce my updated Winter 2009 Chili Rankings.
First, the disappointment: the excellent chicken chili is no longer on the menu. Fortunately, there are a few silver linings: the chicken previously used in the chili now makes its way into a new "Smokey Pot Pie" and the brisket-heavy smoked trimmings chili is as good as ever.
The smoked trimmings chili is not only loaded with meat and just the right amount of broth and peppery heat, but it's also one of the great bargains in barbecue ($3 small, $5.75 large), especially in New York.
The smokey pot pie is your standard variety chicken pot pie, only fresher (everything's made in house, from the chicken to the pie crust), smokier and a little spicier. It's the perfect dish for a wintery day, though its 9" diameter, high meat density and $13 price tag (still a bargain) make it best when you have a group to feed. It goes a long way. Owner/pitmaster Warren Norstein said he's getting a sense of the demand and will eventually also offer the pies in a smaller format, as is now done with Big W's shepherd's pies made from brisket trimmings.
The other new menu item at Big W's is the "Sloppy Rib On A Bun" sandwich ($7), made with rib scraps. It features an assortment of different sized pieces, some tender, some crispy, all lightly coated in an intensely flavored sauce that supplies a jolt of vinegar tang balanced by sweetness and just a touch of heat. Norstein said that some of his customers hated it, some loved it, but it always gets a strong reaction. Count me in the latter group, because I can't wait to try another one.
I'm always pleased when barbecue chefs find new ways of repurposing the meats that are leftover when the day is done. If it means more pork in the baked beans, that means better beans. It also means more beans, which means more beans counted by the bean counters at the end of the day, which is fine by me. I love the creativity and deliciousness of these dishes, but most importantly, I love that it ensures a fresher version of the meats that supplied them in the first place. If you have time for "a little drive" someday soon, Big W's is worth the trip.
Boston BBQ: Geoff Janowksi of Blue Ribbon is Hatfield's Chef of the Month
Hatfield Quality Meats has named Blue Ribbon pitmaster Geoff Janowski its chef of the month. Blue Ribbon smokes 5.000 pounds of meat per day, including fresh Hatfield products. The food service website has some interesting biographical information as well as this tidbit about Blue Ribbon: "the company has planned expansion into corporate catering and more locations throughout greater Boston."
Sometimes That's The Way It Breaks
The posts have been a bit sparser than usual the past couple of weeks, but that happens sometimes. There's still plenty to say, but sometimes I'm not happy with the way a post looks before I head out the door to work on a weekday morning. So I hold it back and tweak it when I get home, and then think about it again. And I decide the next morning that not only does what I wrote not describe what I was thinking, but I no longer think what I was trying to describe in the first place. So I hold it back again.
And then there's the cooking. I was working on a baking project on Thursday night that I was hoping to unveil on Monday, but it didn't turn out how I planned. This was a repeat of an item I hit out of the park three years ago, but I barely made contact Thursday night. So just like sluggers, barbecue competitions teams and restaurants, I'm in a slump right now.
Joints Directory Madness
Here's the latest batch of BBQ Joints directory activity, spanning five states. This time there's two new barbecue joints, two closings, two seasonal closings, one expansion and one sister restaurant that I overlooked.
Island Smokehouse (Island Park NY) is now closed, according to a post today by Joan Reminick in Newsday's Feed Me blog. The joint that replaced the former Freedom BBQ lasted a mere six months. Thanks to Eric for the tip.
Tennessee Jack's (East Islip NY) is yet another casualty of the Long Island BBQ scene. Thanks to Will for the info.
Rib City Ale House (Port Jefferson NY), a new joint that opened last Friday, owns the Southern Pride smoker that once graced the kitchen of the now departed Willie B's in Bay Shore. Rib City Ale House is so confident of national dominance that thy created a YouTube video that implies that they'll be in your city, no matter where that happens to be. Their website is temporarily restricted, but I'll post some menus in the BBQ Joints directory, thanks to Steve. www.ribcityalehouse.com
Char No. 4 (Brooklyn NY) is open and has been in the BBQ Joints directory for a week.
American Barbecue (Rowley MA) opened their second location in Beverly MA last Monday as planned. www.theamericanbarbecue.com
Top of the Hill Grill (Brattleboro VT) is closed for the season. Thanks to Larry for letting me know this is a seasonal joint. www.topofthehillgrill.com
Porky and Petunia's (Derry NH) is another seasonal joint (actually an ice cream shack with barbecue) that's closed until next year. Thanks again to Larry.
Muddy River Marketplace (Eliot ME) is an offshoot that supposedly was once affiliated with Muddy River Smokehouse in Portsmouth NH but is now independently operated, though they share the same website. www.muddyriver.com
New York BBQ: Bacon Cookies at RUB
The final stop on Sunday's NYC crawl was RUB. I had already visited RUB twice in the previous month, so the objective here wasn't barbecue but rather their special bacon chocolate cookie that caught my attention on the chalkboard a few weeks earlier.
These are your basic Toll House cookie, without the salt and without the walnuts. The bacon—the same cut as RUB's smoked bacon appetizer, cut into tinier cubes and crisped in the oven to render out the fat—replaces both the salt and the crunch of the omitted ingredients and adds a subtle flavor that elevates the cookie without overpowering it.
When I looked at the batter (see photo above), I thought there was as much bacon as chocolate, so I was expecting the bacony flavor to be more prominent. The chocolate is definitely singing lead here, but it's the bacon harmony making the whole thing work. Kind of like Art Garfunkel, cut into 1/8" cubes.
I liked these cookies a lot, but I think I would have liked them more if I hadn't known ahead of time that there was bacon in them. That way there'd be that mysterious something flavoring the cookie, and it would have to be solved as I dug into a half dozen.
These cookies are an on-again, off-again treat, so be prepared for them not being available at all times. If you're jonesing for something sweet that's different and these cookies are sold out, try RUB's deep fried OREO cookies.
New York BBQ: Burgers and Ribs at Blue Smoke, Chili and Ribs at Daisy May's
On Sunday I took a trip with a friend to the city, where the agenda included barbecue and burgers. The original plan was to hit Shake Shack, which he loved the one time he visited, and then contrast that to the new City Burger, which uses the LaFrieda Black Label premium blend that's been making itself known on some of the prominent New York City food blogs. City Burger was closed, so we followed Shake Shack with a stop at Blue Smoke. It was a good chance for him to try the Blue Smoke burger, which is also a cousin of the Shack burger (same ownership, same meat purveyor). It was also a good chance to get another take on some ribs, which need to be shared.
The burger at Shake Shack was fantastic as usual. What really impresses me about this burger is the fact that it's cooked to a full medium and it still gushes juices. The burger at Blue Smoke was pretty good, just not as good as I remembered. The thing that I loved about my previous burger there was the complete spectrum of doneness, from the crusty outer surface to the moist, pink meat within. This one didn't duplicate that, and the bacon was also a little less crisp. The pork spare ribs, on the other hand, were better than I remembered. These were meaty, juicy and had the perfect doneness, allowing a clean bite without causing all of the meat to fall off the bone. I'd like a little more bark, but these were good, with a subtle porkiness in the meat. The salt and pepper beef ribs were also good, with more meat on them and a more peppery rub than I recalled from my first visit. The mustard sauce here is a nice change of pace from the more common Kansas City style sauces. Overall it was a good visit, especially for a Sunday lunch visit.
The third stop of the day was Daisy May's, where I hooked my friend up with what he says is the best chili he's ever had. It has the perfect blend of chunky meat and just enough thick broth to liberally coat it, along with a nice balance between subtle heat and faint sweet. I've actually been thinking about the Daisy May's chili a lot lately. I've had it a few more times now since I posted my chili rankings last year, and I'll be moving it up a few notches in my revised winter 2009 chili rankings. The ribs—both the Memphis dry rubbed and the Kansas City sweet and sticky varieties—were also up to par.
Sunday's visit was the busiest I've ever seen Daisy May's, with the dining area nearly full and the room abuzz with chatter, much of it about the food. One thing about Daisy May's that rarely gets mentioned is the seating. The long communal tables are a throwback to how it's done in the South, where complete strangers have no trouble striking up a conversation between bites of good barbecue. On a cold December day in New York City, the camaraderie was a nice thing to see.
Do You Recognize This Girl?
She probably looks familiar, and if you see her when clicking on any of the links on this site, please let me know. I call her "Dead Link Babe," because she's the face of many dead, unpaid or expired websites. A little context may refresh your memory:
I try to keep up to date with the BBQ joints that open and close throughout the Northeast, but one way you can help me stay up to date is to let me know if you see this girl when clicking to the website of a BBQ restaurant in the BBQ Joints directory. Most likely (but not always), that BBQ restaurant has closed. Just drop me an email at GARYatPIGTRIPdotNET. Thanks!
New York BBQ: Some Comings and Goings
Over the last couple of days, the "big three" of New York restaurant news and gossip had some interesting barbecue news. Some of the items had more questions than answers, but these are certainly stories to watch. Thanks to Robbie and Nick for alerting me.
Boston BBQ: Roadhouse Brookline Review
The site's 151st review is now available for Roadhouse Craft Beer and Barbeque in Brookline MA. Check it out via the Reviews page or link to reviews using the red icons in the Joints directory.
I specifically took my time on this one, test driving the 'cue with my wife and an assortment of friends over a two month period. As I suggested early on, it's nowhere near as good as some of its biggest fans would have you believe, nor is it as horrific as its biggest detractors would have you believe. Although I wouldn't put Roadhouse in my regular rotation, the superb beer element does make it a worthwhile visit—but only as long as you're prepared for the beer being the focus and the barbecue merely the sideline. That's probably putting it kindly. The official name of the joint is Roadhouse Craft Beer and Barbecue, but I'm tempted to call it Roadhouse Beer and Kraft BBQ.
It's a complete coincidence that I have my review going up the same day as the Boston Globe's review. I had this planned a while ago, but had to run off to work before I was satisfied with the final version. I completely agree with the Globe review, although reviewer Devra First liked the chili a lot more than I did, and I found fault with the cue's lack of flavor as much as I did its faulty texture.
That said, some perspective is in order. I stand by my earlier comment that after SoulFire, Roadhouse offers the second best 'cue (albeit a very, very distant second best to SoulFire) in the Brookline-Allston-Brighton area: I prefer it to Village Smokehouse, Smoken Joe's, Sports Depot and Redneck's.
But even #2 in a densely populated area may not cut it. I had relatively high hopes for this place, but the 'cue just isn't dependable. Where other joints have their styles and you may or may not like that style, Roadhouse is simply erratic and that ultimately may be their undoing.
The beer, on the other hand, is excellent.
Joints Directory Madness
Here's the latest batch of BBQ Joints directory activity, spanning five states. This time there's two new barbecue joints, one closing, one expansion, one contraction, one change of ownership, two moves and one future expansion schedued to open next Monday.
Mama Mary's Soul Food (New Haven CT) is a new entry and it also recently moved from Congress Avenue to Whalley Avenue. Thanks to Robert for catching a review and passing the info along. www.mamassoulfood.com
The Bayou Smokehouse (Westerly RI) is a new addition to the least-modified state in the directory. This is a take-out joint with a Louisiana-influenced menu, some Caribbean items and a sister location called the The Bayou at the Beach that's open from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Thanks to Tom for the find. www.thebayousmokehouse.com
Big Bully's BBQ Burgers (Attleboro MA), relocated from Beverly a year ago, placed more emphasis on the burgers than the barbecue. Their Attleboro location has now been closed for a little over a month. Thanks to the patient clerk at the dry cleaner next door for the info.
Cowboy Jim's (Ayer MA), a seasonal roadside operation at the Gervais Ford accessory lot, is taking the winter off and plans to return in April 2009. www.cowboyjimsbbq.net
Smokin' Al's (Massapequa Park NY) opened the day after Thanksgiving as planned. www.smokinals.com
Beale Street Barbeque (South Portland ME) moved in January from its previous location on Waterman Drive to larger digs a half mile around the corner at 725 Broadway. Their former Augusta outpost had been sold a while ago and is now Riverfront Barbeque and Grille. www.mainebbq.com
American Barbecue (Rowley MA) plans to open a second location in Beverly MA next Monday. www.theamericanbarbecue.com
Smoked Beef Tongue at Toro
On Saturday night my wife and I visited Toro, the Spanish tapas restaurant in Ken Oringer's growing empire in Boston. I know it's hard for people to believe that I verge beyond the barbecue realm, but I do and I usually enjoy it more. Nevertheless, if there's an item on the menu that appeals to my barbecue sensibilities, I'm all over it. So among the nine small plates we ordered was the smoked beef tongue. Was it good? Absolutely. Ditto the kobe beef sliders, though dwarfed by the rolls. But the highlights of the night for me were the salt cod fritters and the tuna belly.
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