The original Phatt Boys (the other is in Harvard Square) in Stoughton consists of a bar in the back, a dining room to the left, and a room to the right with mostly high-tops and stools that looks like a cross between the two. There were several small TVs in the bar and one large screen TV in the hybrid room. Phatt Boys serves all kinds of pub food and a nice array of salads and seafood, but ribs are a favorite here: the roadside sign announced that they're the area's best ribs.
They offer three kinds of ribs: dry rubbed St Louis ribs with a chunky chipotle sauce on the side, "Sweet Rack" babyback ribs with sweet tomato-based sauce and the "Asian Rack" coated with teriyaki glaze and mustard on the side. In the summer of 2005 at Harvard Square outlet, I tried their Rib Sampler that supplies a half rack of all three and was very impressed.
For a lunch visit in Stoughton I shared the St Louis ribs and the Sweet Rack with a friend. The St Louis ribs were loaded with rub and seemed to have some sauce basted in, which gave them a great flavor in addition to the noticeable smoke. Though they didn't need sauce as a crutch, they weren't as juicy and tender as the ones I had previously. Still pretty good though. The babybacks, with the longest U-shaped bones I've ever seen on this cut, were also noticeably smoky but with a sweeter flavor from the generous sauce. The shape of this rack distributed the meat along its length rather than from any thickness, so these wound up just a little drier than optimum.
The cole slaw was very good; I didn't try any of their starches today.
The place is very comfortable and fun, the menu is versatile. Our server was very helpful at first but was nowhere to be found for a good 15 minutes when we wanted the check.
The bottom line: this was an above average experience, but it fell short of my high expectations from the previous summer. The ribs were decent, showing some glimpses of my superb Harvard Square visit, but my guess is that these were yesterday's ribs reheated.
Phatt Boys closed within weeks of my writing this review for email distribution to my BBQ contacts on the day of my visit. It's too bad, because while they weren't the very best in barbecue, Phatt Boys offered a nice mix of sports bar, pub food and barbecue, with enough competence across the board (at least in Cambridge) to appeal to a wide variety of tastes. It must have been location, rent and competition that did them in.