My wife and I drove to the Gloucester seacoast on a Sunday that rained for most of the day as well as the previous day and a half. We tried to hit Smokin’ Jim’s BBQ, but they were closed due to the rain. So we headed closer to the center of town and visited Pilot House BBQ. On the outside, Pilot House looks pretty seedy, with not a lot of windows. A sign clearly announces it as a barbecue restaurant, but the inside (nautical theme) and menu (ribs and chicken are the only BBQ items) seem to indicate otherwise. There is a fish tank, plenty of ship steering wheels, and enough cheap wooden paneling to outfit several basements. A separate bar area, which you can enter from the restaurant or the outside, has plenty of stools, about 5 TVs, and a few booths.
My wife got the lobster roll from the mostly-seafood menu, and it was pretty good, served on a toasted roll. But for $16, it should have been bigger and better, making the $24 lobster roll at Boston’s B&G Oysters look like a bargain. I got the ribs, substituting onion rings for fries. The ribs were the grilled variety, with no smoke ring, lots of sauce and a burnt flavor. The only real surprise was that they weren’t tender at all (usually this kind of rib is too tender).
The onion rings were your standard frozen restaurant wholesaler issue, the kind they have at Burger King. The one bright spot of the meal was that the beer was served in an icy frosted mug.
The bottom line: Not only is this not real barbecue, it’s not really even a barbecue restaurant. The ribs aren’t good and for seafood, you can do better.