Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Citygirl Bites! Smoking Joe's BBQ

My lovelies, it's time for another installment of Citygirl Bites! On December 3 HUBS and I finally went to Smoking Joe's BBQ, a joint downtown that we'd been meaning to go to for a few weeks.

Despite the cold and the late hour that we finally got our asses out of the house, I was excited. I luuuuuuuuuuvre BBQ! If would be fair to say it's one of the few foods I really crave on occasion. Unfortunately, after our jaunt to this place, my craving is still intact.

My first objection with the place is that it's freakin' hard to spot on a dark night when you haven't been there before. SJ BBQ! Invest in a large sign, please!

There is a nice atmosphere inside, though. The place is moodily lit for romance, dressed up for Christmas and they even have live music and a bar area. It's more of a BBQ nightclub than a straight-up stuff-your-face joint. They've kicked your standard BBQ place up a notch.

That would be excellent if I didn't think they did it to divert attention away from the food. It's not horrible, but it's not good enough to deal with driving all the way downtown, either.

The meal started off pretty good. We ordered BBQ chicken nachos for an appetizer and they were large and good (though it did take a while for them to get to us). SJ BBQ has three different sauces: sweet, mild and hot, and all were tasty.

I ordered the ribs with beans and cole slaw. Let me start by saying that the sides were excellent. The main course, on the other hand, arrived almost cold. If you don't already know, cold ribs aren't much fun. That wasn't the worst part, though.

My ribs were also incredibly fatty. So much so that I couldn't take a bite without getting gobs of fat. I had to cut around the ribs and remove the fatty bits before eating. Also? Not much fun and kinda irritating. I kept the leftovers but ended up giving them to the stray cats because I knew I wouldn't feel like doing all the work involved to eat around the fat. I'm glad someone was able to enjoy them.

HUBS wanted their small combo platter, but he wanted to sub its chicken and ribs for pork and turkey. They wouldn't let him. Usually BBQ places have a general combo platter where you can get set portions of any of their meats, but not here. And there was nothing on the menu that said No Substitutions, either. That's another strike for them, as far as we're concerned.

After that disappointment, HUBS settled on their pulled pork platter with potato salad and green beans. This time, at least, the main dish was as good as the sides. The pork was tender and flavorful and those green beans were a definite stand-out.

All in all the main attraction for this place is the price. Most of their menu items cost $8.99 or less. Be aware of the live music times, too. It got really loud in there once the band started and having to shout across the table at each other was a bit maddening. (I know, we sound like old fogies. Oh, wait, we kinda are!) If you're already in the area, I'd give them a shot. But stay away from the ribs.

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