I find it incredibly ironic that we only went to two BBQ places during our time in Houston but as soon as we moved to Portland we crave some good old fashioned ribs. Oh well...
One of the first things we do when moving to a new city is get restaurant suggestions from locals, this is one such place. Now both my husband and I grew up in the South (as you know) so you could say we know our way around a hunk of meat, I was pretty much raised on Sonny's sweet tea, Texas toast, and bbq pork (can I get an Amen?!). There are a couple of things I expect from a BBQ place 1) You gotta have a solid sauce(s) smokey, sweet & tangy ideally 2) The meat of course has to have the flavor and fall-off-the-bone texture with that little layer of crispy perfection 3) Don't forget about the sides! I want sweet crunchy slaw, creamy mac, and smokey beans.
The atmosphere is exactly what I pictured for a Portland based BBQ joint, lots of natural distressed wood and the smooth sounds of a stand up bass coming from a local band in the corner. They were pretty busy so we had to wait for a table, but it was only maybe 10 minutes or so before we were seated.
The ribs were good, but not great. I wasn't a huge fan of the sauces, they provide you with four on the table; honey, mustard based, vinegar based, and one that claims it's bbq but I found it has too much tang not enough of the sweet + smokey. Probably the biggest disappointment for me were the sides, which might be just a personal preference since they weren't the traditional "southern style." The slaw was vinegar based and was lacking flavor for me, the beans were just...odd. I think they put a lot of unnecessary spice that didn't do it any favors. The collard greens were pretty on point.
I ordered the whole smoked ruby trout which might not have been the wisest of choices considering this is a house of meat, but I had to try it. It was good - moist, flaky, flavorful. They stuffed it with two slices of lemon and fresh herbs, I almost wish they had treated more like meat and maybe basted it in BBQ sauce so the skin would have gotten extra crispy and caramelized or at least a zesty dry rub would have been nice.
All in all it's a cool place to hang and grab some grub but I don't think their food was tasty enough to warrant a return visit.