I went the first two nights. It's a pretty good looking place with nice dark wood tables and chairs. It's counter service only, with self serve cutlery and sauces, similar to Blue Ribbon.
The first night I got a spare ribs and pulled pork combo, with cole slaw and collard greens. I also sprung for an extra side of baked beans. The ribs were very meaty and loaded with a rub that was strong on flavor without being too spicy. The ribs were good: very tender, with a pink smoke ring and a pleasing cloves taste. They were a little on the fatty side and not as warm as they could be, but I was impressed. The pulled pork, served on a slice of white bread, had an assortment of pulled strips from different parts of the shoulder, with a little bark. Some of the pieces were a little dry, some were juicy, but all had good flavor. The second night I had the babybacks. Not as meaty, flavorful or fatty as the spares, but good. Same thick rub.
Meats get served without sauce; there are 5 very good sauces to choose from (hot, sweet, tangy, vinegar, mustard), three of them warm.
The pickles were great! They give you a lot and they have a lot of spice (these weren't available Tuesday night). Cole slaw was crisp, with little to no dressing. The baked beans were a little dry. The collard greens were excellent, with big leaves, lots of bacon and a great (sweet/vinegar) flavor. Corn bread good.
This is a nice addition to the area. It's on Harvard Ave a few doors north of Commonwealth Ave.
Thanks for being the first to report on this place. I was thinking of trying it this weekend. How are the prices and was it very busy?
I checked out SoulFire (yes, one word) yesterday as well, and was less impressed.
Of course, I'm not going to rush to judgement so early, but...
Spare ribs had a thick layer of rub that was nicely flavored but oddly textured -- a little dry and like compacted powder. Ribs definitely tasted of smoke, but the meat was tough. And I had to--GASP!--use a knife to cut through a few strands of pulled pork. Coleslaw was inedible (and I like cheap, sweet, 'cue-joint slaw). Corn bread tasted of Jiffy mix, but the corn kernels (frozen) were a nice addition. Potato salad was very tasty, as were all of the homemade sauces. Fried mac-n-cheese balls (what'd you call me...?) were deliciously slutty drunk food...too bad SoulFire doesn't serve alcohol.
As I said, I'll be back in a few weeks to see if they've ironed out the kinks.
I walked by here the other night (live sort of near by) and am a BBQ fiend. One pet peeve I have (and blue ribbon does this too) is leave the membrane on the bottom of the ribs. Do you remember if SoulFire removes it?
Thanks for the heads up and as the reports trickle in I may be forced to try it as well as continuing my drives to Blue Ribbon.
Most places that have a high volume seem to leave the membrane on. I've pulled enough off before smoking to realize what a pain in the butt it is so I can understand I guess. I do, however, agree that it's somewhat annoying.