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SoulFire Report

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GaryLovesFood Jun 28, 2006 05:01 PM

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.

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    gourmaniac RE: GaryLovesFood Jun 28, 2006 06:03 PM

    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?

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      garlic breath RE: GaryLovesFood Jun 28, 2006 06:18 PM

      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.

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        GaryLovesFood RE: GaryLovesFood Jun 28, 2006 06:18 PM

        Prices were pretty typical and reasonable. I thought the portions of sides were very generous. There was some traffic, but it wasn't too busy.

        For full menu and prices, see: www.soulfirebbq.com.

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          DaveB RE: GaryLovesFood Jun 28, 2006 06:50 PM

          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.

          1. Dax RE: GaryLovesFood Jun 28, 2006 07:21 PM

            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.

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              DaveB RE: GaryLovesFood Jun 28, 2006 08:17 PM

              I know its a pain in the butt and don't look forward to doing it this weekend (though I will as its my preferance). Most high volume/high price rib places leave it on which is what bothers me a little bit. The "Lone Bone" at Blue Ribbon is over $2 and at two bucks a rib its something that should be removed in my opinion.

              This doesn't stop me from frequenting blue ribbon as its the best bbq around but its something that nags me as laziness and complacency as the best bbq joint around. I once asked why they don't remove it and they guy had no idea what a membrane on the rib was. Its a shame because I know for a fact the guy has been working there for over 3 years easily.

              Having eaten BBQ in memphis for a 4 day "tour de BBQ" every place I remember (now its a year or so later thus I could be wrong) had the membrane removed and better BBQ than Blue ribbon.

              Just my two cents on the matter.

              DaveB

              2 Replies
              1. re: DaveB
                Dax RE: DaveB Jun 28, 2006 08:26 PM

                And it seems most teams remove the membrane for competitions.

                1. re: DaveB
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                  secretlyironic RE: DaveB Sep 10, 2006 07:08 PM

                  I actually *like* the membrane-- it absorbs a lot of flavor and it's all chewy and .... mmmmm.

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                  JamesHH RE: GaryLovesFood Jun 29, 2006 03:23 AM

                  I just got back from my first tasting of SoulFire. I had a Pulled Pork Sandwich with a side of mac n/ cheese and some collard greens. I really enjoyed my pulled pork, it was nice and moist and not tough as others hinted at.

                  The mac n' cheese was good, but not the best I have ever had. They crumbled something like potato chips on top, it didn't hurt or help the taste. But I've come to love the baked mac n' cheese that is just sitting in greese and is almost a solid block of heart attack.

                  The collard greens were some of the best I have had. full of flavor and nice chuncks of bacon. I really enjoy my collard greens with hot sauce, but the closest they came to that was fire bbq sauce, and that just didn't cut it. I talked with the owner and they said they are in the process of making their own hot sauce, I am looking forward to this.

                  The owner (whyatt wyatt, why-at I don't know how he spells it) was super nice and came up and asked us if we had any suggestions about the food. He then gave us a short tour of the kitchen, mainly looking at their smoker. It made my day.

                  All in all I'm excited for this place, a good six dollar pulled pork sammy between me and the Harvard T stop...I don't think life gets much better than that.

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                    psora RE: GaryLovesFood Jun 29, 2006 03:40 AM

                    Man, must have been SoulFire Day. Sounds like we had a Chowhounds gathering without realizing it. I tried it too and came in somewhere in between. Wanted to try the burnt ends but they didn't have any despite being on the menu. Got the pulled pork sandwich with side of potato salad and pickles. Pulled pork not at all tough, with a nice mixture of crusty outside and inside meat with a noticeable but not overwhelming smoke flavor. My one criticism is that it wasn't at all warm, just room temp. Would have been better with just a bit of warmth. I had the NC sauce, a nice, thin vinegar sauce with a mild kick and not a lot of sweetness (most common BBQ sauce fault IMO). Potato salad on the side was very good - pleasingly chunky with the potatoes just cooked, not turned into mush as they are many places (after reading the above, definitely going for the collards next time) and not drowning in mayo. Staff very nice and eager to be helpful. Defintely a nice change of pace to have in the neighborhood.

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                      gourmaniac RE: GaryLovesFood Jul 3, 2006 01:15 PM

                      Thanks to Garylovesfood for the first report. I tried SoulFire yesterday and was very pleased. The ribs were meaty with a smokiness that was present but not overpowering. There wasn't the nice lingering of smoke on your fingers that one gets down south or in the midwest but still not bad. The meat had good texture (i.e. not parboiled falling off the bone tender). The rub and sauce were complex in a good way. The collards as someone indicated asre excellent. The mac and cheese was so so. i saw them saucing the macaroni with milk and a overly thick cheese sauce right on the steam table. Definite no no. Cornbread was very good. For a half rack with generous sides, it was $12.00, good value compared with the 1/4 rack for $11.00. I think it's comparable to Blue Ribbon (duck before the tirade begins) though not up to Holy Smokes in Western Mass. I'm glad it's in the neighborhood and will be back often.

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