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Jul 13, 2006 02:55 PM

Soul Fire BBQ-yum

2 of us went to soul fire last night.
We both thought it was great!

They were very nice and made sauce suggestions based on our orders, then the owner who was nice as could be came by to ask us how everything was. I thought this was a very nice touch considering they were closing at 11 and it was after 10:30.

I thought the mac and cheese was perfect.
Nice and creamy with lots of flavor.
The wing and rib combo was good too.
I like how you are able to pick your own warm sauces to go with them.

The pickle sides were yummy and the potato salad was excellent too!

I will definitley go back!

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  1. I went in with a friend on Saturday and had the mac n cheese balls, coleslaw and the rib/wing app. The mac n cheese balls are evil; Evil in the way that I could have devoured the app myself and considered finding room for more. I wasn't sure they could live up to the hype but they were creamy and slightly salty. They were lightly fried, not too much crunch on the outside. Melt in your mouth delicious!

    The ribs and wings were fine, not spectacular or terrible, just kind of average. I had just had the wings at the Plough the day before, which were very good, so I may not have had the most open mind.

    The coleslaw was super fresh and cruncy but not super tasty. I would have enjoyed it more if it were dressed a bit more. My pal who doesn't like creamy style cole slaw that it was terrific.

    I'll go back for sure. The mac n cheese balls are my new guilty pleasure. ;)

    1. I love this place! I have already been several times (live in the neighborhood)The collard greens are the best I've ever had-lots of bacon in them and I am a fan of the baked beans as well. I do like that you can add your own sauce but I wish there were descriptions of what the sauces were made of instead of just names like "soulfire". Also wish the corbread was served a little warmer and that there was a really kick ass spicy sauce and that burnt ends were an option instead of only bulk. I read somewhere on here they were waiting for a liquor license? Are they planning on having a bar atmosphere? It seems really big for what they currently do-lots of take out and quick eating folks. anyway-love love love it there! Excellent addition to Harvard ave-hope the street keeps getting better.

      1. Hmm. Maybe I hit it on an off night, but I had a decidedly more mixed experience. The collard greens were great, but I found the baby back ribs a bit dry and chewy, and the mac 'n cheese, though creamy enough, was too bland for my taste.

        I agree that they could use a better hot sauce, I asked for the hottest they had and it was far more sweet than hot (maybe they mixed up my order?). But that was easily corrected by my trusty bottle of Melinda's XXX.

        5 Replies
        1. re: BobB

          Never, ever, ever, EVER get babybacks at a barbecue place. Babybacks lack the necessary fat and connective tissue to really benefit from a low and slow smoke. Always go for spareribs or beef ribs.

          1. re: Dax

            Not the way I do them. Dry rub, 4 - 5 hours smoking at about 250° indirect heat, baste a couple of times in the last half hour. They always come out reliably tender and juicy. I live near Soul Fire and was hoping I could get my rib fix without the hassle, but no such luck.

            1. re: BobB

              I never pay attention to Dax on BBQ, he's a real amateur... ;-).

              But seriously, for the best ribs, they've got to be full on pork ribs, not baby backs.

              1. re: BobB

                FWIW, I have found most of the 'cue places in the Northeast, depending on turnover, are inferior to ribs smoked at home. You will rarely, if ever, get something straight off the smoker. Spareribs can last a while before drying out, babybacks less so.

                I always smoke spareribs on the offset for about 6-7 hours and they're twice the size of babybacks even after I trim.

                I have yet to try this place but want to give it a shot soon.

                1. re: Dax

                  I like it and like even better the fact that it's practically next door, but I like it with reservations. The major one is that the meats I had were tender and not dried out, but I prefer a stronger smoked taste. Part of why I'm really disappointed that they won't regularly have burnt ends, even in bulk, since those tend to have the most smoke flavor. The pulled pork had the strongest smoke taste of the parts of the menu I've worked my way through, which includes the spare ribs but not yet the baby back. Spare ribs I got had plenty of meat, weren't dry and had a nice taste, I just prefer a richer 'cue taste. A friend had the chicken and thought it was excellent. Other criticism is that sometimes the meats have been room temp cold - not even barely warm, which probably doesn't help the smoked taste come through well.

                  Sides so far have been very good. Potato salad superb, speaking as someone who doesn't care much for mayo - pleasingly chunky textured and not drowning in mayo. Collards very good for this style (I still preferred the quick cooked Brazilian couve)

                  For those who want real spice, they do have a bottle of "hell sauce" on the counter near the sauces. It's not macho hot, but it has some pleasant heat and has flavor, not just heat. One other criticism - the hottest BBQ sauce didn't go well on the spare ribs for my taste, because I think both the rub on the ribs and the sauce had a lot of the same seasonings, resulting in a too strong taste of chili powder/cayenne.

                  Certainly not going to challenge Blue Ribbon for the BBQ taste itself but a nice addition to the neighborhood vs having to trek all the way over to Arlington for a bit of a BBQ fix.

          2. Unlike most of the above posts, I really did not like Soulfire at all when I went there on Saturday afternoon. Below is my post from eatanddestroy:
            If you have been reading eatanddestroy for a while, you know that I rarely eat at a place that I do not like. I think that I have only posted one negative review in the past 9 or 10 months. Unfortunately, over the weekend, I had a crappy meal. And, I blame the Boston Phoenix since they had a positive write-up of Soulfire’s Fried Macaroni & Cheese Balls.

            PK and I like fried and we also like Mac & Cheese, so we were both looking forward to checking out Soulfire. We planned on only getting the one appetizer; however, due to the smell of the BBQ sauces, I also wanted to try their ribs. We ordered the Southern Fried Mac & Cheese Balls ($5) and the Rib Sampler ($7).

            We already knew that the rib sampler was going to be a rip-off since $7 is a lot for two baby back ribs and two spareribs; however, it was a worse deal than we thought since most of the ribs had very little meat on them. Also, the ribs were very dry and had almost no flavor. I know nothing about cooking ribs, but I do wonder when the ribs were originally cooked since the lack of taste made me think that they have been sitting around for a while and were recently reheated. I do want to point out that they had a variety of BBQ sauces that were actually pretty good, even though I am not a fan of the fact that they keep the BBQ sauces warm since I like BBQ sauce at room temperature.

            On to the Mac & Cheese Balls... They had a good fry, but that is the only compliment that I can give them. They were just fried balls stuffed with bland pasta shells. Neither PK nor I could taste any cheese. We were both disappointed since we were hoping that these would taste something like we imagined a mac & cheese mozzarella stick would taste like. At the very least, they could have drizzled some cheese over them.

            Verdict: A waste of $12.

            1. I stopped in last night for a pulled sandwich with a side of collards.

              As far as hot sauce, I asked for it and was told they only had the "hot" (not hot) barbecue sauce and the hot relish (hotter). They need a bottle of tabasco and/or the hot peppers in vinegar to spice up the collards.


              The greens had the right grease factor and were well cooked but I prefer fatback to bacon and they were a little on the sweet side. At least there was lots of bacon. Maybe they're using that abomination called maple bacon, which is why the greens tasted too sweet.

              As far as the sandwich goes, I'm generally a fan of barbecue being served dry, for the most part, to accomodate varying tastes (I rarely, if ever, use sauce when I smoke my own ribs). To me however, NC-style pulled should be mixed with a little cider/white vinegar and spices (mostly red and black pepper) so that the sauce has a chance to infuse the meat rather than just sit on top of it. Make no mistake, the pulled at Soulfire is as dry as a bone. I thought the rub was a bit subtle, but perhaps that is because the pork on my sandwich (which was a lot by the way) had little bark. There must have been almost a 1/2 lb of piggie on that sandwich. God bless 'em. All in all, not bad at all but I doubt Blue Ribbon is quaking it its faux cowboy boots.

              The room is too red, they need to re-create some of the old blues album covers that decorate the bar and put something on the walls.

              They're still working on the liquor license.