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Jun 30, 2007 08:21 AM

BBQ in Arlington or Falls Church - NOT Red, Hot & Blue

I'm desperate for some ok to good bbq for tonight, but really don't want to do Red, Hot & Blue. Is there anything passable close in around Arlington N or S or Falls Church? I don't have time to go any farther out than that.

Thanks for any recs.

Cocinero Cubano

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  1. Your best bet is probably the ribs at Old Hickory Grill in Loehmann's Plaza on Rte 50 in Falls Church. If you go, make sure you get a side of stoneground grits. And if you are in the mood, the absolutely great cajun egg rolls.

    1. Any of the Rocklands locations.

      1. Has anyone been to Bubba's in Falls Church?

        2 Replies
        1. re: chowser

          I eat lunch there occasionally, usually just get a pulled pork sandwich. The pork is fine, but I perfer the sauces at Famous Dave's and Red Hot and Blue to what Bubba's has. They have a mustard sauce and a vinegar sauce (very Southern style) and a mediocre red sauce. "Bubba" is, I think Iranian, but he's really into barbecue cookery and knows what's right. Go in when he's around and it's not very busy and he'll talk and talk.

          Now that I'm watching my cholesterol intake more than I used to, when I head in that direction, often as not I opt for a salad at Myanmar rather than a sandwich at Bubba's.

          1. re: MikeR

            Thanks for the review. Sounds like a place to go if I happen to be in the area but not make a special drive for. I'd read such great reviews on it.

        2. What's wrong with Red Hot and Blue? This is the second person looking for BBQ in the area who said they don't want to go there. They've devolved some in the past couple of years (there was a recent change of ownership) but if you ask for the ribs dry, they do a reasonable approximation of Corky's in Memphis, which is about as Memphis as it gets.

          7 Replies
          1. re: MikeR

            What's wrong with RH&B? They's city boys, them fellas.

            The meat is (or can be) fairly good, but the atmosphere is pure "yuppie faux-funky", and the sides come in thimbles (if you can get a decent forkfull of slaw or beans out of those ramekins, you're a better man than I am.)

            1. re: wayne keyser

              The initial crew were country boys in suits. Lee Atwater was one of the instigators. It's always been faux funky but the meat is pretty good, and that's what's important when you're eating cheap. I find the thimbleful of potato salad to be pretty filling along with a half a slab of ribs. But then I'm trying to eat lighter these days. And the background music ain't bad (but it used to be better)

              1. re: wayne keyser

                "Yuppy faux-funky" atmosphere is a bum rap on RH&B. You just aren't going to find a ramshackled rib joint with screens instead of windows belching wood smoke a half mile from the high rise towers of Rosslyn. Atwater, Sundquist and their 50-plus investors were hardly a bunch of city-slickers. They missed their BBQ like any bunch of good old boys who had grown up with it but they had to make some compromises to get it in stuffy Metro DC. They knew their Memphis BBQ and their down and dirty Delta blues.
                If you ate that same food in a "stage set" BBQ joint, you'd be fine with it. It's Memphis-style. Not Carolina. Not Texas. Not Georgia. Not KC. People will fight about BBQ restaurants as long as the EPA will let us light wood fires inside the city limits. RH&B is good Memphis BBQ. Get carryout, eat in your backyard in your undershirt with some Muddy Waters.

                1. re: MakingSense

                  I am the person with the other post on BBQ and the reason I didn't want Red, Hot & Blue is that I frequently find they have dried out ribs, when we order delivery not all of the things we order come and since BF prefers Georgia or NC BBQ and my friend from Memphis doesn't want half ass Memphis I didn't want this recommended she has been there and says it does even come close to home. It is ok, now that I have been to Mighty midgets in Leesburg I would recommend that over R,H&B for pulled pork sandwiches and ribs and atmosphere. They do have decent sauce, but I find it is most of the time dry. I go to the Rosslyn one. I remembered the Annapolis one being better. But I was looking for non-chains and you would think there would be some like the place off of 50 coming into the city never been, but I think those whole in the wall places may have some potential. So we don't want chain Memphis BBQ, deal with it post your Red, Hot & Blue recommendation on another thread.

                  1. re: ktmoomau

                    Nobody tried to change your mind when you posted your question because your friend had a really good reason not to want RH&B.
                    I was defending RH&B here because I believe that a lot of the local places get bad raps because most people here are chasing something elusive. Those who grew up with BBQ are never going to find a place like back home. Those who didn't, won't find what they think BBQ is supposed to be. None of us will find that place that serves our idea of perfect food in a setting that "looks right."
                    RH&B might actually do well on Beale St, on the highway near Graceland or in suburban Memphis. It certainly isn't Corky's or the Commissary or whatever your friend's favorite place is. I've never gotten dried out ribs at RH&B as you have but it's never soothed my soul either.
                    I get whatever BBQ I can locally to tide me over until I can get South for the real thing. We have to do the best we can and that's why I defend some of the local places for doing the best that they can. Washington is not BBQ country.

                    1. re: ktmoomau

                      If you base your judgment on delivered orders, you're not really being fair. And I imagine that some RH&B shops do a better job than others. I go to the Express in Falls Church because it's just a mile and a half away from my home. I think the ribs at the Rosslyn location may be a little better on the average, but the small difference is offset by (for me) the inconvenience of a longer trip and parking hassle. The pulled pork is pretty much the same at either place. Mighty Midget is 40 miles from home and I'm not going that far for BBQ - no way!

                      Several years back there was an article about BBQ shacks in the Washington Post. I'd suggest that you search the archive, but those places don't stay there forever. I seem to remember some good reports about a place in Accokeek, but I ate there once and was underwhelmed. Trouble with eating at a place once is you can't be sure if what you got is typical or the exception (good or bad). At least I've eaten at the two nearby RH&B locations often enough to be able to say that anyone but a purist wouldn't be disappointed. And a purist isn't going to be impressed by anything unless the building's been condemned.

                      But you're not going to get NC or GA style BBQ at RH&B (do we need a list of acronyms here?) so if that's what you want, you'll need to find somewhere else. Maybe I'm not the right kind of purist, but I don't think ribs when I think NC or GA BBQ. So maybe your two friends really need to go to different restaurants. Good thing you aren't looking for cabrito (BBQ goat), but it's pretty common in south Texas.

                      Oh, and I think that RH&B looks quite a bit like Corky's, at least on the inside. Last time I was there (Corky's) I sat under a painting of Ike Turner and there was R&B background music.

                    2. re: MakingSense

                      I would actually say that RH&B has a total "Yuppy Fuax-funky" feel to it. They have not significantly changed their menu in years and their management is soo risk adverse they take zero risks on anything. It leaves consistently mediocre food. Perhaps they have changed their menus and some of their interior design and "wow" they even added new drinks. Other than that, they are booring. As someone who had met the executive management of this company on occasion, I would say that their sense of adventure, style, and originality is about as dry and drab as their ribs. Just my $0.02. Give me Rocklands BBQ any day over RH&B.

                      Rocklands just openned in Arlington: 3471 Washington Blvd. (Near Ballston)

                2. I've posted this before but...the best bbq I've found in the area hasn't been at bbq restaurants. The best bbq ribs I've ever had are at Boulevard Woodgrill in Clarendon on Wilson Blvd. The ribs are woodgrilled with molasses and rum brushed...the meat is so tender it practically falls off the bone! I went to school in Alabama and these ribs are far better than Dreamlands or Johnny Ray's! And the best bbq pulled pork sandwich is at Sweet Water Tavern...while it lasts!
                  Seriously...stop looking for the bbq joints that you're used to in the won't find them here. But there are several restaurants in the area that do great bbq...minus the greasy/dingy atmosphere (which I think is a positive!). Give my recommendations a try...I promise you won't be disappointed!