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Roadhouse BBQ Brookline

Rode by today (Sunday) and they are getting ready to open tomorrow. The smoker was going. I checked out the menu. Seemed a bit pricey, $10 for a pulled pork sandwich, $11 for a brisket sandwich, and $22 for a rack of ribs. I guess I'll wait and see.

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  1. Where is it located in Brookline?

    1 Reply
    1. re: macadamianut

      Where Vinny T's used to be on Beacon Street. Across from the Shaw's. The exact address is 1700 Beacon Street, Brookline.

    2. I live in hope, but if the food is at the same marginal level as the Publick House, it'll never last.

      9 Replies
      1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

        BBQ is one of the hardest foods to do well consistently day after day (and certainly year after year.) I just can't imagine the Publick House folks, who can't even turn out a consistent burger, will have the discipline to get 'cue right on an ongoing basis.

        They basically have demonstrated they don't really care about food, decided that the BBQ "concept" would be good in Brookline and opened Road House. I'll propose a wager, dinner for 4 on me at Blue Ribbon vs. dinner for me alone at Road House if they are still making decent BBQ a year from today. Any takers?

        1. re: StriperGuy

          Define "decent." At least they're smoking their own meat and given the longevity of Village Smokehouse (20+ years) I bet they'll be around but I think the more important bet is whether they achieve "decent bbq" in the first place. I hope so.

          All you have to do is go to Publick House to see how many people crowd in and wait a long time for bad service and inconsistent food. Take the overflow, add a whole lot of people (including kids) who like bbq more than beer-infused Belgian cooking, and you have success. The bar alone will keep it going.

          1. re: JoeM

            Agreed. ONe way or the other, this place will be a success - people will wait in lines for what isn't even particularly decent bbq (e.g. Redbones), this place has the name value of the Publick House, and they have the beer list. It'll succeed.

            Whether or not the bbq is good, well that's a diff story.

          2. re: StriperGuy

            The BBQ at what seems to be a Chowhound fave - Blue Ribbon - isn't even what it was a year ago. At some point, if they allow it, these places end up with too much demand, and only so much time to actually smoke the meat properly.

            1. re: LStaff

              I've been at Blue Ribbon twice in the last 45 days and the quality was exceptional as it always is. Though I will say with I have once or twice (in about 5 years of going) had an off night at Blue Ribbon.

              To the other posters above, many BBQ places get the cue right early on, because someone is paying attention, the trick is, it is hard to maintain the quality. It is a valid critique that the Publick House guys might not even give a hoot to get it right in the beginning. I don't doubt Road House will be there in a year, it is a good location and as others have said, if Village Smokehouse is any indication quality is not necessarily a requirement for success.

              1. re: StriperGuy

                Agree, nothing's changed for the worse at Blue Ribbon.

                1. re: Ruprecht

                  If you are talking about the Newton location, I may agree with you. But the quality at the Arlington location dropped like a rock after they took out the smokers and started making everything at the commisary in Newton. Very rarely can you find a smoke ring or smoke flavor in the meat anymore - the meat at the Arlington location used to be pretty smokey. Pulled pork is the only thing I think is worth getting anymore.

                  1. re: LStaff

                    I eat at the Arlington location all the time and disagree.

            2. re: StriperGuy

              SG - I don't get it! Either way YOU lose - either financially or having to consume ick alone?

          3. I found the BBQ properly smoke cooked, with telltale smoke ring, texture and prominent smoke flavor. Tried the brisket, pork ribs and beef ribs. As a BBQ fan I recommend that hounds with an open mind (a rare breed?) check it out.

            1 Reply
            1. re: PaulB

              Paul B - Was this at Roadhouse or at Arlington Blue Ribbon? Thanks!

            2. What are the hours for this place? Are they open for lunch?

              1. Has anyone actually eaten here? I'd love some food reports that aren't speculation.

                5 Replies
                1. re: gini

                  I read on BeerAdvocate.com (in the forums) that they weren't going to be re-opening (after the soft opening on Tuesday) until tonight (Monday 9/8)

                  here's the forum discussing it, I don't know if you need to be a member to view it though: http://beeradvocate.com/forum/read/15...

                  1. re: noradeirdre

                    It officially opened yesterday 9/8. They're obviously still working out things in the kitchen, but it was a nice crowd and the bartender seemed nice. Decent beers on tap and he even gave us samples to try before settling in on a pint.

                      1. re: Allstonian

                        I found the food reminiscent of the BBQ in my ancestral homeland the Texas hill country

                      2. re: desertrose5418

                        Just "decent" beers on tap??? You are, by definition, hard to please! :)

                        I enjoyed my time there yesterday--the room looks great and 2 bars to choose from :)

                  2. Went to the RH last night (Tuesday 9/9) and had a nice time. My DC had the smoky corn chowder which was hearty and had terrific flavor from the corn and pancetta. I ordered the fried chicken plate and chose the mac & cheese and the collards for sides. Fried chicken was decent- had some dark meat in there which made me happy. Crust still needs some tinkering and one of my breast pieces was a bit too pink by the bone but overall, pretty good. Though I *love* fried chicken and believe that while the good stuff can be transcendent, even mediocre still makes me pretty happy. This was up a couple steps from mediocre. I liked the M&C, it had some nice flavor to it, sharper cheese and tastier than what you'd get at, say, Redbones. Is creamy stovetop kind, not baked (like at the Publick House.) Collards were... I didn't care for them, they were bland. I love Redbones and Blue Ribbon's collards, but these were dry and boring.

                    Great selection of stuff on draft, and lots of stuff I want to try in the future- smoked turkey leg, fried ribs, chicken fried steak (which uses a ribeye), as well as the regular ribs and BBQ.

                    We sat at the bar, the service was fine. By the time I got there (I met my DC there) it was pretty crowded and OMG steaming hot. I felt some cool air above us when we were about to leave so I think they may have shut it off? My husband said it was pretty cool when he first got there (it was pretty empty at that point, when it first opened) so maybe they got complaints and turned off the AC? Who knows, but I was sweating INSANELY while in there, I almost cried with relief when we got outside.

                    I'll definitely go again. It's a nice vibe and a great space with great beer... and I'm anxious to try other stuff on the menu.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: noradeirdre

                      Thanks for the review - sounds pretty decent. Good fried chicken is always great to know about. The mac & cheese sounds good, but that's a shame about the collards.

                      Ribeye seems like a very odd choice for chicken fried steak - CFS normally uses tougher cuts. Will have to try it for myself, clearly, but it seems as though the texture would be quite wrong.

                      1. re: Allstonian

                        I went last night as well and may have been seated next you at the bar early in the evening. My wife and I started with the smoked wings which we both thought were excellent, she liked them so much she ordered them again for dinner. We had sauce on the side as she wanted the sweet and I wanted the hot. Both sauces were good though not transcendent. One interesting note about the wings they are smoked and then fried giving them a nice crunch.
                        For Dinner I had the house rubbed pork ribs (1/2 rack) I found the Ribs very tender and flavorful. Smoke ring was present but not the smoky flavor. Again I had these with the spicy BBQ sauce I was gladly that they did not oversauce the ribs. Some will say that dry rubbed ribs needn't have any sauce but it was needed as the rub seemed kinda sparse.
                        The Mac and Cheese was excellent and I was glad to see that they had a recipe different from the Publik House. Sharp cheddar and some herbs. The Jalapeno Cheddar cornbread was flavorful if not a bit cake-like. I prefer the less cake like cornbread familiar in the south.
                        Beer was excellent. I enjoyed myself and will return.

                        1. re: ChickenBrocandZiti

                          When you say the cornbread was cakelike, do you mean texturewise, or is it sweet? Barmy has taught me to abhor the sweet kind (though I still defend the right for sweet corn muffins to exist!), but I actually prefer a bit of that cakey spring.

                          1. re: Allstonian

                            It was actually both cake-like in texture and sweetness.

                            1. re: ChickenBrocandZiti

                              Rats. I do wish ONE of the local BBQ places had good cornbread, but it seems to be a failing everywhere.

                    2. i've never had killer bbq in this town. and i don't expect it, just like i don't expect to get an amazing lobster roll in texas. i had the brisket last night at the road house with a side of greens and mac 'n cheese. the brisket releases a nice subtle smokey aroma as soon as you bite into it, then the flavor of the meat takes over and the sauce kinda rounds everything out. it wasn't the greatest piece of meat, but it was quite flavorful. the sides were pretty standard - but plentiful. the bartenders all seemed pretty familiar with the extensive selection of beers - i've been really digging mayflower brewing lately.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: BoDubya

                        Have you hit blue ribbon? I have travelled EXTENSIVELY in the Carolinas, Texas, Georgia, Arkansas, and Alabama and find the Blue Ribbon ribs to be as good as those I have had anywhere.

                        1. re: StriperGuy

                          Wow, you must have been hitting all the wrong places on your travels down south if you think Blue Ribbon ribs are as good as those down south and out west. I will say that their brisket is done well, but c'mon, their ribs?

                          1. re: Chrispy75

                            Ah yes, went out of my way to have the worst ribs everywhere I went.

                            Not really.

                            Actually for six years traveled heavily in the south and hit MANY if not most the the southern BBQ institutions from Memphis to Georgia, Texas, etc. Can't say I ever tasted a single one that was notably better than Blue Ribbon.

                            Blue Ribbon can hang with the best of them.

                            1. re: StriperGuy

                              Have you had the pork ribs at the Pit Stop...they are awesome...just make sure you get the sauce on the side otherwise they will sauce them?

                              1. re: bakerboyz

                                Have not hit Pit Stop. On the list though.

                      2. I also ate at the Roadhouse last night. The waitstaff is still working out the system, but our food was delivered fairly quickly and accurately, and our waitress was appropriately attentive throughout the rest of our meal.

                        To satiate my husband’s curiosity, we ordered the fried baby back ribs as a starter. The SIX ribs that came as an appetizer were huge (6”), and decently smoky. Note that this dish could definitely serve as an entrée for those of us who have smaller appetites. The batter was pretty bland, but thin and crunchy. Meat was smoky and moist. I don’t think I’ll ever eat fried ribs again, but it was an interesting experience.

                        We split the pulled pork plate with sides of mac and cheese and collards. The servings were gargantuan, which was generous, but sort of overwhelming. I don’t think they warmed the plates before serving, and because the AC was on in the building our food got cold fairly quickly.

                        Pulled pork was good, sweet and saucy, and shredded into large chunks. My husband thinks it’s the best he’s had at a restaurant in Boston, but I think W. Newton Blue Ribbon’s is equally yummy.

                        I’ve never had Texas collards, so I can’t comment on the authenticity of the dish we had at the Roadhouse, but they were underwhelming and… dare I say it… possibly vegetarian? I found them sort of tasteless and boring. I don’t normally complain about having to slice up my own food, but the cooks might consider cutting the greens into ribbons before serving. It would at least make the plate look more appetizing. But again, this may be the Texas way. And god forbid we mess with the Texas way.

                        Mac and cheese was yummy. The color was a little reminiscent of Velveeta, but the cheese was obviously real and decent. I can’t really complain about mac and cheese. It’s one of my great weaknesses, even in Velveeta form.

                        The dishes we ordered weren't served with any extra sauce on the side, and I didn't see options on the menu (but I may have overlooked them), so make sure you ask your waitress if you want to try different sauces.

                        All in all, a pleasant night. We had two beers each and all of the food above, and left with a $55 bill, tip included. And a doggy bag with enough food for two lunches. Take home message: drink beer and steer clear of the collards.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: ecdopfel

                          Excellent review. Don't think I have ever seen collards served whole. Good to know they're using fresh collards rather than frozen (or I would imagine, most frozen collards are pre-chopped).

                          1. re: ecdopfel

                            I agree with you on those collards. Tried them last night (with pulled pork and jalapeno cornbread) and my first thought was "these must be vegetarian." They weren't salty enough to include any meat.

                            The pulled pork and cornbread, though, were delicious. There was a lot of gristle in with the pork, so having the platter allowed me to pick through all that to make sure I got to the meat.