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Sep 13, 2008 06:26 PM

"Roadhouse Craft Beer and BBQ "

Fans of The Public House in Brookline will love their new sister restaurant and retail store. About two blocks west of The Public House on Beacon Street you will find "Roadhouse Craft Beer and BBQ". The name says it all. The BBQ is the best that I have had in Boston. Better than Soulfire and Blue Ribbon. Don't even ask me if it is better than Redbones. Actually, if Redbones had good food and a good beer selection, then it would be Roadhouse. The attached retail store is named "Public House Provisions". Easily Boston's best beer store. All of their beer is in coolers. No more racks and racks of warm beer. They also have "proper glassware" for sale that comes from each brewery specifically designed for each beer type. Their gourmet grocery selection includes a case of fine cheeses.

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  1. wrong. the food at the Roadhouse is mediocre at best. i agree their beer selection is one of the best around, but the BBQ is lacking. too smoky, ribs were charred and a little on the dry side, everything i had (mixed sausages, pork ribs, beef brisket) was doused in the same sweetly sauce. coleslaw was good, but the cornbread was far too dry. not to mention the outrageously horrible service. i know they just opened, but the waitstaff should have at least read the menu before serving customers. Much superior BBQ can be had at the Blue ribbon. even redbones and soulfire do a better job.

    9 Replies
    1. re: amychef

      Ouch. Should I feel like an ass? I had the pulled pork and their chili. Maybe I jumped the gun after trying only one BBQ item. The pulled pork had an excellent smoke flavor, definitely not "too smokey". Maybe I jumped the gun by saying "best in Boston" without trying their ribs. There is no excuse for dry ribs. Speaking of ribs, the guy next to me ordered the "Fried Bay Back Ribs". What the hell is that all about?

      1. re: Dan J

        those fried ribs were disgusting! the batter was actually nice and crisp, but it was just way too much coating the juicy fatty goodness of a baby back rib. they were also doused with that sweet bbq sauce, and laid on a bed of lettuce that got limp from all the grease. though if you're into deep fried foods maybe you'd like them. ok when i go back for beer i'll try the pulled pork - the sandwiches i saw flying by did look succulent.

        1. re: amychef

          Please do. I really dig the pulled pork from Blue Ribbon and Soulfire, I really think that this one is a cut above.

        2. re: Dan J

          Nevermind that pulled pork is pulled pork, but is not really barbecue in my book. Perhaps splitting hairs, but the true test of a bbq place is either ribs or brisket.

          1. re: StriperGuy

            Go to Carolina and make that claim, see what happens.

            1. re: StriperGuy

              Striper, lay off the booze. Pulled pork is definitely barbecue; a nicely sized shoulder often smokes for longer than a rack of spareribs.

              1. re: Dax

                LOL (I agree, I was really playing devil's advocate) my point really being that you can't appropriately size up a bbq place based solely on pulled pork becasue it is less finicky to store, handle, and serve up later. It does not dry out, the way ribs do etc.

                1. re: StriperGuy

                  True. However, I found that no 'cue restaurant in Boston did brisket well, except perhaps Jake's Boss back in the day. I think there was a conspiracy for all local joints there to trim the brisket too much and overcook it as well, just to ensure that the beef if flavorless and tough. Then they try to hide this by over-saucing.

                  Blue Ribbon's brisket isn't bad, but it's nothing compared to a trip to Lockhart.

                  1. re: Dax

                    Smitty's fatty brisket. Yum....

        3. Dan, if you enjoyed it there's no need to back down because someone else didn't. We all have our own tastes. As a restaurant that's only been open, what, a week and a half? I would expect there to be many things still to work themselves out. There have been other threads with mixed reviews as well. Let's wait for the dust to settle before we get all crazy. So for now let's just say Dan J: "yay", amychef: "nay". Surely others will chime in as people check it out (myself included)

          2 Replies
          1. re: purple bot

            Peer Pressure !! there's many a place that I enjoy for what they are, or maybe for a specific dish , and those establishments get the bum's rush by reviewers sometimes. That's why we all have our own tastebuds and unique likes, dislikes, cravings etc. One's man's garbage is anothers gourmet !! I for one will trying it Dan. Thanks.

            1. re: purple bot

              Sure, but a pretty outlandish claim to say best bbq in beantown based on only tasting the pulled pork (which is something you can probably order in in a bag from Sysco and won't suffer too badly.)

            2. I visited Roadhouse last week. Here are my thoughts:

              (1) PRICING STRUCTURE. There are some really odd price points on this menu. The soup was the strangest one: cup is $4, and bowl is $8! Yes, that's right, $8 for a bowl of soup at a BBQ restaurant! I just HAD to see what this $8 bowl of soup was like, so I got it (chicken corn chowder). It tasted like the chicken corn chowder I get off the shelf at Shaw's -- which I actually really like, so that's not an insult -- but with large (WAY too large, for soup) hunks of chicken thrown in. Worth $5 at most. Some of the entree items are also strangely priced -- for example, $19 for chicken-fried steak! And you get only 1 side, not 2, with each entree.

              (2) SERVICE. Service was friendly and prompt, though I went at 5:30pm when the place was largely empty.

              (3) MAC & CHEESE. It was tasty -- I'd get it again -- but not uniquely so. I think Soul Fire's mac & cheese, with those little crumbles of bbq potato chips or whatever they are, remains the best I've had at any Boston-area BBQ place.

              (4) CORNBREAD. Honestly, this was the worst cornbread I've ever had in my life, hands-down, anywhere. I got the jalapeno cheddar variety, not the plain version, because it sounded tasty. It was dry, brittle, and tasted nothing like cornbread. If it were darker, it might've made a nice roofing material.

              (5) PULLED PORK. The pulled pork was definitely the highlight of the meal. It had just the right balance of vinegar, smoke, and sweetness. I'd definitely get the pulled pork again.

              (6) BRISKET. The brisket had a nice, smokey flavor. Some would say the flavor was too smokey, but I liked it -- just personal preference. It looked nice, too -- a big strip of meat with thin layer of fat running horizontally along the top of the strip. The thing is, the meat was way too tough -- not tender enough -- and was quite difficult to cut with the knife they provided me.

              (7) PORK RIBS. Can't believe they actually call these ribs "BBQ." They were atrocious. Dried out, and either old or overcooked. Zero smoke flavor. And astoundingly, the sides of the ribs -- where normally you'd see the pink meat because the ribs were just cut -- were either grilled or otherwise cooked. The sides of all my ribs were well-browned -- very odd! I wondered, "How can they serve these?"

              (8) DESSERTS. Nonexistent -- they didn't offer any. Maybe later?

              (9) BEER. I don't drink. Maybe that was my problem? ;)

              (10) SUMMARY: I will wait several months and then return. I think this place opened prematurely, before they actually learned how to make the food they serve in a consistent, quality fashion. Given the pricing structure and quality of the food, at this point I'd much rather eat BBQ at Blue Ribbon, Soul Fire, or perhaps even Redbones (in a pinch). But if you're in the neighborhood, get a pulled pork sandwich! [I'm curious about the chopped brisket, too -- didn't have a chance to try it.]

              AN ASIDE: I asked the key question, "On your chicken-fried steak, what color is the gravy?" The answer they gave me was . . . brown. Grrrr, soooo wrong. Ah well.

              2 Replies
              1. re: roscoe

                Too my shame, I have never had chicken-fried steak. What cover is the gravy supposed to be? What's in it? I'm intrigued.

                1. re: bostonbroad

                  Chicken fried steak traditionally is served with a white cream gravy with a lot of pepper in it.

              2. I went on Saturday night at 7. There was an hour and a half wait so I snagged two seats at the bar. We ordered promptly but waited 45 minutes for the food to arrive. I had the pulled pork sandwich. Came with fries that were very good. The pulled pork was thickly pulled and served with a sweet sauce. It looked strange, taste was fine put tasted like it could have been from a food service. The sandwich itself was not that thick. When I left I saw another sandwich which was twice as thick. My wife had the pork ribs. They were served with a drizzle of sauce and were dry and pink, not cooked long enough. I'm not talking pink ring, I'm talking pink and slightly warmer than room temperature. The corn bread didn't come until we asked for a second time. There was no sauce at the bar to add to the tiny bit on the ribs. At those prices I'd stick with other places. I know that Redbones gets knocked a lot but they have the service down pat. Roadhouse seemed more about having some food with your beer than about having beer with your food.

                2 Replies
                1. re: chuck s

                  what is it with this town? 2 hours and 15 min for a plate of fair bbq? granted, it was saturday night, but wow? why is it we cant get decent 'cue? it seems like everyone is starved for it, but across the board, boston barbeque is grim. i know,i know, many will chime in with the smokin joes/soulfire/blue ribbon (which has fallen off substantially in the past two years) arguments, and i have eaten at them all. they are o.k., just o.k. seems like there is a market. maybe you just cant reproduce a regional taste and shouldnt try, but i still want...

                  1. re: hyde

                    I went to Roadhouse last Thursday and, I am sad to say, I was miserably disappointed. I was salivating at the idea of good BBQ in my backyard (good BBQ....hence no Village Smokehouse). The wait - for a table - was over an hour and this is because they left half the restaurant empty to let the kitchen catch up with back orders.

                    When we finally (!) sat down, the waitress could not tell us whether the pork ribs were baby backs (they are not) and how the beef ribs were prepared. When the food arrived, the beef ribs were just ok, the pork ribs were rubbery and the brisket sandwich was quite good. That said, I would not come back for the brisket alone. I'll give this place a month or two to gear up and react to constructive criticism and then try again. Until then, I'll have to make do with Blue Ribbon and business trips to the South....

                2. We've split off some discussion about finding the best beer store in Boston into a new thread. You can find that discussion at