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Worcester, MA - New Restaurant - Promising Barbecue!

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There is a new restaurant that just opened maybe 3 weeks ago in Worcester (very near Bocado). I think the address is 90 Canal St, but don't quote me on that. My wife and I have tried it twice. The space is very nice - it has a bar area that probably seats around 50 people between the tables and the bar itself. The other side is a wide open area with a mix of tables and booths. The menu is predominantly barbecue as you wold deduce from the name. Our first trip, we tried the sampler [where you select three items - I chose brisket, St Louis Ribs, and pulled pork]. My wife had the baby back ribs. All were very good. There is a selection of excellent beers on tap - mostly microbreweries. They offer a flight option which we both enjoyed a lot. The second trip we mixed up the coices a bit and ordered an apetizer as well, but the quality was just as good as the first trip. The owner of this restaurant is Richard Romaine - The Romaines own and run "Romaine's Bistro" in Northboro which has remained one of the best restaurants west of Boston for around 10 years now. He brought a couple of his menu items over from the other restaurant (fish Tacos and Calamari that I remember noticing) - and those are both excellent apetizer / bar choices at his other restaurant. To me, Worcester has a large number of very average restaurants. I predict this one will catch on. They don't gouge you on price, the atmosphere is nice, the food is coming from a proven restauranteur, and the bar is very inviting. I am interested to hear what others' opinions and experiences are so far.

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  1. Is the name "Promising Barbecue"? I can't find a website.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Science Chick

      it's called Smokestack Urban Barbecue. their website is still in the rough stages: http://www.bbqstack.com/

      1. re: jmacd

        Do they do a smoked fish sandwich? How are the sides?

        1. re: Science Chick

          i haven't tried it yet (i've been too obsessed with flats, my favorite new find in worcester, to venture elsewhere) but i'm looking forward to it!

    2. I have enjoyed Romaine's many times. I especially enjoy the apps are very reasonably priced, dinners can be high but top quality. They did have a take out BBQ near Romaine's but it was short lived. The service has always been good too. I look forward to trying it.
      Smokestack Urban Barbecue @ 90 Harding Street

      1. Ive been here twice. The atmosphere was good, the appetizers I had, and the oyster po' boy were also good. The BBQ was not good. I had a sampler plate with chicken, pulled pork, brisket, and ribs. The pulled pork was OK, though the Carolina sauce I put on it was not very good. The chicken was was awful, though a friend who went at a later date (also unimpressed with the Q) said the chicken was the best thing on the plate. The ribs were cooked fine but had an off smoke flavor and bland dry rub, and the brisket was dry. I really hope they can turn the BBQ around, because as most know, Worcester is a BBQ wasteland.....we need this!!!

        1. I will send my Mom over soon for a checksie..

          1. ok! i had friends who went over and gave this place a once over. these friends understand tremendously what decent bbq should be, so i hold that in high regard. the reviews weren't that great. so the other day i went over with one of these friends who was brave for going back. don't get me wrong i love bbq but this place has some work to do. the place looks great, apps were really good but when it comes to bbq there is no way in he real smoke has touched any of that food. the main concern is when was the last time you were in ANY type of bbq place and smelled NO smoke. i do hope that changes bc i think this place could do well if done right