Lunch at Lefty's, Waldorf
For years, I've been secure in the belief that there is good authentic BBQ in Maryland, and that it resides primarily in Charles County. Someone told me years ago that it's the only county in the state that still allows open pit cooking. Not sure if thats true or not, but on Saturday I finally had the opportunity to stop in at Lefty's for lunch.
I doubt theres a pit anywhere in the vicinity of the strip mall location, but upon entering there is a heavy smell of woodsmoke. A very good thing. The menu contains country staples as much as typical bbq offerings, and there was a good mixed crowd of folks eating in the dining room. Many colors, and apparent socio-economic levels happily sucking down good home cooking.
I ordered the Carolina pork sandwich, onion rings, and the sweet potato souffle to go. I also grabbed a pepsi from the cooler before I realized they offered homemade lemonaide as well as iced tea. I specified my sandwich sauced with slaw on the side. The kitchen left both items off my order as I discovered once I dug in out in my truck. I briefly considered going back in, but the place was starting to get busy so I determined to limit my experience to meat, more meat, and nothing but meat. The way nature intended.
The sandwich was hefty with a standard soft, sesame seed bun. The meat was just slightly smokey, and seasoned very simply. Salt was the prominent flavor with a slight burn of black pepper on the finish. Sauce would have helped the slightly dry pork, plus a bit of sweetness and tang of some vinegar would have also been welcome. Overall a good sampling of reasonably well done pig although an application of sauce and slaw would have likely perfected the sandwich.
The onion rings were good, but unexceptional. Advertised as beer battered, it was difficult to tell if they were done in house, or went straight from the freezer to the frier. I wrestled with ordering them in the first place, as this is not a fair item by which to judge a bbq joint, but I'm a sucker for onion rings, and at 2.99 the large order was a good deal regardless. I saved the sweet potato dish for my wife, who thought it was good, but overly sweet.
As Waldorf and the immediate area continues to sprout malls, and chain restaurants, Lefty's is, if nothing else, a great local joint. I might not drive miles to get there (like I would, and do for Johnny Boys in La Plata), but it's good to know there are still a few options like this around.
FYI: If you bring in your church bulletin on Sunday's they knock 15% off your bill. How nice is that?
Make sure it's Lefty behind the counter. His identical twin brother (who according to a perverse Southern custom is also called "Lefty") also works there but his catfish tastes like rubber while Lefty is the Jascha Heifitz of fried fish. You can tell them apart because his twin brother is right handed. ;-)