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Redbones' Hush Puppies Make Me Sad

I always order them because I want them to be delicious, but they never are. Which is kind of odd to me, because I feel like they do a really good job with the fryer otherwise. The fries, onion rings, corn fritters, etc. are all great. Why the sad, dry, leaden balls of cornmeal, then?

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Redbones
55 Chester St, Somerville, MA 02144

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  1. Agreed -- they're just never a good time, dry and tasteless. I always hope they'll be better than they are. Just make 'em a little bigger, mix in some corn kernels and diced onion, and I guarantee they'll be much improved.

    1. The hush puppies at Highland Kitchen are good. Have you tried those?

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      Highland Kitchen
      150 Highland Ave, Somerville, MA 02143

      2 Replies
      1. re: robwat36

        No! Are they always available? I was there recently and didn't notice them on the menu...

        1. re: maillard

          I've always had them at brunch (they go great with the trout and bacon hash and a Hemingway daiquiri, as long as you can nap afterward). They might not have them at dinner.

      2. I've had them at Redbones years ago that were pretty good - then stopped getting them when they would come out dry and hard as a brick.

        The corn fritters are the soft, delicious fried dough ball choice at Bones - although I always forget about the sweet syrup they drizzle over them which I'm not a fan of.

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        Redbones
        55 Chester St, Somerville, MA 02144

        2 Replies
        1. re: LStaff

          We grew up with home made corn fritters with maple syrup-OMG GOOD!

          1. re: LStaff

            Huh... I wonder what happened.

            I do love those corn fritters. I need to just start ordering those instead.

          2. The BBQ at Redbones makes me sad. At least circa mid-90s, and after several visits ("is this really what Boston thinks is good bbq?"). Have not gone back in over a decade.

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            Redbones
            55 Chester St, Somerville, MA 02144

            21 Replies
            1. re: Ricardo Malocchio

              So many people mention Redbones as "the" place in Davis. I think I remember going once years ago - never really understood the draw. I think the name has something to do with it being memorable. It's a good name.

              1. re: Bob Dobalina

                I think the draw is low-ish prices and that it's probably the best beer spot in Davis (heck, it at least rivals anywhere in Cambridge or Somerville, save CBC/Lord Hobo).

                1. re: emannths

                  Right...I always forget it is supposed to have a good beer selection...

                  1. re: emannths

                    Although Foundry and even Flatbread are competitive on that front these days.

                    1. re: robwat36

                      Flatbread is cheap, I'll give them that...but the selection is pretty weak.
                      I know they are trying to do all local stuff but nothing changes very often, other than switching to seasonals with certain breweries.
                      Redbones has jacked up prices now, but the selection is much better and it changes daily.

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                      Redbones
                      55 Chester St, Somerville, MA 02144

                2. re: Ricardo Malocchio

                  as a native north carolinian, i feel your pain. the hushpuppies at all star sandwich bar are somewhat better. I've tried redbones several times and then just stopped. it's not barbecue. they have no clue. I just make it at home now, and even in the crockpot without smoke, it's better.

                  1. re: Madrid

                    People from the Carolinas and St Louis are always telling me how abysmal the BBQ at Redbones is, but when I ask where I can find better barbecue, they just sigh sadly. Therefore I still don't know what's actually wrong with the tender, juicy, well-smoked meat at Redbones, but I guess I'm happy in my ignorance.

                    1. re: Boston_Otter

                      I'm from NC as well. The place that makes me happiest (for barbecue) is Blackstrap BBQ in Winthrop. The pulled pork is a little more chunky than I am used to, but it is tender and well-flavored, and the cornbread is sweet, but the cornbread everywhere but Hungry Mother is sweet. If those are my biggest complaints, I'm a happy girl.

                      1. re: CarolinaGirl06

                        it would be fun to hear how you like the bbq and cornbread at East Coast Grill. We get a couple of their $3 ribs as a side dish for their great brunch. Their cornbread is not super sweet (but you can have it sweet w/ their honey cumin chili butter.). Next door, All Star Sandwich Bar has excellent white cornmeal hushpuppies.

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                        All Star Sandwich Bar
                        1245 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02139

                        East Coast Grill and Raw Bar
                        1271 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02139

                        1. re: CarolinaGirl06

                          we finally made it out there this weekend and it was definitely my favorite in terms of local bbq options - granted one could take that to be damning with faint praise, but it is what it is :) we'll be back, that's for sure.

                    2. re: Ricardo Malocchio

                      Same. I still go sometimes but I've long given up on ordering any meat except the sausage, which I do think is really tasty. I usually get the fried catfish or buffalo shrimp and some sides and call it a day.

                      1. re: LeoLioness

                        Gotta agree with you on the sausage - had the sage & onion sausage there on Tuesday & it was outstanding. It seemed that the sausage had more smoke flavor to it than the ribs (St. Louis) had. And, they do have corn pudding, which is probably my favorite thing there.

                        1. re: southie_chick

                          I've been a big fan of their sausage over the years: the casing had a crisp snap and the filling was reliably superb, but I had a rather bland one there this week, encased in a soft covering. I'm hoping this was a one-time aberration.

                      2. re: Ricardo Malocchio

                        You should. They started selling baby back ribs as a dinner special last year, and they're the best ribs on the menu, in my opinion. They also do a nice catfish.

                        1. re: Boston_Otter

                          Are the ribs smoky? Like LStaff, that's the main issue I have with their meats.

                        2. re: Ricardo Malocchio

                          I'm surprised you feel comfortable voicing an opinion if you haven't been there in over a decade.

                          For my part I go there for very specific cravings: beer, catfish fingers, buffalo shrimp, dirty rice, collards, and potlikker soup when they have it. And I like the atmosphere.

                          1. re: Niblet

                            Hear hear nibs! Things can change!

                            I was in the "anti-Redbones camp" for a long time, after giving it several tries in the mid-90s and as recently as 3 years ago when I literally threw out my plate of burnt ends and brisket because it gave me the creeps.

                            But last year, I went back and had ribs and I found them totally up to snuff -- friends had the regular ribs, I had the baby backs, and we all enjoyed our food. The only controversial dish was a side of mac n cheese, that one person proclaimed baby food. I actually really enjoyed it, but then I like Kraft out of a box too.

                            1. re: yumyum

                              After years of mediocrity, I've found quite a bit of improvement at Redbones over the last year or so. It's no longer a last resort for me.

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                              Redbones
                              55 Chester St, Somerville, MA 02144

                              1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                                I remember hearing it was under new ownership, which in turn was taking over from a previously 'under new ownership' - or at least something along those lines.

                                I know the "it's gotten a lot better in recent years" is a pretty common meme for redbones, at least.

                                1. re: jgg13

                                  Yeah, it's still nowhere near what I would call great, and I'm sure the marked decline of Blue Ribbon lately is a factor in my opinion as well, but it's genuinely not awful anymore.

                                  1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                                    I haven't had the Q there in ages, so can't really say. I tend to stick with the jerk beef, which ranges from pleasantly spicy to nuclear in a good way.

                        3. As far as the smoked meats are considered, mostly it just seems slow cooked and not so much slow smoked, but some things do come out smoky somewhat consistently like the sausage (although is always dry) and the beef ribs. Less consistently, the brisket. I've had pork ribs at Redbones at some of their parties/events that rival any boston area bbq, but whenever I order them myself, just whitish/gray meat with no smoke flavor. Pulled pork is variable too, but mostly just porky flavored with little impact from rub/smoke.

                          They still make a pretty good catfish sandwich though which I get a craving for every once in a while - but with the beer prices bordering on ridiculous (even The Public House and Lord Hobo have better prices on most US made craft beers) these days, my Redbones visits are nearly non-existent after years of being a twice a week patron.