Bitters, Bock & Rye: A bar with 'cue [San Francisco]
Lots of buzz about this Polk Gulch bar that started a couple weeks ago as they were softly opening a new, expanded dining area. They are now offering a menu of house-smoked BBQ in addition to a handful of specialty cocktails. I stopped in for dinner and drinks prior to a GAMH show last week and was overall quite pleased.
Happy hour specials run from 4 until 7 and are quite good. Specialty cocktails are $2 off, All beer (drafts & bottles) are $1 off, and sandwiches are also discounted either $1 or $2 (can't remember as I didn't have one). I had a Smoked Jalapeño Margarita, which was nicely balanced, though the (smoked) paprika salt rim was gratuitous.
But let's get to the 'cue: I shared a three-meat plate with sausage, brisket (choice of fatty or lean, I chose the fatty), and pork ribs. All plates come with two sides, and we had collard greens and hush puppies, and opted to split an appetizer of mac & cheese (also offered as a side, but not all sides are offered separately). The mac & cheese came out in a mini-skillet and was beautifully creamy, though could have used a touch more seasoning. The meats were pretty good; the brisket shined best: beautifully smoky and fatty, as ordered. Sausage was well-spiced if not a touch overcooked, and the pork ribs suffered a strange duality of having an almost impenetrable bark with some decently moist and flavorful meat underneath. Collards had a great vinegary tang and the hush puppies were tender and flavorful, maybe leaning toward a touch too onion-y. Meats come unsauced, but a four-pack of housemade sauces arrives with your food, including (if I can piece them all together again) a mustard sauce, a NC vinegar sauce, a sweeter Texas bbq sauce, and yep, can't remember the other one.
Prices are reasonable, and the bar is well-stocked. Rumor has it they'll be brewing their own beer soon (you can see a couple of tanks in the bar area).
Eager to hear if others have tried this yet.
I stumbled upon this place during their soft opening phase with some friends. We had a great time. I'm looking forward to checking them out again. But to me the jury is out about the food.
The cocktails were tasty, the beer selection quite good. Service was warm, friendly, and attentive. Our sides and starters were all very good. And of our four entrees, two were good, the shrimp and grits were just OK, and my ribs were disappointing. Overcooked and over smoked, to my tastes - and I don't normally object to a heavy hand with the smoker. It was not a case of an over tough bark, just dry and overdone. We arrived late, around 10:00, so maybe the ribs spent too long in the oven? Like I said, we enjoyed ourselves and I'm looking forward to trying them again.