Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Percy Street Barbecue

Wade's Take:

October and November had us at very different restaurants; 1862 last month and Percy Street Barbecue this month. Last month we donned our finest threads and had multiple servers handling our meal experience at 1862. This month we had a roll of paper towels at our tableside and food came out fast, served on metal trays and wrapped like packages in wax paper.

Percy Street Barbecue opened up a few weeks ago. There's a great story to the place that's had an effective round of PR. The staff traveled down to Texas and went to something like 13 barbecue places in one day to research what makes the best barbecue and how to replicate it. Their gastronomical adventure paid-off. Philly finally has some good barbecue.

This place is simple. The menu's easy, the food comes out fast and the flavors don't go beyond basically barbecue essentials. There are no infusions, reductions, fancy menus designed by word smiths. It's refreshing.

We ordered three meats: the lean brisket, pork belly and spare ribs. I'll take on my favorite - the brisket. It was a really trim cut of meat... the fat was lacking, but yet the brisket was still juicy. It crumbled easily under a fork (although I hardly noticed this because I was devouring it so quickly). The edges had a nice burnt crisp.

Percy Street is smart about their servings of meats -they give you kickin' pickles, onions and white bread to make sandwiches if you desire. It's nice to have options.

What you don't have options in is the sauce. They only offer you a small pot of their sauce. It has a tomato paste consistency, and rings sweet in the mouth... and I wasn't loving it. In order to appeal to those of us that like heat on our BBQ, or some sweet tang... I hope they add more choices in sauces to the menu.

The sides were all great in my book. The cole slaw wasn't too creamy - and had a nice punch to it. The green beans were soft and salty like I like them at a barbecue joint. The mace and cheese... superb (I'll let Jess take on that one) and for the collard greens I'll differ to Dave's CG guru-ness to describe them.

We had two desserts - the banana pudding and apple crisp. The crisp was excellent. It had large slices of apple, gooey yet still somewhat firm. The oatmeal and sugar top had the perfect crunch, and the ice cream finished the dish just right.

My clothes smelled like barbecue smoke hours after I left. It was a nice reminder of this place worth repeating.

3 out of 4 Texans.
Jess' Take
Dave called it when he said that this place would be a great place to come and watch a game. They have rootbeer on tap (for those of us who are currently alcohol free) and beer that's served in old brown apple juice jugs. We were one of the first patrons to arrive, but by the time dessert arrived they place was packed and loud with messy finger folks enjoying the boisterous atmosphere and tasty BBQ.

Which brings me to the most essential item on our table - the full roll of paper towels, of which we went through quite a few.
I'll just comment on the highlights, since Wade did a good job with the overall meal. The mac and cheese is not to be missed. It's creamy, but not too much, with a nice crisp topping of breadcrumbs. If you're not a meat eater it would make a great meal on it's own (but then why bother hitting a BBQ joint at all).
Also a highlight for me was the brisket. We ordered it lean and it was thinly sliced and was delicious paired with a forkfull of coleslaw.
I also enjoyed the banana pudding, but mostly because I haven't had banana pudding since I was about 10. It was a nice, sweet end to the meal, but certainly not the highlight.
I think we will definitely find ourselves back at Percy St. to enjoy some cheap, tasty food, espeically in the cold winter months ahead.
3 messy fingers out of a possible 4.

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