The Dulcinea and I went to Blair Street Brew & BBQ
yesterday. I was keen on trying it out after discussing BBQ with some friends of mine who are aficionados of smoked meat, i.e. – they will drive hundreds of miles to investigate a city's BBQ scene. One friend said of Blair Street:
I gave his ribs and sides a try I liked them better than Brickhouse BBQ. The potato salad was ok, the coleslaw was bland and the beans were mediocre.
Perhaps "better than Brickhouse" will become Madison's new BBQ slogan. Despite the less than ringing endorsement, we went anyway.
I had the pork shoulder sandwich and The D went with the beef brisket. She had cole slaw and I kartoffelsalat. It's true. The slaw was bland and the kartoffelsalat was OK. Actually, I think there's a good kartoffelsalat in there but it's too salty. Also, the kartoffeln are drowning in the mayo-based dressing but this isn't a problem to my taste. Just cut down the salt.
The pork shoulder was tender and flavorful, though not particularly smoky. The sauce there was also good. I appreciated that the sweetness was restrained and it had a good tanginess. It had that Heinz 57 approach which I think of as being a mix of celery, onion, and garlic powders along with mustard and tomato paste. To my palate, it accentuated the meat instead of overpowering it. I also appreciated that the sandwich did not come with any sauce on it and that I was allowed to tweak it myself.
For her part, The D found there to be too much salt in her meal and wished that there were more onion strings on her sandwich. Unlike mine, hers was open-faced.
A few other notes: the chocolate malt was tasty but the whipped cream turned out to be fake. We're in Wisconsin – no simulacra of dairy products. Portion sizes, however, were just right. The owner, Nick Sierzant, was there. He was affable and came across as a down-to-earth, honest fellow. At some point Sierzant will start brewing on premises. The menu promised a pale ale, a pilsner, and a bock. Lastly, the beer menu contained a lame sexist joke. Domestics like Bud, Coors, and Miller were under the WNBA category while craft brews were in NBA. I can understand making fun of crappy beer but why the need to demean women?
A question occurred to me as I was scanning the menu. The kids menu contained "Chicken Fingaires", which I take to be chicken fingers/strips, a pizza of one sort or another, and a couple other items. This is very common but I don't recall this being the case when I was a kid. At what point did a menu for children move from being smaller portions of other items on the menu to being almost exclusively generic garbage? Or is my memory just faulty? It's sad that, at a BBQ joint, children are presented with options that have absolutely nothing to do with BBQ. Smoky Jon's is the same way. Look at the Essen Haus' kids menu
. It's McDonald's, essentially. No smaller portions of schnitzel or any such thing. It's like the restaurant is saying, "We have all this fine food for you. Your kids, however, can eat crap."
So when will Madison get Detroit-style pizza
Labels: BBQ, Madison, Restaurants