Over the weekend The Dulcinea and I had lunch at JB's Eat-A-Bite BBQ
. We were both so hungry that we were overwhelmed by the menu as everything sounded tasty. In the end, we decided to go with BBQ. She had the rib tips while I had the straight-up ribs.
Fries and coleslaw came with each. The former were done well – light and crispy. The slaw was good too. While it could have used some celery powder or seed, it wasn't sweet, which I greatly appreciated. The ribs were served lukewarm but I didn't mind too much. The meat was cooked perfectly. It came off the bone easily but didn't fall off. The sauce was excellent. If most BBQ sauces are tomato-based and sweet like catsup, this stuff was more akin to Heinz 57. I think it was mustard based. There was a hint of sweetness but it was mostly savory. The smoke flavor was also great. It tasted heartier and woodier than the other BBQ joints in town. I wonder if he uses a different kind of wood.
We, and by this I mean The Dulcinea, ordered okra and greens too.
The okra was fantastic. No deep frying here and also no mucilage. Instead you got tasty bites of that earthy goodness that somehow retained a bit of firmness. The greens were quite serviceable but I like mine with more fatback or bacon. A corn bread muffin came with the dinners as well. Again, not overly sweet, which gets high marks in my book, but it was dry.
The eponymous JB is James Brown, the friendly proprietor of the place. He was on hand and chatted us up. He also gave us free samples of the okra and the red beans & rice. He introduced the latter by noting that it was his mother's recipe and that she served it to Louis Armstrong. True or not, I can't say but I can say that it was excellent. In fact, I'd never had red beans & rice quite like it. It was more soupy – like gumbo – than the versions I've had which are thicker and more gravy-like. It had small chunks of chicken and slices of very small diameter sausage. Thyme was prominent. It left a very slight burn; a bit of tingling on the tongue really. Very, very good stuff. As I overheard JB tell another customer, the food is not spicy hot as Creole doesn't mean hot.
While we were too full for dessert, there were four kinds of cake, one of which was "Better Than Sex". It looked to be a dark chocolate cake with white frosting.
Next time The D is keen on trying the chicken livers while I want to give the Italian beef sandwich a go. Mr. Brown is apparently from Louisiana originally but lived in Chicago as well. This accounts for the presence of the Italian beef, Maxwell Street Polish, and whatnot on the menu.
Speaking of Italian beef, I noticed last week at Falbo Bros. now offers one and I just had to try it. It was actually pretty tasty. Unfortunately, they toasted the bun, melted cheese on it, and put the gravy on the side instead of dipping the sandwich in it.
Labels: BBQ, Madison, Restaurants, Soul Food