Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Restaurant Review- Barbecue Lodge

What's in a name?  Well, if this one makes you scratch your head, so will the food.  But it really isn't the fault of the Barbecue Lodge.  They serve Carolina BBQ, and that's the problem.  I get into spirited discussions with my friend from Memphis about the merits of Texas over Memphis style.  And I lived in KC for a few years and loved Gates and some of the other icons of that genre.  But I have not heard anyone ranting about the poor unwashed who don't know anything about Carolina barbecue.  I now know why.  It is not worth ranting about.  In fact, it is not really worth eating.  Have a burger, have a salad, have a Kebab.  This is a poor excuse for a meal.

I am sure the pork was marinated, then slow cooked on the BBQ chef's choice of wood.  I am sure it was tender and fell apart, and was heavenly in it's succulence.  I am sure.  But when you take a great bit of Cue and soak it in a sauce then spoon it on plates, well, that is just not right.  I don't get too zealous about my BBQ, but folks, wrong is wrong.  In the case of The Barbecue Lodge, sauce is the typical vinegar with some water, salt and red pepper.  Maybe more, but I don't care, for it is used to make up for the meat's lack of flavor and it't dryness.  Dryness in port Cue can only come from using too lean a cut, or cooking at too high a temp, or holding too long.  I don't know which they do in North Carolina, but it is not that good.

The sides can really contribute to a BBQ meal.  I anticipated some real for real hush puppies and was not disappointed.  They were light, fried and tasty- sweet.  The other items in the basket less so, but appreciated as an entre to the meal.  The vinegar slaw was tasty, but one of those dishes you have to close your eyes to eat- the cabbage was run through a fine shredder, which results in cabbage mush.  Try it some time.  Teeny tiny chunks of cabbage the size of rice grains.  Not so good.  But the dressing is the Barbecue Lodge' best use of it's overuse of vinegar.  Zippy.  The mac and cheese, a place for places to shine, was a bit better than Kraft or Velveeta.  But not worth finishing.  Some people like this dish cooked to mush, so it is understandable that it was.  But with no flavor, no bread crumb or Corn Flake crunch on top?  Bland and boring.  The turnip greens- I was looking for a real down south example to triangulate from- they were tasty and not appealing.  So over worked and floating in a private pool of water, again not worth finishing.  The BBQ chicken was OK, the sauce was not.  But it was sauce.  Shoulda got the fried chicken instead- I like to think THAT would have been the star of the Barbecue Lodge.

Atmosphere was BBQ appropriate- very basic, but it could have been a Furr's.  No evidence of smoke or smokers.  The Lodge is located in a big strip center alongside a grocery store, not a gas station in sight.  What's up with that!?  

Verdict- don't go, don't think about going, and if this is Carolina BBQ, turn west and drive 479 miles.  r


kellymeghan said...

Judging from the facade I can't believe that you even went there. It looks like it used to be a Dollar General.

Paul said...

Haha! You should see Smitty's and Black's in Lockhart TX are my standards, but look real bad. The best places are usually under sun shades next to gas stations while serenaded by the aria of Deliverance. We only get that adventuresome for BBQ!

But alas, the charm and character I write of was missing from BBQ Lodge, as was the soul of BBQ. You are perspicacious!