I'm a little slow today. I just switched to Sanka. So...have a heart?

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Q American Barbecue

So, in reading the Evening Sift at South Florida Daily Blog, I remembered I hadn't written my scathing review of Q American Barbecue, which opened at 4029 N Miami Ave., Miami, FL 33137; although, I doubt you'll need the address until they iron out their kinks. It's gonna be a while.


Friday Night, March 5, 2010. I'm bored and hungry, having just finished acupuncture. I call Gaël who had just eaten a veggie-burger, but gaëmly (ha!) agrees to come with me to Q.

Q is where Sheba, the Ethiopian restaurant, used to be, just north of the Design District's main drag. They have $3.00 valet. I didn't use it, because the meters across the street were free, and unlike other people, I actually hope my Mercedes will be stolen - then I can get that ill-advised Jeep Wrangler I've been pining for... but that's a different post for a different day.

We enter the restaurant, which seems to have been nicely re-done. I couldn't really tell because it was packed. No joke. Completely full. And the best part? ALL JEWS! I guarantee on the face of the Earth, there never were, nor will there ever be more Jews in a room eating pork on Shabbos, than there were at Q last Friday. Baruch atah to that!

As we sat down, the hungry Jews next to us were having an exasperated exchange with the waiter (who I would come to find was an idiot) regarding the long-overdue-and-still-pending arrival of their cornbread. "They're mean," I thought on hearing the exchange - I changed that opinion in the ensuing hour. They weren't mean. They were HUNGRY. And FRUSTRATED...(After seeing what others thought of Q, I think the hungry Jews might have been fellow Blogger Frodnesor and his family (See, the March 6 entry under the Link).

I ran into my friend Liza and her family, together with another family of Miami Beachians and went over to say, "Hi!" and get the scoop on the food.

Such a burst of negativity, I heard! The table sprang to life with eleven mouths eager to voice their opinions, most of them uncomplimentary: "They're out of every beer!" "The chicken was terrible!" "Run!" "Brisket is awful!" "Get out while you can!" "The sauce gave me bursitis!" "Never coming here again!"

22 eyes gleamed bright with the delight that floods into eyes, while recounting just how unpalatable a meal was.

My friend Mike offered the following, "You have to get the Baby Back ribs." Liza's attempt to spin the positive was, "The French Fries taste like McDonald's!" Good ole' Liza!

After proclaiming that I had to make my own mistakes (a meal should never start with that proclamation) I took my leave and sat down.

I was the only person ordering, as Gaël had already eaten. But she relented and ate a glass of wine.

The menu is barbecue.

So, they have barbecue things. If I were ever to go back, I would try the Sliders, because they have a sampler that looks pretty tasty.

I got a Kentucky Lemonade (bourbon and Lemonade). Their cocktail selection seems based on a three-bourbon blend. Everything is made with a mix of three bourbons and...something else, such as: Lemonade for the Kentucky Lemonade, Vermouth and a Cherry for the Qhattan, etc.

I also got a pulled pork on Texas Toast, that came with cornbread, coleslaw, pickles and beans. I also got an order of deviled eggs for us to snack on.

The waiter writes nothing down.

::ominous music::

We asked him for some cornbread, and for the sauces that were on every other table, except ours.

The waiter told us the computers were down and the kitchen was backed up, so to please be patient. Okay. No biggie. I've worked in restaurants before, so I know how it goes.

The waiter disappears.


Time drags.

Frodnesor and his family get plate after plate of mouth-watering-looking food. I wonder aloud what would happen if I just reached over and ganked a fistful of their food... I look at Gaël, who has turned into a dancing, smiling, steaming drumstick.

The waiter reappears, bringing Gaël her wine, and me a tallllll glass of... Lemonade. I take a sip, and flag him back down.

"Uh, I ordered the Kentucky Lemonade, and there's no booze in this."

With a face like I just asked a question in Farsi, the waiter takes back my lemonade and disappears.

More minutes drag by.

The waiter reappears and asks me whether I want a side of beans or some coleslaw to go with my order. (At this point, I decide I'm gonna take this in alllll stride, because I see where the night's going.) I tell him it came with all of the above. He disagrees. I ask him to see a menu, and also where the hell my effing booze is.

Behind me, a band starts to set up on a stage... in a restaurant. At 9:30 at night.

The waiter comes back, contrite, that yes, my meal comes with all of the above, and that he's sorry, but that the bar is out of boozy lemonade, and would I like a glass of Lemonade?

I tell the waiter that I just returned a lemonade to him, and ask him what other cocktails he has. He doesn't know. (The restaurant has FOUR cocktails. I can tell you what they are right now: Mint Julep, Kentucky Lemonade, QHattan and a New-Fashioned.)

He disappears.

He reappears with... a Kentucky Lemonade! "Weren't they just out of that," Gaël muses.

Still no cornbread or sauces.

It's been 35 minutes since we sat down.

I take matters into my own hands and steal sauces off a neighboring table, convinced we've made a terrible mistake.

Deviled eggs appear. We ask the Waiter for silverware. He brings one set. We ask him for another set.

Eventually cornbread appears. It's cold. No butter. But we have sauces! So I eat my cornbread with molassesey sauce.

The deviled eggs were... tasty.

My dinner comes. It's... small. Not the bountiful plate-exceeding, gut-bustin' goodness that one finds at Shorty's... Everything - the three pickle slices, the mini-ramekin of beans, the scoop of coleslaw, and the slice of bread with pulled pork on it... fits in a medium-sized au-gratin dish.


And the band begins to play.

Gaël and I give up talking to each other over the band, and instead have a conversation with text messages and Emojis. I really like the smiling pile of poop, and the fart Emoji. Because I'm 12. Checks start flying as people scramble to finish their meals, AS FAST AS THEY CAN. The band was good... but better suited for for Tobacco road than... um... DINNER.

I wolf down the rest of my meal, which isn't terribly difficult given its size, and get the check. The food was decent. But you can't really screw up a pulled pork sandwich and beans.

I think I spent like $42.00 on two drinks some eggs and a pulled pork plate. Not terrible... I tipped 20% because I felt bad. I was sure the waiter's average tip that night night must have hovered around an insulting 11%...

Will I go back? I'm gonna let them iron out some kinks, and then re-visit. There are a lot of new barbecue places I have to try, and I've got to get to Smoket before I subject myself to the maddening experience that was Q.

I have a feeling the next time I go on a Friday night, the crowd will be a lot more Gentile... just because us Jews love complaining about a bad meal, doesn't mean we want a repeat performance... There are so many other restaurants to try... and complain about.

I think maybe I need to start going to places when they're not so brand-spankin' new. But I'm always just so excited!


Anonymous djkmia said...

Thank you!! I went there last week with friends for the 1st time as well. Pretty quiet night. The best thing about the place was the musical duo playing.

They also were out of the first 3 beverages I asked for. My friend's brisket came and I am not lying that 2 of the pieces where 95% fat. I was very very disappointed with the pulled pork. My wife had spareribs and they were the best thing on the table.

Imagine, Jonathan Eismann has 4 restaurants within a couple blocks of each other and they were out of so much. Were they out of that stuff at all the restaurants? Is Eismann in over his head with so much going on or maybe is it just new restaurant kinks?

I don't know but there is work to be done.

6:14 AM

Blogger SuperBee said...

It should be noted that DJKMIA had a follow-up comment... it just got placed, for some reason, in the post immediately preceding this one. Thanks, Blogger.

I really want the place to be good, so, like I said, I'll wait to go back. But yeah. Being out of... bourbon lemonade? How hard is that? Bourbon + Lemonade.

7:25 AM

Blogger Frodnesor said...

First - it's very weird to read about yourself in someone else's blog; but yeah, that sounds like it must have been us.

The place was a complete zoo that Friday night and they clearly weren't quite ready for such a packed house. We waited a long time for our food but when it finally arrived I was pretty pleased with it.

Agree they should save the live music for later in the evening; forget it starting up at 9:30, it was the buzzing speakers starting around an hour earlier that I found less than appetizing.

I'm always hesitant to form too strong an opinion from a first-week-open experience, but they do have some work to do if they're going to be getting crowds of that size regularly. But if they get their act together it ought to be a nice addition to the Design District, which could use places to hang out rather than just have a meal.

By the way, if you're ever hungry, never hesitate to reach a fork across the table; I don't mind sharing.

7:27 AM

Blogger SuperBee said...

I'm sure it's really disconcerting to read about yourself in someone else's blog... I debated even whether to link to it, or mention you, but it was such an odd coincidence that I figured it bore (bear..ded?) mentioning.

Again, I like barbecue. And I like the Design District (Wynwood, actually, but whatevs.) and I want these places to do well... So, we'll see. For being open a week or so, they had a fantastic crowd in there - as you state, they just have to learn how to handle it better.

8:55 AM

Blogger EAT said...

Funny, funny!
I went to the opening and since I am the most aggressive person around free food imaginable, I scored a rib and a pulled pork slider. The rib put me to sleep, but you're right, the pulled pork was worth eating. I've had gross pulled pork before though. The sauce at Q is vinegar based, but I prefer regular old bbq. I'm going to wait to go back.

2:13 PM

Blogger SuperBee said...

I don't know, EAT... I'm pretty aggressive around free food (I'm an effing disaster at the Wine and Food Festival. See also, my totally cutting old ladies off at the shumai station a couple weeks ago at a wedding at the Manalapan Ritz.)

I think I'd probably push you down and bust your glasses if we got in a fight over the last free chicken satay skewer...in the friendliest and most loving way possible, of course. ; )

Hint: At weddings, stand by the kitchen door during Cocktail Hour, to gank apps as they're fresh and you have less competition!

2:28 PM

Blogger Rootietoot said...

ONe of these days I'm coming to Miami. I'm going to attach myself to your hip pocket and make you take me places just to I can see a room full of Jews eating pork on Shabbos. Plus I want all your friend to see you with a middle aged Southern White Woman so they can point and laugh.

3:37 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was misquoted...if you are forced to go the Q (which is the only way I would go back), get the spare ribs (and french fries). I definitely do not endorse the baby back ribs...they were gross.

- Mike

8:40 AM

Blogger SuperBee said...

RT - Name the date.

Mike - Oh Noes! I'm sorry I misquoted! Mike recommended SPARE RIBS, everyone, not babyback. SPARE.

9:00 AM

Anonymous AdvisorGirl said...

Dear SuperBee,

All the young Jews
Carry the news
Boogaloo Jews
Carry the news...

LOVE this review. Love you. Madly.

True story:

AdvisorBoy and I went to Red Light long ago and saw a hungry Jewish family of 4 gobbling goodies and I got all excited and hissed in his ear, "HEY! That's the FRO family!"

To which he replied blankly, "As in AFRO?"

And I told him the DEEP background of this mythical internet foodie guy who includes his children in upscale meals and cites their reactions in online reviews...

I'm impressed that these younglings eat WAY better than I do. Considered asking to be adopted as a Fro at some point but that's just not meant to be.

Anyway - love that your Q review includes a certified Fro sighting as it sort of equates to catching a glimpse of a Foodie-Unicorn!

Thanks for the heads up on Q. I am putting the KI-Bosh on it and SmokT is definitely not for me either.

Great writing!


9:18 AM

Blogger Frodnesor said...

SuperBee - no worries, it's funny to see the same night through a different lens where I'm part of the picture.

AG - as I told SuperBee, you're always free to reach a fork across the table, but adoption might be taking it too far. These kids are getting too expensive to feed as it is, I can't take on any more!

10:22 PM

Blogger Colin said...

"Ate a glass of wine" is the clear highlight of this review. I totally LOL-ed.

12:02 PM

Blogger Colin said...

And as excited as you get, you shouldn't go to a restaurant within the first 2-3 weeks of its opening. They have stupid problems like running out of napkins.

12:04 PM

Blogger SuperBee said...

Colin - I was pretty proud of that sentence. :)

Who ran out of NAPKINS?!

2:45 PM

Blogger Colin said...

I was probably being hyperbolic. I might never have experienced a napkin shortage, but I think I made a pretty strong point about not going to a newly-opened restaurant.

1:40 PM


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