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!