Since I think of every meal as an opportunity to eat something great, there are plenty of chances to be disappointed! Depending on my expectations, the range of disappointment varies considerably. So, last night, wonderful husband and I decided to try a new "BBQ" place that had just opened up near our house. Texas Smoke BBQ, in Rockaway (Hibernia, really), features "Texas style" smoked meats. It is strictly takeout, nicely decorated, and obviously new. There was some confusion about what should be in each order, who was refilling the quickly depleting pulled pork, etc, but all very understandable for a new place. We only waited about 10 minutes, so it was pretty quick.
We ordered the meat platter, which includes pulled pork, brisket, chicken, and two ribs. It came with two sides, we chose baked beans and cole slaw. We also ordered a half rack of "St. Louis Cut" ribs, which came with one side. We chose potato salad for that one. Altogether, it was about $30, which was more than I expected, but not ridiculous. We also got to choose our own barbecue sauce from mild, spicy or hot. We got one of each. So, on to the important stuff - the food. The ribs were outstanding. Moist and smoky with a wonderful crusty exterior. I could have eaten a whole rack. The brisket was good, too. Not as moist, but very tasty and smoky. The chicken was okay, nothing really special. The pulled pork was not very good at all - it was greasy, and didn't have much flavor. This surprised me, because pork is pretty easy to do. The sauces were tasty. We agreed that the spicy was the best of the three - not too hot, with lots of flavor. What was really disappointing was the sides! Both the potato salad and the cole slaw were bland, colorless versions with nothing to recommend them. The beans were okay, but certainly didn't make up for the salads. And the servings were pretty small, I think she said 4 ounces each. I realize this is a BBQ joint, not a salad bar, but how hard is it to make (or buy) some decent cole slaw?
They have other stuff on the menu, like sandwiches, chili, and cornbread. If we go back (if they can stay in business), I would definitely get the ribs again, and I would like to try the chili. But I won't be in a big hurry to go back. There are lots of other places to try first! And after being spoiled by the BBQ down in Virginia, I know there's better BBQ out there! But, in case you want to try it, here's the info: Texas Smoke BBQ, 435 Green Pond Road, Rockaway NJ. Their website is www.texassmokebbq.com, where you can find their menu and all the awards they've won. Enjoy!