Monday, October 13, 2008

Let's Not Let the Whole City of Atlanta Know

Since my place of employment has recently moved, we are now within five miles of two barbecue establishments. One being Atlanta Ribs. It is located on Highlands Camp Parkway, which is right off the east-west connector in Smyrna. It resides in a small strip mall, along with a bike shop, smoothie store, and a few other businesses. On this trip Scott did not go with me. If he had, he would have kicked me. Luckily I talked the lovely Stephanie into coming along.
Anyways, it's been there for under two years, and it looks like it. Still somewhat clean, somewhat ordered out of a catalog, and somewhat scary. Not scary like "I'm going to be shot!", but scary like, "This is a flooring store or a nouvelle-fusion-chain restaurant and not a BBQ joint." They do not have a line of sight into the kitchen or a visual of where the actual cookers or pits are located. Instead you are shown pictures of what the food supposed to look like. Very disconcerting. The menu is large right behind the cashier, who is ready to take you order and give you a number on a stick. The menu is not that confusing & it does have nice descriptions of what you will be getting.
I step up to the mike and give the attendant the order: pork plate with Brunswick stew and french fries. I get my number and find a seat in their dining room. Again, dining room...? .It looks like it was ordered from dining roomstogo or Ikea or the budget haverty's for kids. Light woods, hanging lamps; someone paid for cheap art direction or designer. OK, OK, all places have to start somewhere and someplace. Maybe it will get seasoned over the next several years...we'll see. But we're not here to talk about interior design, we're here about mouth-watering good BBQ, that only heart attacks dream about!
After a very short wait, maybe 4 minutes 30 seconds (or what ever a good microwave time would be), they bring out the stuff. Looks very clean. A great mound of pulled pork, small dish of stew, and a massive amount of crinkle-cut french fries. I love crinkle-cut fries. The fries are very good. They do put some type of season mixture on them, but if you drag them through ketchup, then it nullifies the seasoned salt. The stew is okay. It does have all the ingredients you want, pork/chicken, corn, tomato, etc. It lacks something. It doesn't have the tangy-ness like most good Brunswick stews have. It is chunky and you can actually see the ingredients. It is not a blended mess. The pile of pork is tender, thick, and pulled. They cook it and give it to you, then you put their sauce on it. On the table have a regular sauce and a spicy sauce, as well as store bought hot sauce and pepper vinegar sauce. The sauces are heavy on sugar; brown sugar and ketchup. It gums up any sense of tastes of the meat and suffocates any other flavors from the rest of the food. Use it sparingly. I got Stephanie to make me a drink, a sweet/un-sweet half & half mixture. And from I could tell, one half was corn syrup and the other half was sweet tea. Unfortunately the corn syrup sweetened tea along with the heavily sugared BBQ sauce sent my taste buds into a diabetic coma, unable to be re-awakened. Needless to say, I felt like I had to finish the meal, but even with my fat body trying to do it's job, I had to quit eating. And Stephanie kicked me.
With a name like Atlanta Ribs, you're putting the whole city on the line. Hopefully the rest of Atlanta doesn't know about it and will not come with torches & pitchforks. You would hope that the smell of smoking ribs and barbecuing meats would extend all throughout the city, but you cannot even tell they are a BBQ establishment at all. You can be driving by a paper mill, and smell a BBQ joint. When you're on the road to no-where going through Smyrna and you smell nothing and you see a BBQ sign...just keep on moving. Unless you want to a basket of french fries.
BBQ Sauces = D-
Pork = B-
Brunswick Stew = C
Fries = B
Corn Syrup with Tea flavoring = D-