Friday, February 25, 2011

Restaurant Review: Mr. BBQ: Maplewood at 694 & White Bear Avenue

mr bbq

Many months ago I saw some indications that a location that had previously been a computer repair place and a "Fazoli's" was going to open as a "Mr. BBQ." This outfit also has a location in Columbia Heights, Minnesota. Based upon the announcements at the location, there were several delays in the opening of this expansion store. I even called and asked the Columbia Heights location to as when the White Bear Lake location was finally going to open. The date that it actually did open was past what I was told. Even so, it's always good to see a new business where there previously was an empty building.

In order to have an even measure against which I could gauge my experience, I ordered pork ribs for my meal. I have previously written about ribs in the Twin Cities on this blog. I do not receive any renumeration from any place I eat, and my opinions are my own. That said, I am respected among my friends for my opinions on food and restaurants in the Twin Cities, especially ribs.

I arrived at Mr. BBQ in Maplewood on February 24, 2011. I ordered the half-rack of St. Louis Pork Ribs. These ribs were about the same cost as those at Ted Cooks Barbeque in Minneapolis. I never expect perfect ambiance at a good rib place - Ted Cooks has no place to eat there at all - it's all takeout. Everything is relative. At Mr. BBQ, there was a dining room that was clean and sparsely supplied. It was winter and physically cold - global warming had yet to put its sweltering grip on this restaurant.

The rib meal I ordered and received was the half-rack of pork ribs with macaroni & cheese and corn on the cob. Neither of the sides was fantastic. The macaroni & cheese was overcooked and bland, and the corn on the cob was not offered with any butter or salt and pepper. It was merely boiled. There was no salt and pepper offer in shakers at the tables, only small packets offered at the pop machine.

The meat of the ribs was of decent quality, however, there was no "smoke ring" that one expects with ribs of this cost. That is, these ribs had not been smoked, they had been prepared with some combination of baking and grilling. They were not bad, but they were not prepared in the best way such ribs could have been prepared.

The sauce that was offered was a dark and sugary sauce reminiscent of KC Masterpiece. There are people among whom this type of sauce is popular, and this one was well done, but I prefer a thinner, more vinegary sauce.

Mr. BBQ had many other types of food that it offered, including the special mentioned on the sign above. I did not have the opportunity to sample these dishes. I will try Mr. BBQ again at a later date. One great thing about Minnesota is all of the fantastic effort that is put into BBQ in this state. I have not eaten any BBQ in the south that compares with that of Minnesota.

If I were to give some tips to Mr. BBQ, I would tell them to make sliced JoJo Potatoes, create their own decent sauce, and to deep fry their frozen corn cobs for a special treat for their guests.

Overall, I give Mr. BBQ a B- for its BBQ efforts. They are appreciated and I hope to see greater things in the future from MR. BBQ.