Bar Q – Good Beer, But The Food Can Be Improved
It seems that one of the unwritten rules of the blogosphere is that everybody tends to share positive experiences, and for everything else – well, that is what critics are for. Yes, we rant from time to time, but more to discuss a general problem, and not for any particular reason. Thinking about it, having a true picture is important. If someone provides mediocre product or service, we often just “vote with our feet” – instead, providing some criticism could be the best thing to do, as this is the only way for someone to find out that improvements are needed. As you already got my point, this post is about experience which could’ve being better.
We went to the Bar Q BBQ & Grill in Stamford during the restaurant week (a couple of weeks ago). This was our second visit – we were there last year at about the same time (also during the restaurant week), and we had a very tasty experience, so we were very much looking forward to visiting the restaurant again.
As you can guess from the name, Bar Q is focused on serving the American barbecue. Their wine list is very limited, but the draft beer selection is excellent (and the beer is more appropriate for the BBQ anyway). Also, the menu offers to create a beer tasting flight – 3 oz of beer, 4 beers in the flight, all for $9.
Our flight included Allagash White, Belgian style wheat ale – perfectly refreshing, Goose Island 312 Urban Wheat – had a bit more weight compare to Allagash, still quite refreshing, Woodchuck Amber Draft Cider – very dangerous to have in the presence of kids, as in appearance it is not any different than Ginger Ale – light, fizzy taste with some sweet notes – perfectly quaffable. The last beer was Blue Point Toasted Lager, which is in the category of so called Red Lager – it had some bitter notes, medium weight on the palate – quite enjoyable as well.
So the beer flight was great, the service was also very good – friendly and prompt, but the food – not so much, unfortunately.
We always like to try different things, so we ordered 4 different appetizers.
Out of Truck Stop Queso Dip, Pig in a Blanket, Chipotle Meat Sliders and Potato Pig Skins, only Queso Dip was tasty, and the sliders were okay. The potato skins were mushy and had no taste, and the pig in the blanket was a tasting disaster.
Our “main course”, a variety of BBQ items, was not great either.
We took pretty much everything from the BBQ “small plates” menu which was not a poultry – St. Louis Cut Sticky Ribs, Classic Pulled Pork, Sliced Beef Brisket, Beef Burnt Ends, House Smoked Kielbasa Sausage, Grilled BBQ Shrimp, Smoked Pork Belly and Memphis Dry Rubbed Baby Back Ribs. Most of the dishes were okay, but none of them was at the “wow” level. “Burnt ends” dish was a disappointment by comparison – last year we couldn’t get enough of it – it was so flavorful and delicious. This time, it was only “well, okay”. And the smoked pork belly was a disaster – a blob of dribbling fat, smothered in the BBQ sauce. Yes, it was cooked, but the piece itself was such that in my opinion it should be never served in the restaurant as a dish (may be only used as a cooking fat). The sides dishes were [unfortunately] the best part of the meal.
To conclude, I wouldn’t put this as a “terrible experience” – it was an okay food experience, and drinks and service were excellent. But the problem is, this restaurant is no longer on my “I would love to do it again” list. No, I’m not asking for an absolute perfection – but, there should be at least one “wow” moment, an anchor which will pull us back – and this time around, Bar Q clearly didn’t have one. I hope it might be different in a future, and I will be glad to give Bar Q another try – but someone will have to convince me that it is well worth it.
Bar Q BBQ & Grill
261 Main St. (Behind Black Bear)
Stamford, CT 06901