[dropcap]T[/dropcap]here is never a wrong time for barbecue, says the girl whose family smokes slabs of baby back ribs on the grill every New Years’ Day. If you agree, head on down to Memphis BBQ, which opens December 1 and offers hearty hickory-smoked barbecue guaranteed to keep you warm this winter.
There is certainly nothing cold about the decor either, with bold red walls and photos of musical legends that create a lively aesthetic with the simple cherry-wood furniture and exposed brick.
From the laid-back atmosphere to the sizable meal portions, every element of the restaurant is a reflection of charming southern hospitality.
Speaking of the meal portions, I opted for a mixed greens with roasted tomatoes and panko-crusted goat cheese since I knew the baby back ribs coming out next would require some stomach-room. The goat cheese was a light and sophisticated take on fried mozzarella, which added texture to the salad and delighted the big kid in me.
The ribs were lightly basted with the epitome of a Memphis-style barbecue sauce–sweet, tangy and finger-licking good. Though they didn’t quite fall of the bone, the smoky tenderness distracted me from how many ribs I finished…which was a lot.
No real barbecue is complete without some down-home sides. Must-tries are the smooth mashed potatoes or the perfectly dressed coleslaw, freshly made with crisp cabbage. I also snagged bites of barbecue pork egg rolls and blackened prime rib, both very tasty and guaranteed to be popular menu items.
I about died when I ate a warm, gooey blondie brownie topped with crack that is Blue Bell vanilla ice cream. This is my ultimate dessert. It’s a good thing I don’t live in Crystal City. If I did, I would eat this everyday.
Like every new restaurant, Memphis BBQ has yet to find its footing, but has all the right ingredients to become a dining hot spot in Crystal City. Once they fine tune a few things, Jaleo (located across the street) had better watch out, because who doesn’t love the comfort of authentic barbecue? I sure do, which is why I’ll be renewing my gym membership next month.
320 23rd Street S.
Arlington, VA 22227