Our Man Sietsema has been following Anita Lo through the good—Mirezi and Annisa—and the bad—Rickshaw Dumpling Bar (serving dumplings that Our Man finds truly sub-par). Now she’s opened an Asian barbecue place, Bar Q, and Our Man sets out to review it with a mixture of excitement and trepidatioin.
And…he’s not in love. But here’s some good news:
“Stuffed” spareribs ($29) hunker in a lake of chunky peanut sauce, a boneless mass of composed meat that might be mistaken as a model for a Henry Moore sculpture. It’s delicious, though the sauce is superfluous. Equally mouth-worthy is a tuna rib appetizer ($15) – a pile of long fragile bones barely coated with tasty gray meat, black striped from the grill. If you’ve never tasted tuna ribs before, it’s probably because other chefs throw them away.
But things don’t go well from there. The baby back ribs with “my mother’s barbecue sauce” don’t hold up under Our Man’s scrutiny, seeming to have been “dumped out of a white carton from the local Chinese carryout.” Youch.
Sounds like a case of a few good dishes, a bunch of middling ones and some disasterous. A big, fat “meh.” In the end, Our Man damns with faint praise:
The popularity of American-style barbecue spots seems to be spawning all sorts Franken-cues. If Bar Q is the last big-ticket “Asian barbecue” we’ll be seeing this season, I’ll be surprised. Certainly, it won’t be the worst.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on May 21, 2008