Monday, March 5, 2012

Too Much Sugar, Not Enough Smoke - Neely's

The Neely's Bar-B-Que on Jefferson was packed with a couple of buses worth of tourists the last time I tried to visit so I ended up at the Bar-B-Q Shop nearby. When I returned today the restaurant was fairly empty, although a bus did pull up as I was leaving so it seems to be a popular stop with tour bus drivers. That isn't surprising since the restaurant is conveniently close to Downtown, has room for buses to park on the street and is known throughout the world thanks to the Down Home With the Neely’s TV show on Food Network. 

I had the pulled pork when I visited the Neely's on Mt. Moriah, so I went for the ribs this time. I've noticed a lot of the more well-known barbecue restaurants charging nearly $16 for a half-slab dinner, so I was happy to see that Neely's only charges $12.99 for the meal. The ribs had a perfectly charred crust surrounding a succulent interior. But, like I noted with the pulled pork at the other location, the ribs were also lacking in smoke flavor. They were the opposite of the ribs I tried last week at Corky's, which were packed with smoke flavor but had an overcooked exterior. The ribs at Neely's were extremely juicy, but the taste was entirely dominated by the paprika in the dry rub.

There is another portion of ribs underneath that one, so it is more than it looks like.

Also, while I complimented the spicy beans and mustardy slaw at the Mt. Moriah Neely's, whoever seasoned the sides at the Jefferson store seems to be a fan of sugar and more sugar. The beans and sauce where both overly sweet. At least the sweetness of the sauce was balanced with a bit vinegar bite, but I still ended up using very little of it on my meat. The cole slaw actually tasted like candy. Even the texture of it was dominated by granulated sugar. I didn't eat all of it and I still wasn't surprised to see my blood sugar at 136 an hour after the meal despite avoiding the roll included with the meal and drinking water. There is a Neely's "sweet and spicy" cole slaw recipe on the Food Network website that calls for a full cup of sugar per half-cup of mayonnaise. I think the slaw I had today used something close to that ratio with none of the cayenne, mustard and black pepper mentioned in the recipe.

The restaurant also had some of the most inattentive service I've encountered at a barbecue place. I waited with a couple other customers for several minutes at an empty hostess stand before being taken to a seat. And I spent the majority of my meal with an empty water glass while recently-seat patrons nearby were glancing around with an "are we ever going to get a server?" expression. I finally got a refill on my water at the same time as my check. This may seem like petty nit-picking, but ribs that are liberally dusted with paprika aren't something you want to eat with no drink. It made me glad that I went ahead and bailed out on my previous visit when I saw the tour buses outside and the wait to be seated.

Since it was such a nice day, after my meal I walked one block north to the Victorian Village to do some sightseeing around the 19th-Century mansions. If you visit Neely's during the day, make it a point to do the same, even if you don't have time to actually tour any of the supposedly haunted houses. Or if it is later in the evening and you are wanting to relax with some after-dinner drinks in an upscale atmosphere, swing by the Mollie Fontaine Lounge located in one the Victorian Village's historic homes (tucked away on the opposite side of the street from the pictured mansions).

Neely's Bar-B-Que on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

  1. sounds s#!t wont be going there thats for sure