Last Sunday, two friends and I went to the annual barbecue at Lucques to celebrate a birthday. It was good, but it didn't quite "meat" my expectations.
As soon as I walked in the door, two things were readily apparent: the employees were all wearing cowboy outfits, and the restaurant was only about half full. I'm a fan of whimsy and privacy, so these were positives.
We sat down and ordered a round of drinks. One of the "specials of the day" was the Ginger Peach, a martini, so two of us ordered that. Although the other drinks were well made, the Ginger Peach was almost undrinkable. It was too strong and had no ginger or peach flavor. Although some might like it, it doesn't have the general appeal necessary to be a suitable special.
We each ordered the barbecue supper and didn't have to wait long at all to start receiving food. The sides were cole slaw, beans, collard greens, watermelon salad, white bread, and corn bread. The cole slaw, beans, and collard greens were all better than average, but not of the quality one might find in a top barbecue joint. I enjoyed them all. The cole slaw wasn't goopy or "wet" with mayo, and the beans were subtle and not overpowering. The collard greens tasted heavy with all the pork fat, so I didn't have more than one bite even though I enjoyed it. The best side by far was the watermelon salad. It was sweet and refreshing, and there was an additional bouquet of flavors that no one at the table could place. The big disappointment was the corn bread. It was horrible. I love cornbread, so I was excited when our waiter brought it to the table. However, it was grilled, and therefore lost all its moisture. Who grills cornbread? It was dry as a brick! It also lacked sweetness. I put the cornbread away after a single bite.
The meat was tasty. We had lamb ribs, St. Louis style pork ribs, and beef ribs. lamb and beef ribs were tender and delicious. I didn't care for the pork ribs because I don't like dry ribs.
The dessert was merely average. It was a pecan tort with a dollop of whipped cream and maple ice cream. We all loved the maple ice cream, but there wasn't much of it. The flavor of the tort was also good, sweet and nutty, but it was harder than I would have liked. Unlike a pecan pie, the tort didn't have a soft layer of pecan goo. It was therefore hard to cut and chew.
The service was lackluster. Although the meal was all-you-can-eat, we had empty glasses and plates full of bones and had a hard time flagging down the servers. The napkin situation was also a nightmare. We each had ONE cloth napkin for an entire barbecue dinner!!
I had a good time with my friends and enjoyed the meal, but I won't go back for the barbecue.