We were three at Barque last night. None of us will return.
We wanted to like this place. We understood that one of the owner/cooks had actually spent half a year studying and learning barbecue in the southern United States. This sounded promising.
The problem, it seems, is that Barque is already cutting corners. They are trying to speed up production. They are not doing things "low" or "slow" enough. Surely, they are deviating from what they must have learned stateside. Ironically, none of the food had the trademark "bark" that we were rightly expecting.
Baby back ribs, had clumps of rub falling off it. Now, mind you, the rub itself was delicious. But most people don't want to eat it in mounds. Rather, it should be applied early and allowed to meld into the meat. The ribs we had were not penetrated by the rub. The rub just fell off. Their rub, I think, is very good and would have worked well if given the chance. Smoke penetration was there, but not as deep as I prefer. It was almost superficial. But it was there, and there was some resultant deliciousness. But, for the most part, the ribs were a big let down.
Their smoked chicken wings were the highlight. Very delicious. Properly smoked. (It takes less time properly smoke a chicken wing, due to its smaller size). It's too bad they don't have the patience to smoke bigger pieces of food.
Breaded chicken tenders were dry. And, they were not all tenders, per se, but strips of breast meat, as noted by my dining companion who worked in the chicken business.
Brisket and beef rib were mediocre. Again, they would have been better if the kitchen didn't rush to prepare them. These are very fatty pieces of meat, that require low and slow cooking, in part to render off some of the solid fat. But, they apparently didn't do that. So, both of these items had large globules of solid white fat throughout.
On the positive side, they start you out with complimentary carbonated water. A nice touch, I thought.
Barque is still better than 95% of the ribs in this town. So, I think a lot of people will like it. The place was busy. But, they are not living up to their name.
I hear Buster Rhino's is coming to Toronto. I am looking forward to trying their stuff.
2001 Thickson Rd S, Whitby, ON L1N, CA