In another Chow coincidence, not unlike Sue K calling for Don Juan directions minutes after we left Don Juan's, my wife's sister called two nights ago asking about the rib place their dad used to enjoy. She was referring to Gale Street Inn and their father, a life long Chicagoan, enjoyed the Chicago Style Ribs at Gale Street.
We decided to meet at GSI for dinner and since I had been dismissive of GSI's ribs in my response to Sweet Willie I gave the rib/chicken combo another try, last was about a year ago. Before I start bashing GSI's ribs let me say that I like GSI as a restaurant, eat there with my wife every month or two and even have the occasional solo lunch at the very convivial bar. GSI is a nice, friendly, family friendly place with good service, professional waitstaff and a convivial bar. Did I already mention the bar. (smile)
My sister in-law had ribs, loved them and made all the appropriate Chicago native noises while eating them. I quote, "Mummmm, these ribs are so tender you could eat them with a spoon" "These ribs are so good they fall right off the bone" "Love the sauce, it's slightly sweet and really sticks to the ribs"
Here's my problem with Gale Street and, for that matter, Twin Anchors, they are not BBQ ribs. BBQ, in my opinion, does not refer to pork ribs boiled/steamed to within an inch of their lives, slathered with sauce and slapped on a grill/broiler to reheat and caramelize the sauce. Boiling/steaming ribs leaches out flavor, if you want to make pork rib soup, which can be delicious in it's own right, simmer pork ribs. When you boil/steam pork ribs flavor is lost, fall-off-the-bone tenderness is achieved.
Personally I do not understand the fascination with fall-off-the-bone, to me pork ribs treated in this fashion have a mealy/mushy/rib pudding texture that I do not find appealing. In my estimation Gale Street, Twin Anchors, and countless Italian restaurants and pizza take out joints, would be better served calling their ribs Chicago Style Pork Ribs as opposed to BBQ, which I find misleading.
GSI's 'BBQ' chicken was darn good baked chicken that happened to be covered with BBQ sauce, like the ribs there was not a hint of wood smoke, no smoke ring not even the fat in the fire flavor one gets with meat juices and fat dripping on a live fire. Simply juicy baked multipurpose chicken with sauce. By multipurpose chicken I mean if one adds BBQ sauce it's BBQ, olive oil/lemon/oregano it's Greek etc.
I should also that I find Twin Anchors an ok place for a burger or drink, though it's a little crowded in the evening, just not for BBQ Ribs.
And, by the way, I agree with Sweet Willie, and with my original comment, everyone has their own viewpoint, all viewpoints are valid, which is why Baskin Robbins makes 31 flavors of ice cream.
There was a thread on chi.eats a few years ago that covered, and covered, and covered 'What is BBQ'. The thread is 41 posts long and starts with a post by ReneG on Twin Anchors. I will link to the thread.