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Restaurants & Bars 5

[PDX] Beale St NW BBQ

extramsg | Feb 11, 200503:46 AM

Heard about a new place out on Sandy and about 107th. It's a BBQ and Blues Cafe. Inside they have a stage and it looks like the bar is a major part of their restaurant. They have a pretty large smoking section it looks like, too.

I went there at about 3, so no one else was there, there was no music or anything. It looks like they have music most nights, though.

Had already eaten a late lunch, but I thought since I was there I might as well see about getting some Q just to taste. They were nice and built me an off-menu sampler platter with brisket, pork ribs, pulled pork, and hot links. It was a huge amount of food and they only charged me $7.50 plus a fifty cent take-out fee.

Nothing was outstanding, but it was all decent enough. I have a feeling the quality was hurt by the time of day. It appeared to have been sitting around a while.

I'd put it in a similar class to Russell Street, although the brisket may have been more smokey. The brisket was very lean and dry, but not tough at all. It'd probably make decent sandwiches. At least the smoke was noticeable. Tasting it later cold out of the refrigerator it had a saltiness that suggested it was brined.

The ribs were small and not especially meaty, but they looked like they might have been better, less dry, straight out of the pit. They were tender and had a bit of bark. Reminded me of Memphis ribs.

I've never been to the Carolinas so I don't know how qualified I am to judge pulled pork, but it seemed okay. It was tender, not mushy, and there were some crusty bits here and there.

The sausage was a little mushy, however, and tasted like grocery store summer sausage that had been "kicked up a notch" with cayenne. Like everything else, edible, but nothing special.

They gave three sauces on the side, a sweet, a hot, and a tangy. The hot tasted too strongly of liquid smoke and the sweet was too sweet for me. The tangy, which seemed to have a mustard base, was maybe a tiny bit sweet, but my favorite of the three.

There are some other meat options, like BBQ chicken and BBQ meatloaf. Plus sandwiches, sides, etc. They bill themselves as a family restaurant, although I think they're more of an adult place. The people seemed nice and it's not bad food. I'd probably go with a sandwich to cover up the inadequacies of the meat, but I'd like to try that BBQ meatloaf. With live entertainment, it might be worthwhile. And it's the only BBQ in the area. Closest competitors are Cannon's, Campbell's, and Buster's in Gresham. Each of those is probably a 10 minute drive or more.

The obvious answer to the obvious question: it's no LOW BBQ. But then, LOW is only open one day a week. I'd have to go back during a busy time to see where it truly ranks with the lesser BBQ places in Portland. I don't think it'll be up with Campbell's, but it may do okay against some of the others.



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