Archive for August, 2013

Local Review: Bitterroot

Sadly, I’m the guy who is the last to know about things. New to me usually includes anything that’s happened within the past 10 years (I’ll eventually “Tweet” these “Blog” posts), with one exception: New barbecue restaurants.  And so, I went to Bitterroot in Ballard.

Which isn’t all that new, either.

Bitterroot is definitely a hipster’s version of a barbecue, with an atmosphere that could just as easily be an herbal ice cream and champagne cafe as it is a place for greasy pulled pork. This also explains the whiskey menu.  (At some point, I’m going to have to give whiskey another chance.)

Clearly, one needs to order extra honey butter at Bitterroot. I mean really, only one gigantic ball of the stuff?

Clearly, one needs to order extra honey butter at Bitterroot. I mean really, only one gigantic ball of the stuff?

We started out with corn bread with a golf ball sized glob of honey butter on top.  I’d describe this as a very, very good version of corn bread that I don’t particular care for.

I’d say there are really two camps for corn bread: Those who prefer the crispy, cast-iron skillet version of cornbread, with a crunchy shell, and no sweetness.  These folks, I gather, consider themselves traditionalists. Then there are those who prefer a softer, sweeter version, with a lot more moisture in it.  This, I gather, is how chumps prefer cornbread … but it’s what I prefer.

Then the waitress recommended the brisket, which surprised me because the ribs looked amazing. But I’ve learned my lesson enough times (remember Peckinpah? Dinosaur?) that if the wait staff tells you to get something, get it.

The brisket was also very, very good. Tender, great flavor, and I love that it just came in strips, unadorned. No buns, no goopy sauce, no shards of chewy meat.  Just prime, thick slices of brisket, with some beans and corn on the cob on the side.  I’m trying to remember if I’ve had better brisket in Seattle, besides my own of course… and it’s not coming to me.

(BTW: The beans were essentially floating in molasses soup. For folks with a sweet tooth, like me, this is good news. But I know that other people would find it a bit too far from traditional baked beans).

All that said, as good as the brisket was, I admit, I kept looking at the next table thinking I should have ordered the ribs.   So, clearly, I’m just going to have to go back.

One last thing. They don’t take reservations, and by 6:30 there were people waiting to get in. And this was a Thursday.  So, if you’re going to go, you might think about an early dinner.  Unless you’re just going for the herbal whiskey ice cream and a beard trimming.


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