Babb Bros. BBQ and Blues: Going a Bridge too far for Brisket

Where does this bridge even go? Why does it have so many names? Is this how I get on the bridge? Why is it so fancy while being a portal to the middle of nowhere? What the hell is the speed limit? Is this a freeway, or a bridge?

These are just some of the important questions that I was tackling as I was driving across the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge toward the new Babb Bros. BBQ and Blues, whose official location is "over that bridge thing." Upon overcoming my apparent fear of bridges (the fancier the structure, the more fearful I get), I find it is impossible to miss Babb Bros., which is a beautiful and expansive building in the middle of very few other buildings. It was a cold, damp, Sunday night in January, which would not only explain why the restaurant was largely empty, it would be a good start to a very clichéd book I hope to one day write.

Upon entering the excellent lining-up-for-food-room-thing (I have decided to call it the lineatorium), I ummed and ahhed for a long time over what to get, as they've got a pretty big menu, with a specialty you don't see much around these parts. That delight is smoked meatloaf, so I got a half pound of that ($5.75), and then a three-meat plate of brisket, ribs, and sausage ($11.50), to share between us all, with a wide array of sides. The way the sides are presented makes them look so appealing that the wife just had to get extra. I am all for it, as that way there is more meat for me. As an aside, it has come to my attention that some people, not least the Observer staff, think my wife's actual name is Richard, and that's a British thing. What do you think we do over there? Just name whatever gender whatever name we feel like? Maybe that's how they do things in some of your more backwards states, but in Britain we very firmly stick to the name gender divide (apart from, for some reason, the names Hillary and Kim). Her name is not Richard. That is a nickname arising from my first BBQ blog. I mean, if you're not going to read it ...

Anyway, through to the impressively decorated dining area, guitars all over the walls, Jimi Hendrix on the stereo, I'm perfectly happy with this place. Also, their barbecue sauce is fabulously sweet, spicy, and complex. I really liked it. I would cover many items in it. The sides were much of a muchness, according to the family members. The meat, though. The ribs are alright -- meat cooked well, but relatively flavorless. The sausage is pretty good, nicer taste, without much of a snap. The meatloaf is a strange experience at first, but once you get used to it, it's really quite delicious. The unexpected part about it, at least for me, was the smoked cheese inside it. It took me a long while to get my head around it, but once you really concentrate, it makes sense. I've never had to think that hard about liking food before. It was a huge chunk of smoked meat, so I really wanted to like it, and made the extra effort, and now I can tell you that I do indeed like it. You're welcome. I guess that makes it complex? I don't know. I'm not a food reviewer.

The brisket's a quandary, though. It's all moist, and looks and feels like good brisket, but it doesn't really taste smoky at all, apart from on the very outside. The center just tastes like moist beef, really. It's like they boiled it. And while that has its appeal, it's a bit disappointing from a restaurant that smells so strongly of smoke. I'm sure it'll pick up, but you might want to just go and sample the meatloaf until it does.

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