It's officially summer, and nothing complements the summer months like a generous dose of smoky barbecue.
So, along with a team of tasters, I made my way to Reisterstown's new spot for 'Q, (35 Main Street). It is formerly Micho's Restaurant, an upscale restaurant, bar and lounge with a Mediterranean-influenced menu.
Changing up its menu , the space is still reminiscent of Micho's, a style that is somewhat discordant with the down-home atmosphere in which one would expect to chow down on pulled pork and fries.
But the staff was welcoming and friendly, and the server was attentive. The food took some time, which is to be expected of the kitchen staff of a newly opened restaurant, but once I got my food, my doubts were laid to rest.
Memphis-style barbecue is notable that its signature isn't sauce. Instead, Memphis barbecue mavens flavor their meats with dry rubs, often a mix of paprika, garlic, salt, onion, oregano, chili powder and black pepper. Memphis on Main Street stayed true to this style, but also offered a homemade barbecue sauce as well as items cooked in different styles, like that of Texas.
I was tempted to try an appetizer like the fried green tomatoes ($5.95) or the Memphis rolls ($5.95), pulled beef, chicken or pork barbecue fried in spring roll-form. I was also pleased to see that Memphis on Main Street has paid homage to its Maryland home, offering traditional Maryland crab dip ($10.95) and Maryland crab soup ($4.95 cup/$6.95 bowl).
But I was hungry and ready to get to the main event. I opted for a half slab of the Memphis ribs ($13.95), dry-rubbed and slow-cooked in a smoker. I requested that my ribs be brought out smothered in the homemade barbecue sauce, a bottle of which can be found at each table.
The meat was falling off the bone, and the sauce was delightfully peppery and tangy. Though it was a half rack, I had trouble finishing the large portion because of the delicious side dishes I chose -- french fries and cole slaw.
I was also full because I take my reviewing duties seriously and sampled everyone else's dishes and sides. The Memphis barbecue beans were a nice alternative to regular baked beans with their kick of spice, and the mashed red-skinned potatoes were buttery and addictive.
Next time, however, I know I need to order one of the barbecue sandwiches. Served on a Kaiser roll with pickles, both the original pit beef ($7.95) and the Memphis pulled chicken ($7.95) had the distinct flavor of the dry rub as well as a savory helping of barbecue sauce. My bite of each of these was mouthwatering, and I was left wanting more. My only complaint is that the side dishes only come with the platters, and so to get fries with your pit beef sandwich, you have to pay an extra $1.95. And really, who wouldn't want fries accompanying pit beef?
But overall, the service was outstanding and the homemade touches gave Memphis on Main Street a pleasing and authentic flavor.