Sunday, January 26, 2020

Eating off the Hill: Moe's BBQ a miss

After having visited Austin, all BBQ pales in comparison. Still, I will continue questing for BBQ goodness North of the border, whether it's Northern Smokes in Scarborough or The Smoque Shack in Ottawa. On Saturday, I trekked to deep southern Ottawa by South Keys to try another contender, Moe's BBQ.

Located in a strip mall at Hunt Club and Bank, Moe's is certified Halal and that makes sense, given the demographics of the neighbourhood. It also though means no pork ribs. It's a lowkey place with the fireplace channel running on a screen on a loop, and a smokey vibe in the air. Plastic menus are at the counter, where you place your order and pay, and then find a table to wait.

I peruse the menu (who am I kidding? I pre-scouted online and knew exactly what I wanted) and order the sample platter, which for $23 includes 3oz of brisket, 3oz of pulled beef, 1/4 chicken and your choices of two sides -- I choose mac and cheese (of course) and slaw (cause I healthy). Add a can of Diet Coke, tax and tip and you're at $32 -- that's pricy even for BBQ.

My first thought on receiving my tray, served as befits BBQ tradition on paper on a metal tray, was those are decent-sized sides. The second was those some tiny sauces. The third was, where the bread?

Let's dispense with the sides. They were decently sized. I enjoyed the slaw; it had the feel with its texture of being made in-house and not industrially in a food factory. Slaw isn't a healthy veg, but it's as healthy a veg as you'll get in a BBQ context, and a nice change from the other elements. Now, I like a good mac and cheese. And this one probably was good. Creamy, nice flavour, actual macaroni. But it was served luke-warm. Hot, it probbaly would have been amazing. Luke-warm, it was meh.

The sauces. Sauces are key to an authentic BBQ experience. Usually you would get bottles on the table to sauce to your hearts content. The little paper thimbles provided were cheap and insulting. As for the sauces themselves, the BBQ was decent but the white sauce had one note: dill.

And the lack of bread. Authentic BBQ should come with a slice of white bread, or something similar, for making little sandwiches and/or wiping up the BBQ bits left after your meal. It's absence here is inexplicable.

But on to the meat. The brisket was good and nicely cooked, but lacked any note of the smoke. No infusion of flavour. The pulled beef was fine, a little more flavour than the brisket and not dry, but not outstanding. This wouldn't have been my guess going in, but funnily enough the chicken leg ws my favourite of the meats -- and I'm a white meat guy. But the chicken was juicy and well-cooked, with the sauced skin adding very nice flavour.

Glad I went down there to try it, but with better and nearer options in the Byward Market I don't think I'll be back to Moe's

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