Friday, March 6, 2009

Mr. B’s BBQ – Minneapolis, MN

My friend HotGirlsBrother and I like to eat BBQ, so we’re always on the lookout (like Dio) for rib joints. HotGirlsBrother found one close to where he used to work and has been raving about it for some time, despite the fact that no one remembers him saying anything about it when he mentions it – ha ha ha. Mr. B’s on Nicollet was a place we HAD to go try.

This place is packed into a small building with about 30 other 6-table restaurants (all of which I want to go try). When we got there, there was no one inside, except the cash register lady and a cook in the back. The place is sparsely decorated, but really clean. There’s a hand drawn caricature of Mr. B on the wall and also a large photo of Obama. Honestly, those are the two things I remember about the décor.

HotGirlsBrother and I ordered the exact same thing. Half slab of ribs with Fries, Mac and Cheese, and Baked Beans. They didn’t have Mt. Dew, so that part isn’t worth mentioning (which I just did). The giant platter the lady brought out to our table looked delicious. Serious meat on the ribs and swimming in sauce (if you’re a dry rib guy, I’m not sure you can order it without the sauce, but it’s worth asking about). Tons of fries and small styrofoam containers of beans and mac and cheese. And also buttered toast, which is a staple for a good rib place.

I started with the mac and cheese, since I knew once I started with the ribs, I’d be so covered in sauce I wouldn’t be able to go back and use my fork for anything else – rib-eating is all about strategy. The mac and cheese was really good, but I wish there was more of it. The beans were sweet and had a hint of cinnamon in them – I’m not used to that, but they were good. HotGirlsBrother said they weren’t nearly as spicy as usual and the sweet part was weird, but it didn’t seem to slow him down any. Again, the portion was really small. As for the ribs, the meat was not the most tender I’ve eaten, but it came off the bone clean, which is all I really care about. It wasn’t tough, but it wasn’t fork-tender. At least I knew I was eating something, right? Plenty of meat (HotGirlsBrother was impressed by my rib eating style) on this plate.

The fries were average, but dipped in the extra sauce, they were pretty darn good, and I’m not even a fry kind-of-guy. Now the toast is another story all together. It’s slathered in butter. I looked in the kitchen and saw the cook applying copious amounts of butter to a slice of bread with a large paintbrush – seriously, a paintbrush like for the outside of your house. It was lightly toasted, so it was still infused with butter. HotGirlsBrother said, “It’s not even buttered toast, it’s moved beyond that to crispy butter.” You’re a culinary genius, Mr. B.

Mr. B stopped in the restaurant a little later and yapped with us a bit. HotGirlsBrother mentioned the beans weren’t as spicy. Mr B made a comment about how observant he was and said he had to tone them down a bit. Lots of “Scandinavian people” (and he looks right at ME and smiles) can’t handle the kick. Then he started laughing. I told him to bring it on. So next time, we can ask for them spicy, and he’ll whip them up for us. The guy was super nice and friendly.

I’d go here again for sure. I know HotGirlsBrother said he liked it better than Big Daddy’s Saturday BBQ, but it’s been a while since I’ve eaten there with him. So I’ll need to eat it again to compare more closely (I’m only saying that so I can go back to Big Daddy’s). I’ll reserve judgment for now.

Top 5 things about Mr. B’s
1. BBQ sauce, sweet but has some zip
2. Crispy butter (also known as buttered toast)
3. Mac and Cheese
4. Rib quality
5. Baked beans, even though they were sweet and not spicy like usual

Bottom 5 things
1. Mac and cheese portion was small
2. I forgot to get the cornbread (my own fault)
3. No Dew
4. It's easy to miss while driving past
5. My hands were sticky for about two hours, even after I washed them – ha ha

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