HotGirlsBrother, Lo-Vee and I decided twice in the same week was NOT too much BBQ for us. HotGirlsBrother had stumbled across this place in St. Paul that none of our friends had ever heard of. Since HotGirlsBrother owed both of us dinner, we figured, even if it sucked baaaad, we wouldn’t be out any cash. For the record, this place did not suck – even a little.
We pulled up and saw hand painted signs and dry erase sandwich board out front. And we also saw you could eat inside. You could tell because they had booths, some of which were two-people booths up on a small stage - after you stepped over the steam heat radiator.
Normally we don’t, but as soon as we went through the door, we knew we would not get the full experience unless we ate in the restaurant. And this was decided BEFORE we saw the multiple photos of Don King and Ice-T eating at Lee & Dee’s. Yes, THE Don King (I’ll now remember him as BBQTip), and THE Ice-T (Cop Killa himself). And now that I’ve put that in this post, my friend Trash will drive to Lee & Dee’s even though she’s a vegetarian – she’s got a mad crush on Ice-T.
You can order at the window or sit down and they’ll bring you Xerox copied menus with stuff handwritten on them. We ordered our half slab rib dinners and then went back up when we remembered we hadn’t ordered drinks and then went back up when Lo-Vee and I remembered we hadn’t ordered cornbread. The lady brought us a pitcher of water and some mugs with people’s names engraved on them with dates. We’re not sure if the dates were days the people got married or died (same thing in my book – ha ha ha), but it was still creepy drinking out of Lamar’s mug or Travy’s mug. Also the water tasted terrible, so make sure you get something in a can here.
They brought our coleslaw out first, as sort of an appetizer I guess. I don’t eat the stuff, but both HotGirlsBrother and Lo-Vee really liked it. Lo-Vee suggested maybe they went to KFC each day and ordered a giant bucket of it and then served it as if it were their own (apparently, she’s a huge fan of KFC coleslaw). They both said it could use a splash more vinegar, but it was really creamy which I guess is good – I’m not a coleslaw expert.
Then they brought out our dinners pretty quickly (probably why it’s a Bar-B-Que EXPRESS). In the immortal words of my favorite mentally-challenged chef (Merril Howard Kalin) – Wowwie Kazowie!
These ribs looked fantastic. Totally slathered in sauce and really thick. You touched the rib with your fork and the meat slid off. These were not the overdone or dry ribs some places have. These were very juicy and tender ribs covered in a fantastic sauce. The more I ate, the more I loved them and I had already decided I loved them after the first bite. These ribs had so much meat on them that HotGirlsBrother and Lo-Vee pansied out and didn’t finish their meals (they went home in a box though – the ribs, not Lo-Vee and HotGirlsBrother). The ribs had some cartilage you had to work around and leave on your plate – now normally, I’d complain about that, but seriously, it did not deter one bit from these ribs. Besides, it was fun to see what shapes of cartilage would come out of your mouth after you sucked the meat off them. I think I found a Snork skull.
I’m going to super-gloss over the baked beans that came out with the meal, so as not to jade you away from the ribs. The beans were weirdly flavorless. HotGirlsBrother threw in what we assumed was buffalo sauce in a squeeze bottle on the table, and the only thing that did was make them flavorless with kick, which is a really weird flavor in your mouth. But forget I even talked about the beans.
The cornbread we got was really good. It was dry cornbread, so Lo-Vee didn’t like it, but she has bad taste in men AND cornbread (I’m hi-fiving myself for a brilliant multi-layered and multi-person burn – well played, self). I say it was dry, but it wasn’t dried out or crunchy. Just not fork moist. It’s how my Alabama grandma used to make it so I thought it tasted right on. And if they offer to bring you toast, get it. In fact, just ask for it. It’s better than Mr. B’s toast, which I referred to as crunchy butter. It is awesome.
Lee & Dee’s does not have wet naps or moist towlettes (my nephew The Stealth Buffalo calls them mouse toilets because he’s cruel and makes fun of his dyslexic friend with a hot mom). However, a paper towel – the roll is provided at your table – dipped in the terrible water works almost as good. And we definitely needed wet naps after this meal.
Bottom line – this place has moved to the top of the list in the Twin Cities Rib Quest. There are still a couple more places to try and retry for confirmation, but we’re close to the end people. And Lee & Dee’s just swept the leg, Johnny.
Top 5 things about Lee & Dee’s
1. Ribs – tons of meat and awesome sauce
2. Ambience – including Ice-T, Don King, and serious mom & pop homey feel
3. Apparently, the coleslaw was good
5. They have DEW
Bottom 5 things
1. Gerd would have loved this place and agreed with me about it being the best – I miss her agreeing with me and telling me I’m always right (…never happened…)
2. Flavorless beans
3. Awful water
4. Cartilage shapes
5. This place is not in my basement, where I would like it to be