Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Rudolph’s BBQ – Minneapolis, MN (Bar-B-Quest 2012!)
It was that time of the week when we had to hit the Bar-B-Quest bracket. I say “had”, but it’s much more like “rejoiced in”, in our case. LowVee, HotGirlsBrother, and I were all busy at night, so we decided to do another lunch outing – this time at Rudolph’s. HotGirlsBrother had only been here once before and sat in the bar area, which is ridiculous since he lived a block away for a number of years. However, LowVee and I HAD been here and liked it a lot, a while back.
Once in side, they seated us in the limbo area between the fancy restaurant and the front-of-house bar area. No worries at all. You can get all the food wherever you’re at. The menu is really fun to look at since most of the dishes are named after movie stars, young and old. Classy and goes along with the Rudolph Valentino theme they have going on. I assure you it isn’t a red nosed reindeer theme here. We knew we wanted a cast iron skillet full of corn bread, without question, so we got that. We also ordered a full slab of ribs (the Bogie) and a half slab (the Rudy).Those both came with sides, so we got two coleslaws, some baked beans, and some fries. They have coke products, so I ordered a root beer and the other two ordered Arnold Palmers. I was bummed to find out they switched from 1919 rootbeer to MiniSoda rootbeer. Sadface, but MiniSoda is still just fine.
The food came out pretty quickly, which rules, since it was lunch time and I was on a schedule. The first thing the server brought us was the cornbread. I love how they serve it here. They bring it out to you in the cast iron pan with a serious scoop of butter on top of it. The cornbread is super hot so it melts the butter right on top of it. It’s fantastic and probably the best cornbread in the Twin Cities (please don’t make us do a cornbread bracket!!!). LowVee moved the butter scoop around the top of the cornbread until it was almost dissolved and soaked into the sweet and moist bread. Awww yeah. It was a great appetizer and allowed us to save a piece for eating with out meals.
Sides first: The coleslaw is really good. Not just regular good, but really good. Seasoned really well, great texture, great ratio of mayo-to-vinegar, and some nice bites of carrot thrown in. Really great stuff. I think they sell the mayo mix as well if you want to make your own (why the heck wouldn’t you just buy the coleslaw already made here!?!?!?!), if that’s your thing.
The beans were a little meh and they didn’t appeal to any of us. They were a little bit of a flavor black hole – they sucked the flavor away from whatever you were already eating, which is always sad. We left the small container almost untouched this time. The last time we were here, the beans were pretty darn good, which is disappointing.
And this photo is very strong evidence that HotGirlsBrother DOES, in fact, take relationship-crippling-sized bites. Seriously, that coleslaw is just heaped on the fork. I'm glad we got two of those large dishes of coleslaw to share amongst the three of us. (There was an incident at a previous BBQ place where LowVee accused HotGirlsBrother of taking too large a bite and it turned into an "incident". I just like to poke the bear...hahahaha)(Love you, man!)
The fries were also really good. They looked like ordinary fries, but were deceptively crispy. Really good job on the fries. Those didn’t last long.
The buttered bread they brought out was toasted just the way I like it. I thought it would detract from the awesomeness of the cornbread, but I liked them both on their own merits. That being said, the cornbread was mind-blowing.
Now, for the ribs! The flavor of the ribs here at Rudolph’s is really good. This is how a dry rub should be done. Not overly salty, not fake smoke flavor, not spice-heat. Just fantastic flavor rubbed into the meat before cooking. Really awesome job on this aspect. The sauce is also really awesome. We ended up using a huge amount of the sauce (great for fries, as well) on all of our ribs. I think I’m going to switch to this sauce, since you can buy it in local grocery stores now. It’s that good. This is a huge change for me, since I didn’t really care for the sauce the last time I was here (until I combined two different sauces).
The meat itself was pretty good. Not amazing, but still had to some good flavor. You just had to work at some of the pieces. Some fell off the bone and some you had to really wrestle with. This was demonstrated by my taking long enough to get all the meat off my first rib bone as it took for LowVee and HotGirlsBrother to get through two ribs each. Bastards. The bones still came away pretty clean though (and they give you a nice bowl just for your rib bones, which rules). Pretty good showing for Rudolph’s BBQ.
We did like that they brought us wetnaps at the end of our meal, as well. This is always useful, since we get absolutely covered in BBQ sauce when we eat ribs. Hahaha. Classy, Rudolph. Classy.
Ruolph’s is going up against Capp’s in this bracket, so we’ll have to see how they fare. For now, here’s the bracket, as up to date as we can get, at this point.
Top 5 things about Rudolph’s BBQ
1. Cornbread with butter scoop – it even made HotGirlsBrother a believer!
3. Dry rub on the ribs
4. French fries
5. Amazingly nice server and host – they appear to like what they do
Bottom 5 things
1. It’s a little bit pricier than other rib places – keep in mind, this is an ACTUAL full-service restaurant and you get what you pay for. Just warning you – those that are cheap-skates
2. Baked beans were really flavorless
3. Rib meat was a little tough in spots
4. Bummed they switched from 1919 rootbeer
5. I couldn’t get drinks from the full bar, since I had to race back to work for meetings