Monday, April 8, 2013
Babb Bros. BBQ & Blues (Dallas, TX)
Over the past few months, I've read lots of mixed reviews about Babb Bros, but public opinion aside, I wanted to try this place for myself. I had a long lunch break today and was already nearby, so I thought I'd give Babb Bros a shot.
When I pulled up, the first thing I noticed was the large gravel parking lot out front, which you don't see too often in the heart of the Dallas metroplex. There was so much smoke pumping out of this place that I could smell it from inside my truck. I eagerly walked inside and found a cafeteria-style counter and a large wall-mounted menu that took a few minutes to peruse.
I wanted to sample as many different meats as possible, so I ordered their Three Meat Combo Plate: meatloaf, jalapeno cheese sausage, and brisket. On the side, I opted for Daisy's cheesy potatoes and the Tobacco onion straws. You also get your choice of cornbread or white bread to go with any order, so naturally I picked the cornbread.
I had to wait for them to fry up my onion straws, so I took a moment to survey the dining room. Although Babb Bros is fairly new, it's not fancy by any means - humble folding tables topped with plastic picnic tablecloths, uncomfortable red folding chairs, and fountain drinks in plastic Solo cups. Outside, I could see a decent size seating area with several picnic tables. There was also a large margarita and beer station on the side of the main indoor dining room, but unfortunately I wasn't done working for the day.
As for decor, there is little more than the typical neon beer signs and a dozen or so wall-mounted guitars to round out their blues motif. But while the atmosphere in Babb Bros is certainly worth mentioning, I came here for the food, not the furnishings.
I started my lunchtime feast with Daisy's cheesy potatoes, which were definitely a bit different from the usual barbecue side dishes. They tasted like an interesting combination of cheesy mashed potatoes and hashbrowns. There was decent seasoning and a visible amount of cracked black pepper. As for the onion straws, they were basically your average shoestring fried onions. I'm not sure where the "tobacco" part comes in. There was a slight spiciness to the onions, but certainly not enough to linger. At least they tasted fresh rather than frozen. My cornbread was a little dense, although it wasn't horribly dry either. It had a decent sweetness to it, but the overall flavor could have been better.
The brisket looked like a big gray mess of chopped meat sitting on the tray. I had asked for moist over lean brisket, which I assumed meat that I was getting fatty brisket from the point. It was decently moist and tender, but that's really the only compliment I can give it. There was a slight red smoke ring on a few of my pieces, which made it all the more disappointing when I my taste buds couldn't locate the smokiness. In fact, I couldn't find much in terms of flavor aside from the meat itself, and even it was fairly bland. I only got a few pieces with bark, so I missed out on any additional seasonings there too.
My sausage had big visible chunks of cheddar and jalapeno laced throughout, and both were very prevalent on my tongue once I bit in. The sausage was definitely spicy, but not overpowering, at least not by my standards. I don't know if there was any smoke here or not, because it was completely masked by the jalapenos. Although I enjoyed the heat, I wish that I had opted for the regular sausage, purely from a food review perspective. The casings also lacked any real snap, which made the sausage seem kind of limp. All in all, it was a mediocre offering.
I've never eaten smoked meatloaf before, so I wasn't sure what to expect. It certainly didn't look all that appetizing sitting before me. When I ordered, I was told that the meatloaf is made with blue cheese crumbles, and you could definitely taste them. In fact, there was so much blue cheese that it's really all I could taste. Certainly no noticeable smoke. The meatloaf was moist to the point that it was falling apart, so perhaps they should swap out some of the cheese crumbles in favor of more egg and/or breadcrumbs for binding.
Of the three meats on my Babb Bros combo, the sausage came in the highest quantity. I'm guessing it was the cheapest to produce, which is funny because it's the only meat I ended up finishing. This was the second time I've ventured across the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge in search of tasty barbecue, and it was the second time I've been disappointed. Bridge, you're 0-2.
Babb Bros. BBQ & Blues
330 Bedford Ave.
Dallas, TX 75212