Monday, November 3, 2008

Restaurants: Bobby Q's Barbeque & Grill, Westport, CT

In 2004, Bobby Q's Barbeque opened in downtown Westport, in the space that was formerly occupied by Onion Alley. Since that time, owner Bob LaRose and his "pitmasters" have been serving up really excellent barbeque in a fun, casual atmosphere. The story behind the restaurant is something out of the movies. Bobby, who often visited family in Kansas City, became passionate about good barbeque, and decided to quit his job and open a restaurant in Connecticut that would rival any southern barbeque joint. After eating there several times, plus taking a class from him on smoking, I think he has achieved his goal.

The menu at Bobby Q's is large, and incorporates all the traditional barbequed fare. The most popular dishes are Pulled Pork, Smoked Sausage, Baby Back Ribs, and Beef Brisket. Some are served with Bobby's signature House Original BBQ Sauce (also called "Nice Rack"), but diners can add any of the other house sauces tableside. All the sauces, which are playfully named, also include "Sweet Rack" (honey bbq sauce) and "Big Rack" (bold bbq sauce), which are available in bottles both at the restaurant and online.

Over the course of each of my visits, I've enjoyed everything I've eaten, but I must say my hands-down favorite was the baby-back ribs. They were juicy and succulent, and had lots of meat. I also enjoyed the St. Louis Ribs, which are prepared with a dry rub rather than a sauce, but I think the baby back ribs have more universal appeal, particularly in this part of the country. My husband loved the "burnt ends" (which are not always available), but being that I don't care for my meat so well-done, I skipped trying that one. The pulled pork was also excellent, the brisket was delicious, and my kids and I both loved the sliced turkey breast. There is a kids menu available, which features all the usual suspects (chicken nuggets, hamburgers, etc) plus ribs and steak, but I opted for them to split an adult meal instead. They are almost always healthier and seem more substantial than what is offered on most children's menus. Besides, I have made it my mission to not pidgeon hole my kids into only eating the holy trinity of "kid food"--- mac & cheese, chicken nuggets, and hamburgers. Now I'll get off my soapbox and get back to Bobby's!

The entrees are served with your choice of two side dishes, and the list from which you choose is large and diverse. I think I've tried just about every one, and they are really all great. My favorites were the Cheesy Corn and Edamame Succotash, the Mac & Cheese, and the Pit Beans, but I also loved the Sweet Potato Fries and Housemade Applesauce. The sandwiches, wraps, and burgers are served with fries or coleslaw, but any of the sides are available a la carte as well.

For those of you who aren't into barbeque (although why would you go here if you weren't?), there are also salads, various grilled chicken and fish dishes, and even lasagna. They also serve one of my favorite can chicken! So, there is really something for everyone.

Bobby Q's is a great place to go with family or friends of all ages. On weekends, they apparently have a lively bar scene on the rooftop deck, although I haven't been out late enough to say how it is one way or another. I can say what I think about the food----and it definitely gets a big thumbs up from my family!

Bobby Q's Barbeque & Grill

42 Main Street (next to Banana Republic)

Westport, Ct


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