55 Chester St.
Sommerville, MA 02144
When one thinks of barbecue, the city of Boston probably is not the first city you think of. Dallas, Kansas City, and Raleigh are probably most peoples go to spots for BBQ, but when I was doing research on where to eat in Boston, there was one place that kept popping up, and that place was Redbones.
Redbones opened in 1987, and soon gained praise from locals and tourists alike. Located in Davis Square, just steps away from Tufts University, Redbones has won many awards for it's down home Southern style food. They just recently won the readers pick for best barbecue in Boston. They also stay open late, and serve their full menu past midnight. This was a key, as we were coming from the Bruins game, and wanted to see if the food could match the hype.
We got to Redbones at about 10:30 on a Saturday night. The place was half packed, but there were definitely more people on the bar side of the restaurant. The vibe here is definitely southern with a laid back, comfortable feel to the place. The wait staff, including our waitress had a hip, cool look to them. This is the kind of staff I could envision working at Tower Records when it was still open. I have never been to the deep south, but this is what I would expect a barbecue joint in Nashville to be like. Hopefully the food would be just as good.
I always like when restaurants serve drinks in large glasses. Here they did just that, but added a twist by serving drinks in large mason jars. The Corn Bread came with the meal, and was just okay. I felt it was a little on the dry side, but I am not much of a corn bread guy.
To start our Redbones food adventure we chose the Fried Okra, which was served with salsa. The breading on this was the star of the show for me. Tasted great, and really enhanced the flavor of the okra. The okra was fine, but I was a little confused as to why they served this with salsa. It seemed odd, but I asked for and got some ranch dressing, and was much happier.
We will go over Katie's meal first. She went with the Pulled Chicken Sandwich. Chopped chicken, brown sugar, mustard and spices, topped with pickles, onions and slaw, combined to make a very flavorful sandwich. She really liked the contradiction of the sweetness of the sauce along with the tang of the pickles. The meat was tender and plentiful, and maybe because of the late hour or the fried okra, she did have trouble finishing this sandwich. This also came with beans and potato salad. The beans were pretty hearty. The potato salad was a hybrid between mashed potatoes and potato salad. Very unusual, but a good tasting side dish.
I did what I usually do in a barbecue restaurant, order a combo plate of food, so I can sample as much as I can. This heap of meat is the Barbecue Belt. Consisting of Arkansas Pork Ribs, Texas Beef Ribs, Memphis Pork Spareribs, and Smoked Beef Brisket. Overall this carnivore's dream team was good, but some meats were better than others. The brisket was okay, but the pork ribs really were the best here. Very flavorful on their own, but when dipped in the sauces, they were made even better. They have four barbecue sauces here, sweet, mild, hot and vinegar. The only one that we were not a fan of was the vinegar. I alternated between the rest, and the hot was definitely the best. The beef ribs had a great smokiness to them, but lacked a lot of meat.
We came away from Redbones completely stuffed and satisfied. It was not the best barbecue we have had, but it was definitely above average, and unexpected in Boston. The service was very good, even at this late hour. We also felt the prices here were a great value. My half ton of meat only set me back $20, and Katie's sandwich was $9. Wish we could have tried their pecan pie for dessert, but there was no way. The servings here were way too big. After eating at Redbones, we might have to add Boston to the list of great barbecue cities.
Out of five elephants, (because the mascot of nearby Tuft's University is Jumbo, an African elephant), five being best to zero being worst, Redbones Barbecue gets 3.5 elephants.
For more information on Redbones, click here: http://www.redbones.com/index.html