Bless my soul, final exams have depleted any spare time and mental energy left in me at this point in the year… not to mention, pulled my focus far from the important things in life. Like decadent smoked pork.
Praise the sweet heavens above they’re over.
So on to better things we go.
I’m a big fan of the stuff, but let’s get real… after the cumulative pounds of tender pulled pig flesh I’ve (and essentially anyone else hailing from this region of the country) consumed over the duration of my youngish lifespan, you’ve got to be dishing up classics exceptionally well or bringing something delightfully fresh to the table in order to be something worth writing home about. Or writing on WordPress about, for that matter.
From what I can see, Pulaski Heights BBQ is doing both.
To be totally fair, I’ve only visited once since their opening doors less than a month ago, so my judgement is arguably premature. All the same, during this single lunch, the eatery gave me a number of reasons to expect nothing less than stellar experiences for meals to come…
- Da pig. Straight up, their pulled pork is pork done right. This is what I mean by a classic done exceptionally well. Robust with smokey depth, moist and melt-in-your mouth tender, the barbecued pork is perfectly magnificent riding solo on its fluffy bun. However, whether you going spicy or sweet, PHBBQ’s house-made sauces are doubtlessly worthwhile sandwich enhancers. Key point being– quality condiments are enhancers, not necessities. That’s how it’s supposed to go, folks.
2.) The sides. I don’t really care what kind of meat your packing, a BBQ joint is nothing without solid side dishes. And here is where we delve into bringing something fresh to the table. The renditions of classic side dish staples offered at Pulaski Heights BBQ truly instill a new soul to southern comfort. Between my own plate and sampling from my dinning companion’s, I enjoyed baked beans (vibrantly smokey sweet and boosted with a touch of citrus, I believe), potato salad (flavored with fragrant fresh herbs, rich and creamy–but not drowning in mayo), mac-n-cheese and squash casserole (both of which were decadent, yet not overwhelming, and well-composed with crisp crumb toppings). In a sweeping generalization of a side dish summary, we can just go on and conclude that these are carefully crafted recipes that feel both indulgent and bright… foods deeply satisfying, but not leaving you feeling grody or guilt-ridden after the bowl is empty.
3.) The ambiance. Pulaski Heights being the eclectic, communal, charming area that it is, the new eatery fits right in. With a rustic wood meets metal interior where daytime lighting relies largely on what streams through the window panes, the space is comfortable and unassuming, but still elegant. The servers…genial, but coolly reserved. The restaurant gracefully straddles the line between casual and fine dinning, distinguishing it from any other BBQ places in our neck of the woods. Not to mention, I hear tell that their bar is one worth taking and extra lengthy lunch break for. I mean, they are apparently really into bourbon… and the way I see it, we should all be really into bourbon. So there you go, it’s meant to be.
4.) The guy behind it. As a former partner and chef at Five and Ten, Chuck Ramsey comes before us BBQ-feigning fools with an extensive background as a professional chef… and quite frankly, it shows. This guy obviously knows what he’s doing in the kitchen, he seems to fully understand how to create a pleasurable dinning experience for a wide variety of patrons and most importantly, Ramsey strikes me as someone who cares about who he’s serving. He’s going to take the time to ask your name, tell you his, make sure you enjoyed a great meal and offer you (and everyone else) a pulled pork sammich with a beer for five bucks any night after 10 p.m.
Come on, ya’ll know the ancient proverb– a man with delicious libation and feed is a friend indeed.
Joke. Totally made that up. But still, it works.
Point being, I encourage you to go eat BBQ, drink bourbon and welcome the new gastro-residents of Pulaski Heights. I’ll be more than happy to join if you need a lunch/dinner/late night snack date. Huzzah for pork and Pulaski.