10 November, 2013

Phantom Gourmet Summer Barbecue Beach Party


This summer the Phantom Gourmet brought a Barbecue Beach party to downtown Boston. This party included 7 of the nation's top rib masters, and each offered a sampler of their ribs. 3 ribs per sampler times 7 rib schools means 21 bones left over. Assisting me in this task was my love, so how did we rate them?

The First chef we tried was the Awesome Aussie. He was standout being the only foreigner and boasting that he had the best corn bread. Thankfully, his lines were the shortest at the beginning of the day, so we decided to pick his first.

His ribs smelled amazing and looked well smoked. They had a nice smoke ring which made us happy. We each tried them, with unfortunately no other ribs to gauge them they stood alone. They tasted a bit bland, not neccessiarly tasty. The sauce that the Aussie (and all other chefs claimed about their respective sauces) stated was a world champion tasted generic. It was not bad, just not a standout sauce. It was decent, but the bleh sauce did nothing to spice up a not-so-flavorful meat.

Another disappointing part to the Awesome Aussie was the cornbread. After the praise about this bread was sung, in reality it tasted more like a sugary cake. The heaviness it caused also prevented us from trying any further cornbread.

For the first chef, the Awesome Aussie was not anything spectacular. Our rating was 7 out of 10. Awesome Aussie has his own website if you're interested in his down-under 'que.

Next up in our barbecue adventure was the Chicago professor from the Chicago BBQ Company. Chicago is known for many cuisines, but how do they serve up ribs? The smell was an instant draw, and unlike the Awesome Aussie they had two large jugs fill of their sauce. Tasting both the normal and spicy, they came off a bit sweet. However, there was a level of flavor to the sweetness that the Aussie's sauce did not capture.

The ribs smelled amazing, just like the smoke coming from the grill. Biting into the meat, the first thing noticed was how soft it was. This was fall-off-the-bone delicious, well smoked and brined. The sauce complimented this flavor with a spicy note. Also of note, while the sauce was sweet on its own, they served it with very little sauce, letting the smoked meat shine.

I personally preferred Chicago's ribs over all others, and my wife only disagreed in that it wasn't number one. We both agreed that the Chicago BBQ Company made an amazing plate of ribs. I rated them 10 out of 10. The Chicago BBQ Company has their own website if you're interested in the Windy city masters.

Third on the tour was the local team, Fireflies. There was a large line around this vendor, given their connection to the North East. Alot of their trash talking before-hand centered on the North East competing with the other big names. Did it?

Again, they had large dispensers of their sauce. We tried both, and they were also a bit sweet. The spicy sauce had a decent spice, but nothing to write home about. We smelled a delicious smell walking up to the pit, and notice they sold fried 'qlams'. The ribs we were given smelled good and had nice grill-marks.

Too bad that's the only nice thing to say. The ribs were awful. The sauce was way too sweet, overpowering the bland, fatty meat. I do mean fatty meat. All three had large ridges of fat that made the ribs inedible. The small amount off meat attached to bone and fat was rather tasteless.

Me and my wife both rated Fireflies the worst barbecue we've ever had. There was nothing of note aside from failure. 0 out of 10. Fireflies BBQ of Framingham has their own website for further information.

Firefly's BBQ on Urbanspoon

Would Texas save the day? Texas ALWAYS boasts how they are the biggest and best, and while this may not be true in football, they had a chance to recover at barbecue. Texas Thunder BBQ represented the loan-star state with a massive smoker styled in a pistol. Their sauce samples tasted nice but like the Awesome Aussie, there was nothing special. The smell from the grill more than made up for another lack-luster sauce.

Texas Thunder BBQ hands-down had the best smoked meat of the day. It was incredibly tender and flavorful. The soft protein was salty and smokey without surrendering to any feeling of fattiness. Hats off to Texas!

My wife decided this was her favorite thus-far and I declared this to be my second favorite. Texas Thunder Scored 9 out of 10, missing the perfect score because of the lack-luster sauce. Texas Thunder is online if you want to try their BBQ.

We then passed the mid-point to go to the Big Show. The Big Show was said to have the best sauce, though we did not hear much about the meat. The line was quite long, and their speciality seemed to be pulled pork over ribs. After trying their sauces, the spicy sauce was THE spiciest I tried (another advertised a nuclear sauce, but did not offer a spout to sample it).

These ribs also shared an amazing look, with grill marks very prominent. These ribs, like the Awesome Aussie, tasted generic. There weren't any standout flavors nor was the meat anything special. The meat was decent but had no spectacular smokiness to differentiate itself.

Me and my wife agreed the Big Show scored a less-than-big 6 out of 10. Perhaps their pulled pork is better? Check out the Big Show's website.

Rasoi of Pawtucket

Rasoi in Pawtucket represents the pinnacle of Indian cuisine in Rhode Island. The interior sports primary colors and large photos of India. Beautiful red dividers give intimate spaces while an island bar offers an all-you-can-eat buffet on Sundays. Everything was clean and the pleasant smells of spices filled the entire restaurant.

First we receive papadum served with a tamarind sauce and marinated onions; an Indian version of chips and salsa. The chips are served in a nice wire basket with holders for the two toppings. By themselves, the papadum are tasty made of either lentils or potato (or both?) flavored with what appeared to be caraway seeds. Each bite was crispy and addicting. The tamarind sauce, like a sweet ketchup, complimented the papadum better than the marinated onions. A bitterness kept the onions from being enjoyable.

We had the chicken Varuval as an appetizer. A delicate dish of griddled chicken topped with red onions, cilantro, and a savory yogurt sauce. The chicken bits were wonderfully cooked and coated with a piquant spice blend. The cool sauce complimented the chicken's spice.

For dinner we had the Hyderabadi Chicken Korma and the Aloo Gobhi with jasmine Basmati rice and plain nan. The Korma, served a lovely silver bowl, is a dish of chicken braised in a yogurt-cashew-coconut sauce. Warming and inviting, the nan soaked up the sauce perfectly. Each piece of chicken itself was wonderfully moist and tender. As contrast, the vegetarian Aloo Gobhi represented sweet and tangy. Aloo Gobhi is a dish of potatoes and cauliflower cooked in tomatoes and onions. Both dishes came with small ramekins of lentils that, while tasty, were out of place flavor-wise.

Overall the food is 5-stars. Unfortunately the service hindered an otherwise wonderful experience. Instead of one server, we had a rotating cast who seemed unfamiliar with our requests. We ordered an extra nan bread mid-course and never received the quick-cooking bread. After finishing the meal we had some chicken Korma remaining that would have reheated well the next day. Unfortunately the waiter forgot we asked for it to be wrapped up as we inquired about the missing order of nan.

Rasoi features great Indian food served in great portions for a reasonable price. Service was the only downside in the dinning experience. The staff could use further training or proper management to ensure everything runs smoothly. Had a manager come over to check on the patrons we would have inquired about our missing food. Rasoi's menu and website are available here.

Rating: B+

Rasoi on Urbanspoon

About Me

Rhode Island, United States
I am a lover of Food. I review restaurants, markets, snacks, wine, beer, and spirits. Life is too short to eat bad food.