Taste of the Week: Urban BBQ Co.
We here at DC Insider Tours don’t visit the suburbs of DC too often, but when we do, we try to make it count. In today’s case, we hit a home run when we decided to load up on some food from Urban BBQ. This place was a total surprise for us, and we strongly encourage everyone to check it out.
We don’t know about Urban BBQ’s other locations, but the one in Rockville, Maryland has zero curb appeal. It is awkwardly located in the very corner of a strip mall, has a lackluster sign, and is nearly crowded out by the other shops and restaurants. This is actually why we were a bit hesitant at first, but we know better than to judge a book by its cover. So we quickly turned to Google for advice and discovered that the reviews were pretty consistent: good food, bad service. Given that we would be getting the food to go, and we couldn’t remember the last time we went hog wild on some BBQ, we decided to give it a shot.
Boy oh boy, are we glad that we did. We were immediately greeted by a hostess who cheerfully directed us to the bar to place our to-go order. There we met Harris, a member of a local band known as “The Shifters,” and he was just as nice and pleasant as the hostess. We quickly scanned the menu he had given us and decided to get a little bit of everything (more about that deliciousness later).
To pass the time while waiting for our order, we ordered some draft beer to cool down on such an unseasonably warm September day and began to soak in the decor. The place is covered in large flat screen TVs playing ESPN, license plates from different states adorn the walls near the bar, and snarky, colorful signs on the walls, say things like “Live Bait Sold Here” and “Support Your Local Bartender, Helping Ugly People Get Laid!” Urban BBQ is clearly trying to draw in as many customers as possible by trying to act as both a sports bar and rustic BBQ pit. And, according to Harris, it is also a very popular happy hour place. All these different characteristics work together quite nicely and create a place where you want to hang out and have a good time.
Impressively, the food arrived even before we had time to finish our beers. Not wanting to waste any time, we pounded the beer and dashed home. We tore into our feast so that we could bring you this taste bud break-down:
- “Soul Rolls” – This is a must if you go, and why we listed it first. A creative spin on a classic dish, Urban’s egg roll is filled with 14-hour smoked brisket, caramelized onions and 3 cheeses, and then fried to a light crunch. They are good enough by themselves, but when dipped in the “redneck fondue” (Urban’s chili mixed in with melted cheese), they are killer.
- Pulled Chicken Sandwich – It is hard to jazz up pulled chicken, but Urban’s was juicy and had the perfect amount of sauce.
- Brisket – A little on the dry side in parts, but it had a great smoky flavor. You could actually taste the smokey wood.
- St. Louis Pork Ribs – The meat literally fell off the bone, and, like the brisket, had a nice smoky flavor.
- Two-Step Chili – We love chili, and never miss an opportunity to try some. Urban’s did not disappoint. Brisket, chuck, and pinto beans make this a hearty chili, and it is seasoned just right. The cornbread, green onions, shredded cheese are a nice touch as well.
- Mac-n-Cheese – Tender, cheesy, and very good as mac-n-cheeses go.
- Corn bread – Right on, light in texture and punctuated with corn kernels.
- Potato Salad – This was the only blemish on an otherwise great meal. The potato was a bit on the chunky side and someone had a heavy hand with the dill.
The proportions were generous, and the various BBQ sauces available are very tasty, too. All in all, Urban’s BBQ is one place that we will happily visit again. Check them out here.