Sunday, November 01, 2009

The Charred Rib

On Halloween, Mr Minx and I fled the neighborhood to avoid germy little trick-or-treaters. We had a ValPack coupon for The Charred Rib, so we opted to eat there and then visit the Borders in the same shopping center.

My family had been to the more-northerly-located Corner Stable many times when I was a kid (although it never compared to Arbaugh's in D.C.) but I don't remember ever dining at The Charred Rib. Maybe it was better back then, because it's sure not all that great now. Especially for a place that maintains it has the "world's best baby back ribs." That's almost funny.

Not that the ribs are bad, they're just completely ordinary. The meat is tender and falls off the bone, but they're no better than say, Chili's. What was bad was everything else. Let's start with the service: our waitress didn't bother writing anything down, so of course when I requested dry rub ribs, she brought me sauced ribs. And Mr Minx requested Cajun sauce, but the sweet, characterless sauce on his ribs was clearly the boring house sauce. Is it so hard to carry a pad and a pen around? or to pay attention? It's not like she had that many other tables to take care of so early in the evening.

Because the rib combos *sounded* good, I decided to order one with bbq shrimp and scallops. I expected grilled seafood, lightly anointed with a bit of sauce; what I got was a large ramekin with what was probably boiled seafood flooded with a watery sauce that tasted like a hybrid of cocktail sauce and bbq. And the scallops turned pink from bathing in the bizarre liquid.

The side of coleslaw was completely serviceable, but the fries were those nasty extruded potato tubes encrusted with bits of shrapnel. Like mutant tater tots. It seems to be a fad nowadays, this starch abomination, and I wish it would go away. If you can't serve hand-cut fries and must resort to the frozen food-service type, then serve shoestrings. They at least get crispy without resorting to a dip in batter.

Next time I have a hankering for ribs, I'll either make them myself, or go to Andy Nelson's. Or Corner Stable, Bare Bones, or J.R.'s in Ocean City. But never again to The Charred Rib, even if I have a coupon.

Charred Rib
12 W Ridgely Rd
Timonium, MD 21093
(410) 561-0060

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