Wednesday, June 29, 2011

When in Rome, Eat in Strip Malls

King Street Blues
Alexandria, Virginia 

As Suit 757 likes to say, there are a few do's and don't's to keep in mind if you want to find the best barbecue around.

First, don't eat barbecue in a strip mall.  Generally speaking, barbecue joints are better the older and rattier they are.

Secondly, sniff the air.  If you don't smell smoke, the barbecue is probably going to be lame.

I normally follow these tasty morsels of advice to the best of my ability. 

But on this particular day, I found myself in Northern, Virginia -- that sprawling traffic and government-employee filled suburb of Washington, D.C.

In times like these, you eat where you can.  The other option is to sit in your car for two hours while you wait for traffic to clear out.

On this particular day, I chose King Street Blues -- a smokeless barbecue joint located right smack-dab in the middle of a strip mall.

The original King Street Blues is located in Old Town Alexandria, just a few miles away.  But considering Northern Virginia traffic, I just decided not to bother even trying to get there.

When I walked into this strip mall barbecue joint, I found that King Street Blues' happy hour lasts until 7:00 PM.  Nice!

Unfortunately, barbecue joints aren't known for having great beer selections, and this place was no different.  I settled for whatever their "house beer" was called.

It tasted remarkably like Budweiser's American Ale.

While waiting for my beer, I took some time to check out the decor.  It's LOUD.

It almost made me want to keep my sunglasses on.  But to tick up the tacky just a tad, King Street Blues also has giant deformed looking paper mache figures everywhere.

One of them I think was supposed to be playing a trumpet.  But I'm pretty sure that you can't get sound out of a trumpet doing what he was doing . . .

Let's just say that was one happy trumpet.

Looking through the menu, I decided on the Roadhouse Nachos.

These are actually homemade potato chips topped with barbecue, spicy beer cheese, tomato, avocado dip, chopped tomato, onion, sour cream and scallions.

Seemed like a safe yet interesting pick for a strip mall barbecue joint.

I also ordered a couple of pork barbecue sliders.

From the decor, I could tell they were going for a Memphis-style barbecue feel.  My guess is their barbecue flavoring was also going to be Memphis-style sweet.
I was hungry too, so I was really looking forward to my food coming out so I could get down to business.

Thankfully, it didn't take long.

I have to admit, I didn't have high expectations for King Street Blues.

But truthfully -- and it pains me to say this -- the Roadhouse Nachos were one of the best things I ever had.

As a barbecue connoisseur, I can't claim that King Street Blues' barbecue is going to be on any top ten contests.

I didn't detect any smoke flavor at all.  The sauce coated the meat much too thoroughly, so the meat flavor was totally overpowered.

But the Roadhouse Nachos was great in an incredibly disgusting, drinking-beer-while-watching-the-game kinda way.

In fact, the only thing I would have changed is that I would have added jalepenos.  After all, how can you have nachos without jalepenos?

The sliders were just "ok."  They suffered slightly from the lack of beer cheese and homemade potato chips as ingredients.

Of course, this one experience doesn't change Suit 757's barbecue rules one bit.

But Washington, D.C. isn't a place that follows the same rules as the rest of the country.

So when in Rome, eat in strip malls.

Rating:  Seriously Thought About Buying Shirt

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