I dropped by Bogart's Smokehouse -- the Pappy's spinoff behind Soulard Market at 1627 South Ninth Street -- for lunch today, the end of its first week in business. Some observations:
- Really quick service. Granted, it was a little chilly today, but I was there right before noon. Five people were ahead of me in line (I bet there were at least 20 or so at Pappy's at that hour) and it took less than 3 minutes to get to the register. After I paid, it took less than 5 minutes for my order to come out.
- Very small interior. I think it'll hold 35 at tables if everyone inhales all at once. That means not much area to wait for takeout and a line that will go out the door at about 25 people.
- The distinctive Pappy's "out of" chalkboard. Never any second-day barbecue here.
- Excellent coleslaw and potato salad (the two sides that came with my lunch). The potato salad is lightly creamy and includes egg and a touch of hot pepper; the coleslaw is mid-sweet and tastes like it has a touch of horseradish in the background.
- I skipped the ribs because I really wanted to try the smoked prime rib. It's $10.99 in a sandwich, but I got it as part of a $14.99 "prime rib +1" plate.
- Best thing I can come up with for comparison is French dip. The beef is sliced very thin, but you can still see the smoke ring at its edges. It's not overly smoky, however, and it's served semi-smothered in onions in a slightly fatty broth. The broth is rich enough that I don't think I'd ever sop all of it up with the accompanying roll. I'd get it again, although I'll have to try the ribs and the beef brisket to develop a favorites ranking.
- My +1 was pulled pork. Decent portion in a small-soupbowl-size container; great flavor with just the right amount of smoke. Very moist, but I thought the texture was just a slight bit off, a touch too much toward the gummy side.
Pitmaster Skip Steele was working the room and I saw several staff members that I recognized from Pappy's. I'll sample the ribs if I get back for lunch before I do a full review.