A few weeks ago Cary, Jack, Dennis and I sat down and made a list of five BBQ spots that we wanted to visit in KC for the first official leg of our crawl. My choice was Zarda-Q. A few years ago one of my friends (a man we lovingly refer to as "loud ass Derek") had a birthday party that his family's restaurant catered. It was Zarda Q. Later on in the night, when I got the beer munchies I went downstairs to find multiple racks of deliciously cooked ribs waiting for me. The meat was cooked perfectly (just the right amount of texture while still tender) and the sauce was a decent Kansas City flavored sauce. I was blown away at the time but until this last week I've not had the opportunity to visit the restaurant's actual storefront. That being the case, I didn't know if my friend got special treatment (being that he was a part of the family) or if everything at the restaurant was really that good. Believe me when I tell you that it is that good!
Going to the restaurant was bad ass. I ordered the sampler plate. The sampler plate (although it says it feeds 1-2) feeds two people. I was able to get through all my meats but goddamn it was an ungodly amount of food. Included in the plate were burnt ends, ribs, ham, brisket, sausage a quarter chicken and two sides (which for me were sweet potato fries and corn on the cob.) The only bad thing out of that bunch was the corn. It seemed undercooked and wasn't very sweet-- after all of that meat, it didn't really matter though. The meats were cooked perfectly. The brisket was tender and not in the least bit dry. To me, the ribs had a good texture and were tender throughout although Dennis said that his were dry at the ends. The sides (other than the corn) were great as well (I sampled other people's plates) but the star of the night were the burnt ends. They were absolutely fantastic. Tender enough and with a great Kansas City sauce. After the meal everyone seemed pleasantly surprised with the quality of the food and we're already talking about returning to Zarda Q (even though we have about 30 more BBQ restaurants left to hit on our crawl.)
I guess the best pro tip for visiting this restaurant is to request the other sauces that they have at the counter. The main sauce is located on the table but their best sauce is by request only. I forget the exact name of the sauce but it was something generic like "bold." It had the most flavor and is what it says it is-- a bolder version of the original sauce. The other sauce that is available by request is the hickory sauce-- which I didn't think too much of. I wish that they had a spicy sauce as well. I think it would round out the options and provide a better BBQ experience (whatever the hell that means).
All in all, the service was friendly, the meat was fantastic and the atmosphere was good. Everyone involved in this barbecue crawl felt like we hit a lead off home run by visiting Zarda-Q. The only picture that we took was blurred because Dennis was in the process of sitting down to eat his food as he was taking it. All in all, Zarda Q seems to be one of the unsung greats of Kansas City BBQ and I reccomend visiting this restaurant with no reservations!