Cary has mentioned before that our reviews, as with those of many other reviewers, can catch some establishments on an unusually bad (or good) day. We can only hope that we caught The Rub Bar-B-Que on a bad day. During our visit, there just seemed to be a tendency to Rub the Wrong Way. We have to keep in mind, of course, that this is a very new establishment, likely to have more ups-and-downs in its startup years.
The dissatisfaction we felt started with the awkward ordering experience. Perhaps our matching pit-crawl shirts bothered the staff. Perhaps we seemed too much like tourists. Perhaps we were too happy on a hot August day for someone experiencing an unlucky 13th of the month. Perhaps it was a combination of the above conditions on what was expected to be a slow, run-of-the-mill, easy training dinner shift. Maybe there had been a bad shift-change or a short staff. Whatever the cause, the staff seemed curt and exasperated by having to deal with unfamiliar patrons.
First, we ordered the Ultimate Platter:
- The sausage had a heavy sage/ham taste, like breakfast sausage;
- The burnt ends were tender but too mild;
- The pulled pork was dry and flavorless.
In addition to the ribs which came with the Ultimate Platter, we ordered another rack because we were optimistic about our appetites. The ribs were good but had a flavor which began to fall short--not bad, just somehow tiresome--after 2-3 ribs. We couldn't quite place the underlying flavor(s) which tried us. Some of thought the flavor was maybe cinnamon. Others of us thought it was maybe turmeric. The flavor just didn't develop its character far enough to keep us interested.
We were informed that different sizes of sides come with different menu items. That can be an important point when combining racks and platters for a group.
Kate's Cheesy Corn was okay.
The Carolina Slaw tasted heavy on vinegar.The Bar-B-Que Beans had a nice variety of beans but somehow managed a canned flavor.
The sugar-crusted corn bread was okay.
Great fries emerged from the mix. This find is ironic to us because we don't normally expect to rate fries. Usually, we intend to use them only as taste-testers for sauces.
We weren't very happy with the sauce taste-tests.
The place looks fantastic. It's a big, open space with a large, visible kitchen area and gleaming stainless steel surfaces. Even the trash cans look expensive. Somehow, the clean, airy atmosphere seems to have sapped the energy, synergy, smoke, and marination from the food and let the juices evaporate. From the good that was left, there was a lack of development. Maybe, it's still breaking-in and not yet seasoned.
If The Rub has too many days like this, however, one of us predicts that they'll be out of business in 2 years.