Supercool hip atmosphere, from the cowhide-covered seats to the exposed ductwork in ceiling to the 30+ seat bar that takes center stage. With bluesy music playing in the background and the BBQ sauces lined up on the table, one would think they just stepped into a joint right off of Beale St... in Girard!
The menu is just as Southern as the digs and the beer and bourbon selections should please any aficionado. Oh, and for the teetotalers, there is Cheerwine, a definitively Southern soda (or is it pop?) that's not quite cola, not quite cherry - just somewhere in between.
On my visit, I wanted to try a mini flight of 4 beers, Abita being one of them. Sadly they were out of the Abita as well as some others listed in the menu. And even though suitable replacements were offered, I opted for a single glass of shandy.
The appetizer that my dining companion and I ordered was the sampler platter, an all-fried delight consisting of fried green tomatoes, fried pickles, hushpuppies and deep fried batter-dipped bacon. We requested the fried green tomatoes without the blue cheese sauce and balsamic glaze as we just wanted that tart green flavor to shine. We both were in agreement that while the tomatoes were crunchy as all get out, the coating would have been better suited for zucchini or eggplant as it contained no cornmeal but included Italian seasoning. The remaining fried options were good, but the humble hushpuppies stole the show, especially with the raspberry butter.
Deciding on entrees was tough as my dining companion and I wanted to be able to sample as many offerings as possible in one visit. So we placed an order for the Purely Pork with the to-die-for baked beans and the vinegar slaw, as well as the Braggin' Rights Brisket (non sandwich) with the creamy potato salad and the collard greens.
The pork was very good, especially with the Eastern Carolina BBQ sauce; the slightly spicy vinegar really complemented the sweetness of the pig. The baked beans were pretty good as well, saucy and slightly smoky from the bits of brisket. But the best(!!) side had to have been the vinegar slaw. It had just enough tang, but it wasn't too sweet... perfection.
When the beef brisket came out, I was a little surprised to see it shredded, just like the pork. The menu description claims it to be "hand sliced" (and that's usually how it's served outside of sandwich form). However the taste was ok, a smidgen dry, but with 5 sauces at the table to sample, all was good. The potato salad was one my dining companion, the potato salad connoisseur, had never experienced. It was a cross between mashed potatoes and the ubiquitous summertime picnic staple; he ate it all so it must have been tasty. The collards were a little lackluster. While the greens (in this case, escarole) were cooked to tenderness, they lacked anything that would make them quintessentially Southern: spice, smoke and perhaps a splash of vinegar.
The service was fantastic at Fire Grill BBQ; our server was welcoming to any question and was lightening fast with extra napkins when I spilled my drink(!). One of the proprietors, Art, was even going table to table just to see how everyone was enjoying their meals. And even though my meal wasn't without its faults, I did thoroughly enjoy my dining experience. I truly hope Fire Grill BBQ has a long and prosperous future here in Girard.
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