It’s been several years since my last visit to Memphis Blues. But on this day, I just had a serious meat craving, and being in the neighborhood, I stopped in. Past visits were at the West Broadway location, but this time, it was at the downtown location on Robson St.
It was a weekday lunch time, and I was seated immediately. The room was not full, but there was a decent crowd present.
I decided that a small meal was enough, the full-sized platters are ALOT of food, and I would have ended up stuffing myself, or taking much of it home. I walked up to the counter and ordered a large beef brisket sandwich. This comes with a side of creamy coleslaw, and barbequed pit beans.
My order was brought to me about 10 minutes later.
The brisket was sliced in very thin long strips and arranged in a coil over a soft, lightly toasted bun (points for toasting the bun). It’s topped with a generous helping of thick barbeque sauce. The brisket was tender, ridiculously amazingly tender. But surprisingly lacking in any smokiness. I realize that they’re using a gas oven rather than a wood or charcoal barbeque pit, but I kind of expect any “Southern-style” slow cooked meat to have some smokey flavor (even if it’s artificial smoke). The barbeque sauce was lacking…. something. I found it neither sweet, nor tangy, nor spicy. It needed some kind of flavor note, because what was there, was subdued and hard to characterize.
The beans were tender and smokey (from the pork there-in), rich and thick.
The coleslaw was fresh and creamy (a mixture of yellow and purple cabbage, and carrots), and evaluated on its own merits, it was pretty good. But in the context of the meal, I imagine that more vinegar in the coleslaw might balance out the meal better. Some more acidity would offset all the heavy fatty flavors that abound the rest of the food.
The room is fairly compact, and it’s easy to bump into neighboring tables as you shimmy into and out of seats along the wall. The walls are loaded with blue-type photos and images.
The owner (an older gentleman named David) was running the orders to the tables, and his pleasant demeanor goes a long way to making the dining experience a good one).