Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Capital Q (6/10) - 707 H St NW, Washington, DC 20001

I headed into DC this past week to visit my trusty barber, Louie, at Farragut West.  I decided that since I was already in the city, I'd walk down to Chinatown to try a barbecue at Capital Q -- a joint opened approximately 10 years ago by a native Texan.  That's right, a Texas-influenced barbecue joint in Chinatown.  That makes about as much sense as a restaurant that serves both sushi and Philly cheese steaks.  I had passed off eating at Capital Q numerous times in the past due to a predetermined assessment that the place most likely served bad barbecue, but I thought the place deserved a fair unbiased chance so I decided to walk across town.  I made better time than I imagined and was excited that the place was ready for business when I arrived at a few minutes before 11 am.

It was easy to determine that this place's motif was strictly 'everything Texas'.  A longhorn head positioned in the center of the wall in between some notable Texans would that would be looking over me while I ate -- Bushie aka "W", Trent Lott, and Rick Perry to name a few.  I love the pride Texans have for their homeland and I was happy that this place was all about it.

In addition to the barbecued meat items that were available a la carte (brisket, ribs, sausage, pulled pork, chicken, and turkey), Capital Q served 'alternative' options -- barbecue tacos and demographically friendly "Chinese Cowboys" (meat over rice).  This place even served barbecue stuffed potatoes, a dish I had yet to see above the Mason Dixon line.  I surveyed the meat under the heating lamp, and decided on a rather expensive three-plate dish that came with two sides (came to about $18 with DC's absurd 10% sales tax).  Although it was quite early, my body is almost always in the mood for slow smoked meat, so I decided to order brisket, ribs, sausage (basically a staple in the longhorn state) with sides of cole slaw and collared greens.

The food at first glance definitely looked authentic and well smoked.  The brisket had a fairly deep smoke ring, the sausage had the beautiful reddish coloration, andmy order of ribs looked pathetic.  The carver gave me a cut from the very end of the slab, and I had to endure the unpleasant experience of walking back up to the guy to ask whether they minded giving me better ribs from the middle of the rack.  Fortunate for me, the staff acted as if they were in agreement and gave me two large and meaty spare ribs as consideration.

For some odd reason, some slices of brisket were well smoked and flavored while others fell short of the bar.  The great slices had a deep oak and hickory smoked flavor with a decent amount of fat while the others tasted dry and flavorless.  The slices that were great were heaped over slices of sausage -- to replicate the sandwich at Mustang Creek which I have yet to try.  The sausage, on its own, was exceptionally moist and its casing popped each time I bit into one -- another great attribute.  I want to note that I was quite surprised that the sausages weren't sliced in sharp angles like typical Texas sausage to maximize surface area -- not a make or break at all but just odd.  I poured on Capital Q's sauce over the brisket & sausage mixture, folded the bread over the top, and dove into  one delicious sandwich.  Capital Q's barbecue sauce was very good, both the mild and spicy varieties, and tasted almost identical to the sauce served at Rudy's.

The ribs were decent.  While they were very tender and moist, the smoky flavor unfortunately didn't penetrate well into the meat.  The lack of bark on the outside also contributed to a  fairly disappointing and unexciting rib-eating experience.  Furthermore, the ribs were also a bit fattier than what I was expecting.

The sides were both awful -- "sour" is a huge understatement to describe the collared greens and the cole slaw had too much mayonnaise.

Capital Q could easily score a 7+ on a subsequent experience, but there were too many areas for improvement for it to earn anything better than a 6 during my recent visit.

Capital Q Texan BBQ on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

  1. "The lack of bark on the outside also contributed to a fairly disappointing and unexciting rib-eating experience."

    Fairly disappointing...i'll give you fairly disappointing. Some jerkoff that goes 30 sunsets without updating his blog.


Ratings and Reviews

In order to provide a consistent grading standard across each restaurant/region, I order a barbecue pork sandwich (and other meats/sides if a restaurant/region specializes in another specialty). In addition to comparing the quality of food, I will also take into consideration other intangibles (ambiance, atmosphere, service, authenticity, etc.) in my ratings as I deem appropriate.

Basically, a 10/10 represents an incredible meal, while a 6/10 score indicates a decent dining experience but a substantial number of dishes fell short of great. Lower scores indicate unpleasant experiences which I would most likely not even recommend to my worst enemy (Jonas Singer).

I reserve the right to continuously edit/update previous posts and to change rating scores as I see fit.