Restaurant Review: ricewood

. July 31, 2015.
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ricewood

(behind Morgan and York)
1928 Packard Rd.
Monday-Friday, 11am-3pm. (or sold out) 

At 11:45 am, one month after ricewood’s opening day, a line of people, fifteen deep, queued up for an American experience: cheap cuts of meat and wood combined into a moist, rich meal more delicious than anything that lands on white table linens—BBQ. The red and white gingham basket liner, the smokiness, the black crust, the translucent fat—what Chef Frank Fejeran, formerly of The Ravens Club, Tribute, and Alinea, is creating at the front of that line makes waiting worth your time. 

Fejeran keeps it simple. At his food truck, which sits behind Morgan and York with a flat tire and a jack poised under the chassis (perhaps mobility depends on the success of this stationary operation), he and his brother Gabe Golub heap Texas-style ribs, pork shoulder, and brisket over mounds of sticky, perfectly cooked chamorro-style rice—a Pacific island tradition. A bowl costs $12, and the portion is Texas-sized. Servings are available with spicy or “gringo” sauce and come with a small side of crisp and cool cucumber salad. Without all the mac and cheese and collards and cornbread and coleslaw and baked beans, Fejeran leaves room for the main event: the meat.  

Tar black and juicy, Fejeran’s brisket, one of the more difficult cuts for BBQ pros to master, hits that magical sweet spot between chewy and tender. Pork shoulder as delicate as a Jenga tower in a tornado and fall-apart ribs with mouthwatering seasoning round out the protein portion of the menu. Faygo Rock ‘n Rye, Kool-Aid, Diet Coke, and mandarin Jarritos are on hand to wash it all down. 

Under a pop-up canopy, a few picnic tables host the hungry crowd, creating a communal atmosphere for friendly conversation, mostly about how good the food is. 

At 12:35, when the pork shoulder ran out, there was still a line at the ordering window. The ribs were 86’ed ten minutes prior. And it wasn’t long before the brisket was gone. Pro-tip: to ensure a plate at ricewood, consider skipping breakfast.

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