Where: Clark St., off Main St., behind Black Bear
I don't get to do a lot of opinion between the day-to-day grind of breaking news and scheduled meetings and all the daily minutiae. But an event serving free food—I'll clear my calendar for an event serving me free food.
BarQ got in touch and said they were hosting a media event. Essentially a bribe to come in and try out their food in hopes it will be good enough to talk about later. I'll tell you what. It is.
The owner, Bobby LeRose, has . With BarQ, thoguh, he's going for a different feel. He doesn't want to copy anything that's going to "be trading clientle every night with the other bars," he said. He wants to create something unique that establishes a userbase somewhat organically.
"It's our style. It's always our style," he said of the fare. "It's influenced by our friends, by what we do when we're at home. We're experimenting, putting a spin on things. Everyone wants to put you in a category. I could take you to 10 different places in Kansas City and you'd get 10 different styles of barbeque."
Tim Doherty is an imposing man, towering and tattooed. He might be frightening at first glance, but once you notice the word scrawled across his knuckles reads "C-h-e-f" and the skull tattoo on his hand is wearing a chef's had and clutching a cooking knife in its teeth, he's noticed you staring. Which is fine, because as Headmaster Chef, he's one of the nicest guys around.
"I've been with Bob now for about seven years, I was here since Day One," he said. "We have a great working relationship, we feed off each other. I enjoy what I do, I love barbeque. This is a great opportunity to bring a whole different concept to Stamford."
Doherty has been cooking for 27 years, since he was 18, alongside his family in the restaurants they owned and he's bringing his considerable collective knowledge to the table.
BarQ served some of the best barbeque I've had in quite some time. Every piece of meat I tried could barely hold itself together, so ready was it to fall apart in your mouth.
The sauces had just the right amount of kick for whatever your preferred range of heat. If anything, I was slightly disappointed there wasn't a stronger punch available, but the one's that were handled the situation beautifully.
The meals are served up family-style, so everything comes out on plates you share. If you go with four people and order four things, you're getting enough plates where everyone can try everything.
Forcing myself to pick a favorite, I'd say the pulled pork, a staple of any barbeque joint, was out of this world, but they also have these little tiny waffles they serve with barbequed chicken on top and drizzled in a spicy syrup that just knocked my socks off.
Ribs and brisket also kicked some butt. The skirt steak was pretty good and for a nice change of pace, try the Pork Belly if you're a bacon fan.
There's a huge selection of drafts, wines and cocktails you can order up in a mason jar, including this Firefly alcoholic iced tea concoction that is dangerously delicious with zero kick. I'm a liquor fan myself, and there was no shortage of Bourbon on the list for dessert.
Speaking of dessert... Oh, dessert. There was a mixed-berry creation that was delicious, yes, it was very good. But the standout, the star of the evening, was two snookerdoodle cookies with caramel-infused ice cream between them and rolled in bacon.
I had no idea what to expect when I bit into it. Heaven waits on the other side of that experience. The sweet, salty combo packs a punch unlike any other.
The servers are attentive, even the one's not bothering with the media group. I watched to see how those on the first floor were serviced, and it was exceptional. Everyone seemed to be having a great time.
The atmosphere was easy to get lost in. As proof, I have a $20 ticket for letting the meter run over in the garage. I was having too good a time I hadn't realized it was time to go.
If you haven't been yet, I'd recommend a visit if barbeque is your thing. I'd recommend a vist if if it isn't your thing. A trip here might change your mind.