55 Chester St., Somerville. 617-628-2200.
Hear ye, hear ye! The deputized Bar-B-Crew headed over to Redbones a fixture in Somerville's Davis Square to sit in judgment of yet another BBQ bonanza. The proceedings occurred amidst rows of funky Formica tables, which were packed even on a Tuesday night.
The crowded bar is stocked with dozens of microbrews — and if you can't decide which one to try — you can leave the verdict to fate by spinning the "Wheel of Beer." The service is swift, and the grill is in plain sight of the patrons; no backroom deals here.
Redbones has quality appetizers, like fried catfish fingers and smoked sausage. The menu is extensive and even a finicky eater can find something without objection, with mix and match meats, and a "most-wanted list" of sides to choose from. Our selections were mostly tender and juicy, with a few exceptions, including a rather dry order of Baby Back Ribs. The Memphis Ribs were testimony to the quality we expected, and the Jerk Beef, which was hotter than Hades, had tongues wagging. Entrée prices ranged between $6 and $19.
Yet the jury couldn't come to a unanimous decision regarding Redbones. Deliberations focused mainly on the sauces, which were disappointing to most. The question remains: Can a BBQ restaurant be great, if it has no great sauce? In the end, the sauce issue cost Redbones a point. The Maverick Bar-B-Crew verdict was 4 out of 5 horseshoes.
Liz: "The meat was flavorful but the sauces (vinegar, sweet, hot and mild) couldn't even be combined to make a one good one, too much molasses, not enough spice, and the vinegar isn't a sauce at all. One great sauce, not a gang of four bad ones, is the key to a great BBQ. I say lock 'em up!"
Bob: "The catfish was amazing, and sides were excellent. Great desserts too. The sauce is my only complaint, which sadly tarnished my view. To the gallows!"
Colleen: "There is a lot to love about Redbones, not to mention the bike valet parking. I say let 'em walk!"
Paul: "While I would agree that the sauces were pedestrian, the quality of the meat and the variety offered were the smoking guns. I'd heard that Redbones was a fun place to get some down-home BBQ, and would say that they are guilty as charged."
Seth: "The evidence is in. Redbone's has shown beyond a reasonable doubt that they give a good sized portion for a reasonable price. And I overrule any objections about the various margaritas- they are big, delicious, and pack a punch!"
BBQ court reaches a split decision
The sign outside of Redbones in Davis Square. More photos