New 'Cue in Town
The BBQ chicken is fine, the deep-fried catfish with cornmeal interesting and not fishy-tasting. But the real standouts are Texas beef brisket, Tennessee pulled pork, and St. Louis-style ribs, which all deliver tremendous flavor to the table. Peppery but not-too-salty spice rubs permeate the meat with complex flavors, and the juices drip delectably (good thing there's a tall canister of napkins on the table). There's also a six-pack of cleverly labeled sauces, from garlickly Kansas to mustardy Carolina to vinegary-hot Detroit--and my favorite, traditional sweet Memphis. Take the tour if you're inclined, but really, R.U.B.'s barbecue needs no squirts of tabletop condiments. An irresistible lineup of beer choices, heavily geared toward Michigan craft brews, handily quenches any thirst.
The barbecue also stars in sandwiches with Motor City monikers--the Kaline, the Harwell, the Yzerman, and the Slim Shady. Every bit as notable are the show-stealing side dishes, like pumpkin pie-spiced mashed sweet potatoes, thick wedge fries, lightly sauced crisp slaw, and real collard greens washed well, lightly seasoned, and stewed just to softness and not beyond. Super-rich and garlicky rotini mac and cheese will keep more than vegetarians happy.
The huge menu has other meatless entrees too, but really, meat's the point here. As a guest at our table quipped when his wife ordered ribs: "My wife's a flexitarian--she won't eat meat unless it smells real good." Those baby back ribs smelled and tasted really good. At $24.99 for a full slab, they aren't the best value on the menu, but I'm okay with large parts of animals being priced as the indulgence they are in our society. Sandwiches start at $7.99.