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Omnivore - Who needs meat at Community Q BBQ?

Barbecue doesn't require coleslaw

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I headed to dinner Friday night at Community Q BBQ with a couple of friends. The Decatur restaurant — or "joint" as people insist any barbecue, er, restaurant should be called — has become one of the area's favorites.

The owners have unusually refined cooking credentials and it especially shows in their vegetable specials. In fact, I was so taken with Friday night's specials that I went vegetarian.

My plate included black-eyed peas with rosemary and bacon, smoked sweet potatoes with kale and — best of all — a soup of pureed Jerusalem artichokes with shiitakes and bits of purple turnips. I also ordered blueberry bread pudding.

It was really good to have choices besides the coleslaw, baked beans, and mac and cheese considered essential everywhere, and Community does all three super-well. I do have a few minor criticisms. I could have eaten two or three bowls of the soup but was disappointed by the addition of truffle oil, an ingredient I really wish would be retired by everyone for a few years. I understand that it makes perfect sense as an addition to a soup made with root vegetables but the flavor has become a cliche.

The smoked sweet potatoes were a bit dry — as was the bread pudding — but I was very glad they weren't candied. The kale, virtually crispy, turned up their sweetness of course.